Tag Archives: Detroit Repertory Theatre
“The Colored Museum” was one of the nation’s top plays in the 1980’s. The play, written by George C. Wolfe, is eleven exhibits of Black American life through the years. “The Colored Museum” was Buku Productions Theatre Company’s first production in 1990, and it was the sold-out hit a fledgling theatre company could only dream of having. With all thirty-six (36) shows at Detroit Repertory Theatre selling out completely, we were on our way.
In 2004, Buku Productions reprised the show with an all-new cast and packed them in again at Paul Robeson Theatre in Detroit.
August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play, “Fences,” was well-traveled and a very successful audience-pleaser for Buku Productions Theatre Company. Always a sell-out show, “Fences” was mounted by Buku Productions in 1991 at Flint’s Whiting Auditorium and Toledo Repertoire Theatre and in 1992 at the Attic Theatre in Detroit and then back to the Whiting Auditorium, brought in by Flint’s Pace Productions.
The original Detroit production, produced by Detroit Repertory Theatre with Reuben Yabuku as director in 1990, won numerous awards from The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press Theatre Excellence Awards. Veteran stage actors, Council Cargle (deceased), Jennifer Jones, Michael Jay (deceased) and (sometimes) Ann Arbor’s Michelle Daniels, led a cast of metro Detroit’s finest performers. Council Cargle’s interpretation of the lead character, Troy Maxson, was truly a sight to see. His magnetic stage presence and big booming portrayal of the frustrated trash collector was award-winning but, more importantly, a shining example of one of Detroit’s greatest performances by one of the best to ever hit the boards… anywhere! Mike Jay, who played Bono in all 178 performances directed by Reuben Yabuku and the great Council Cargle… you guys are sorely, sorely missed.
“Moms Mabley The Naked Truth” began in 1999 as a pre-season co-production between Buku Productions Theatre Company and Detroit Repertory Theatre. The one-woman show, starring Linda Boston as “Moms,” was a complete 100% sold-out production. This revealing and hilarious look into the professional and personal life of Loretta Mary Aiken, better known as “Moms” Mabley, brought about side-splitting laughter as well as tears. Moms’ first cousin and 25 other members of her family attended a Detroit Rep performance of “The Naked Truth” and, thank goodness, they absolutely loved it! Most of the Aiken/Hall family members who attended that show are spotlighted in a group pic featured in our photo gallery below the video excerpts.
The premise is a supposition of “Moms’” reaction to how Black entertainment pioneers were being looked back on as buffoons in blackface instead of those courageous and oppressed performers who paved the way. Written and Directed by Buku’s Artistic Director, Reuben Yabuku, this popular play was performed again in 2001 at Millennium Centre, U of M/Flint (the week of “911”) and reprised again at Millennium Centre in 2002.