July 30, 2001 (34)

 

Detroit's Hastings Street comes to Ann Arbor

 

ANN ARBOR---The University of Michigan's Detroit 300 Theme Semester will host Detroit's Mosaic Youth Theater's production of "2001 Hastings Street" at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. The theater is located in the Michigan League at 911 North University on U-M's Central Campus. Tickets are available beginning Aug. 1 at the Michigan Union Ticket Office, located on the ground floor of the Michigan Union on State Street. General admission tickets are $5 for students and seniors and $10 all others.

[Central Campus map]

Through collaboration with the internationally acclaimed Mosaic Youth Theater, U-M's Arts of Citizenship program and the University's Residential College, Detroit teens and senior citizens have worked with U-M students to create a new musical drama based on Detroit oral histories that recalls the rich African American community life and music scene in mid-1940s Detroit.

Hastings Street was in an area of Detroit known as "Black Bottom" where business perked during the day and sometimes danger lurked at night. The area featured the world-renowned Paradise Valley Entertainment District that presented greats such as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie. This Mosaic production celebrates the tight-knit community of Black Bottom, the vibrant energy of swing dance, and the excitement of the Paradise Valley.

Mosaic's artistic director Rick Sperling says the production brings to life the rich history of Detroit and the Street that was the heart of the City's African American community---a street filled with commerce, excitement and great music.

Hastings Street is gone. It was bulldozed in the '50s for the I-75 Freeway project.

"Most of the kids in our group had never heard about it," Sperling told Positively Detroit. "To develop the script, the music and the production design has required them to conduct research and interview people in their 60s and 70s who grew up in that era. It's giving them a chance to bring a piece of history to light." ]

For more information about U-M's Detroit 300 Theme Semester, visit http://www.lsa.umich.edu/det300/.

Contact: Joanne Nesbit
Phone: (734) 647-4418
E-mail: mjnesbit@umich.edu