Tony nominee Daniel J. Watts, theatre artist Douglas Lyons, and more took part in the inaugural Obsidian Theatre Festival, which is now available to enjoy for free on BroadwayHD's YouTube. The program is a virtual theatre and performing arts event featuring emerging Black artists, actors, directors, and playwrights from Detroit.
Among the special guests taking part were Watts (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical), Lyons (Chicken and Biscuits), Sydney Morton (Motown the Musical), Nia Holloway (The Lion King), Niles Fitch, and Jessica Care Moore. Each of them participated in a series of panel discussions and Q&A’s that are available to watch on ObsidianFest/Education.
During fall 2020, co-executive producers John Sloan III and David Carroll put out a call for new work. Over 200 writers, composers, and lyricists submitted work with six plays selected for in-person performances that were filmed for audiences to enjoy at home.
The plays are Papa Jennings Is Gone by Aseneth Elizabeth Parker, 20/20 by Carollette Phillips and Edmund Alyn Jones, Makin' Bond by Louis Johnson, Metaphor In 3 Acts by Maria A. Judice, Mothers Boyfriend Is An Ass by Shashone Lambert Short, and Dear Lil' by Morgan Heyward. Several cabaret concerts were also offered.
“A global pandemic jeopardized the future of the theatre world, but in Detroit, we used the opportunity to innovate and reimagine the stage for a virtual world,” said Sloan. “I’ve been a performing artist for 22 years, and I have never been more inspired by the innovations being made in the industry than I am right now. We have an opportunity to not only show the diversity of perspectives within American theatre but also the diversity of perspectives within the Black community itself.”
The presentations are available thanks to a partnership between Sloan’s Ghostlight Productions, a Detroit-based, full service production company; Nicely Theatre Group, a non-profit theatre dedicated to increasing public access to live theatre; and BroadwayHD. Viewers are encouraged to donate to one of three charitable organizations: Black Theatre United, Detroit Public Schools Foundation, or Project Art Detroit.
For more information, visit ObsidianFest.org.