Artists seek to bring change to Detroit through the arts
Sunset Baby, by award-winning playwright and Detroit native Dominique Morisseau, tells the story of a former revolutionary who wants to reconnect with his daughter, Nina. Nina feels her father abandoned her and her mother in pursuit of his social causes.
As Nina moves between her father and her hustler boyfriend, loyalty, love, the power of revolution, and the reliability of memory are all tested.
The play has its Michigan premiere this Friday in Detroit, in the Cass Tech Black Box Theatre. It's being presented by BMA, a newly formed arts and performance company in Detroit with a specific mission.
We dropped in for a rehearsal and sat down Daniel Bellomy, director of BMA, Marilyn McCormick, artistic director of BMA and director of Sunset Baby, and Janee' Ann Smith, who plays Nina.
McCormick says she believes that art can drive change and that BMA is a place where positive change can take root and benefit Detroit. As a longtime performing arts teacher at Cass, she says there was a wealth of talent waiting to be tapped within the city.
Bellomy says after spending time in Los Angeles he realized many of the artists he knew from Cass were all breaking into the industry as individuals and he thought:
Why are we all out by ourselves trying to make it when we can come together?
Smith says she thinks this is the right time for this kind of effort:
Because with everything that’s changing, whether we’re ready for it or not, this is when people are paying attention and I think that this is when the city needs to move toward promoting the arts because we’re here.
McCormick says she hopes Sunset Baby leaves people with a clear message:
That dreams do come true and they can happen here and they can happen now.
Here's our conversation: