Detroit Repertory Theatre celebrates 60th anniversary with black-tie gala

Photo credit: Willie Bell
Photo credit: Willie Bell

On Nov. 19, the Detroit Repertory Theatre celebrated its 60th anniversary for its 2016-2017 season. The theater opened in Detroit in 1957, originally performing children’s plays for students in the states of Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The DRT, which lovingly came to be known as the Rep, is notable for being one of the first theaters to produce plays in which casts were multiracial, a controversial and bold move for the ’50s and ’60s.

This November, the professional theater had the honor of celebrating its 60th season in the business. The celebration began on Nov. 3, 2016, with a champagne toast to the beautiful art and theater scene in Detroit, and continued at the black tie event on Nov. 19. This black-tie affair was hosted by former WKBD Detroit news anchor Amyre Makupson and featured S. Epatha Merkerson of “Law and Order” fame as keynote speaker.  

Adding an additional reason to celebrate was UAW-Ford’s generous donation of $20K to the Detroit Repertory Theatre. With both the theater and Ford being based in the heart of Detroit, the two institutions have developed a close relationship over the years, as both companies are dedicated to the progression and advancement of the city and its inhabitants.

“UAW-Ford is committed to serving the community, and helping to keep local arts alive and accessible,” said UAW-Ford vice president Jimmy Settles. “We are proud to partner with the historic Repertory Theatre, as it celebrates 60 years of production excellence.”

The DRT will put on four plays this season, collectively exhibiting themes of family and the interesting encounters they encounter through life. The first play of the season, The Realization of Emily Lender, ran Nov. 3 through Nov. 22. Other plays of the season include Firepower by Kermit Frazier, Capital by James Armstrong and Countdown to the Happy Day by Thomas W. Stephens.

For more information about the Detroit Repertory Theatre and its upcoming events, visit

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