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Broadway Playwright Dominique Morisseau Reveals the Advice Chadwick Boseman Gave Her

Variety
Variety
 2022-01-25
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Playwright Dominique Morisseau has a lot going on right now — but then, she’s just following the advice that the late Chadwick Boseman once gave her.

Listen to this week’s “Stagecraft” podcast below:

A few years ago, Boseman and Morisseau, the writer of the current Broadway play “ Skeleton Crew ,” connected by phone, and “he was like, ‘Dominique, you always gotta have nine irons in the fire,'” Morisseau recalled on the new episode of Stagecraft, Variety’s theater podcast.

“I was like, ‘Nine? That’s a lot, Chad!'” But, she added, he was right: “My job as an artist is to just be prolific. I always say I have a running queue of things I want to do, and I haven’t gotten to half of them.”

This winter alone, the musical “ Ain’t Too Proud ,” for which Morisseau wrote the book, restarted after the Broadway lockdown and went on to play its final performance Jan. 16; her play “Skeleton Crew,” with a cast led by Phylicia Rashad, began previews ahead of a Jan. 26 opening; and her latest play, “Confederates,” will soon go into rehearsals at Off Broadway’s Signature Theatre.

All of that has given Morisseau a unique perspective on the ups and downs of making theater in the COVID-19 era. On Stagecraft, she revealed her bittersweet feelings about the surprising closing of “Ain’t Too Proud” and praised her “Skeleton Crew” cast and company for soldiering through unexpected absences and cancellations.

“What I am feeling in this moment of all these shows, and the unprecedented amount of Black shows on Broadway this year, is how many of us have taken a COVID hit,” she said. “It can put a cloud over this moment. But we can’t let it be a cloud because we can’t let it be [just] a moment. … It has to be part of our future, not just a really quick glimpse into the present.”

Also on Stagecraft, Morisseau explained that she writes so often about Detroit, her hometown, in part to shift the perception of a city that’s often dismissed or overlooked. “We know what it’s like to be from Detroit and go somewhere else and tell people we’re from Detroit, and their reactions are always so telling about what they think of our city and what they think of us,” she said. “[People] carry a negative feeing around what our city is. And when you carry negative feelings about someone’s city, that transfers onto the people themselves… And so for me it’s important to be a contributor to shifting that narrative.”

To hear the full conversation, listen at the link above or download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts , Spotify and the Broadway Podcast Network . New episodes of “Stagecraft” are released every other week.

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