Past Event

Feb 01—16, 2020

Detroit Red


“A verbally and visually poetic invocation of Detroit Red’s thoughts and experiences.”


Before he was Malcolm X, he was Detroit Red.

The decision you make in a moment can change your life forever.

The world forever knows him as Malcolm X, but when he lived in Roxbury, they called him “Detroit Red.” Internationally renowned playwright Will Power combines the accuracy of a historian with the lyricism of a poet to shine a contemporary light on a pivotal coming-of-age moment in the celebrated, controversial civil rights leader’s life.

Boxed in by race and class in 1940’s Boston, he transformed from a rowdy teenager into a street hustler. Detroit Red vividly brings this world to life, depicting a brutally honest, human portrayal of the future activist as he navigates street life and the criminal underworld, taking the first steps in his quest to define the type of man he would eventually become.

Power has been called “the best verse playwright in America” (New York Magazine) and is widely known as one of the pioneers and cocreators of hip hop theater. This world premiere of Detroit Red uplifts Malcolm X’s under-examined, life-shaping experiences as a young man who called Boston home.



Emerson Paramount Center
Robert J. Orchard Stage

559 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111


Feb 01, 2020 - Feb 16, 2020


90 minutes, no intermission

Tickets from $25

Ages 16+

Parental advisory: This work contains nudity.


Open Caption Performance
Sat, Feb 08 2:00 pm

Audio Described Performance
Sat, Feb 15 2:00 pm

American Sign Language Performance
Sun, Feb 16 2:00 pm


Written by:

Will Power


Lee Sunday Evans

Produced By:


Will Power

Will Power is a renowned, performer, playwright, lyricist and educator. Power is an innovator and dramatic explorer of new theatrical forms. He has received multiple artist awards (Doris Duke, Mellon, USA, Lortel, others). His play Fetch Clay, Make Man has been produced in numerous theaters (McCarter, NYTW, Round House). Power has toured as a performance artist to hundreds of venues including the Walker Arts Center, Painted Bride, Sydney Festival, Battersea Arts Centre (U.K.), UCLA Live.

Lee Sunday Evans

Lee Sunday Evans is an Obie Award winning Director + Choreographer. Her recent credits: Dance Nation by Clare Barron (Playwrights Horizons), Intractable Woman by Stefano Massini and Caught by Christopher Chen (The Play Company), and HOME by Geoff Sobelle (BAM Next Wave Festival). Her work has toured to the Edinburgh International Festival, New Zealand International Festival, & Sydney Festival.

Eric Berryman

Eric Berryman is an NYC-based actor. In collaboration with The Wooster Group he conceived and stars in The B-Side: Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons, A Record Album Interpretation (St. Ann’s Warehouse). He has toured shows to Humana, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Hartford CT, Abu Dhabi, Taipei, and Gwangju South Korea.

Brontë England-Nelson

Brontë England-Nelson (Performer). Broadway: Three Tall Women (u/s, The Golden Theatre). New York: Acolyte (59E59), and work- shops of Rocket Park (The Public), Soldiergirls (Rattlestick) and Martyrs (La MaMa). Regional: Cadillac Crew (Yale Rep); Kleptocracy (Arena Stage); Three Musketeers and Henry IV, Part I (Santa Cruz Shakespeare); and As You Like It (Hudson Shakespeare Co.). Television: “Blindspot.” BA, UC Santa Cruz, MFA, Yale School of Drama.

Edwin Lee Gibson

Edwin Lee Gibson (Performer). 2017–2019 theatre credits: The Royale, Arizona Theatre Company; Turn Me Loose, Arena Stage (Washington, D.C.); Battlefield, Theatre Des Bouffes du Nord (Paris), National Theatre Studio (London) and international tour; 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas, Lookingglass Theatre Company (Chicago); and Beyond Caring, US premiere, Lookingglass Theatre Company (Chicago). Other selected theatre credits: Love and Information, US premiere, Minetta Lane Theatre/NYTW (NYC); The Royale, American Theatre Company (Chicago); The Seven, New York Theatre Workshop (NYC); The Diary of Black Men (London and Birmingham, UK); Five ’Til, Dixon Place (NYC); and The Death of Bessie Smith, New Brooklyn Theatre (NYC). TV: “Law & Order: SVU,” “Shameless,” “Chicago P.D.” and “Proven Innocent.” Film: The Visitor, Marshall, Mom and Dad, Sweet Tooth and Blood First. Mr. Gibson is the recipient of the O.B.I.E. (Off Broadway in Excellence) Award for Outstanding Performance. Detroit Red marks Mr. Gibson’s 105th professional theatre production.

Sponsored By:
national endowment of the arts logo

This project is supported by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MAP Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Barr Foundation through its ArtsAmplified initiative.


“Power’s poeticized, episodic account of how Malcolm X learned what he learned, and how he became what he became, ultimately adds up to an engrossing portrait of the activist as a young man.”

The Boston Globe

“A fully-realized artistic exploration of a moment in time. A verbally and visually poetic invocation of Detroit Red’s thoughts and experiences. Whatever you call their style of theater I want to see more of it. I don’t know about Malcolm Little or Detroit Red, but I think Malcolm X would have been proud.”


“When the stage went dark, the audience sat in stunned silence for nearly thirty seconds before applauding. It is a rare treat to feel as though you’ve taken a journey with those around you.”

Broadway World


Eric Berryman’s bravura performance comes off genuine and brutally honest.
Edwin Lee Gibson and Brontë England-Nelson play multiple characters throughout
the show displaying remarkable versatility and depth.”


“Eric Berryman delivers a lasting and incredibly powerful performance.”

Jared Bowen, WGBH


Joyce Kulhawik

“A brilliant script delivered by a small yet exceptionally talented cast, Detroit Red is not one to miss.”

The Suffolk Journal

“Intense. Insightful. At times uncomfortable like a great roller coaster ride Detroit Red leaves nothing to chance. Well done, Will Power. Boston hurry and get your tickets!”

— @FMLowery89

It’s great–highly recommended.”

— Marilyn Bernstein, Facebook

“Really well written, and deep insight into what influences a person to become who they are. Great scenes and performances.”

— Erin L. McCormack, Facebook

“Excellent performance!”

— Jo Ann Fitzgerald, Facebook

“A well acted roller coaster of Malcolm X life before he was Malcolm X! Intense!”

— @Afoodaficionado

“Go see Detroit Red. It’s beautiful and raw and painful and hopeful.”

— @jendeaderick