Dominique Morisseau Following In Wilson's Footsteps, Says Williams

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Stephen Tyrone Williams believes that playwright Dominique Morisseau is following in the footsteps of August Wilson.

But instead of chronicling the African-American experience in the 20th century in Pittsburgh, as Wilson did with most of his 10-play cycle, Morisseau (who is a MacArthur “genius” grant recipient), is zeroing in on her native Detroit. “She writes with such specificity and poetry,” says Williams, who plays trumpeter Blue in Morisseau’s Paradise Blue at New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre through Dec. 16.

Morisseau is an in-demand playwright in Connecticut. Last year, Hartford’s TheatreWorks presented her play Sunset Baby. In February, Hartford Stagewill present Detroit ’67 (in association with the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey); and in June, Westport Country Playhouse puts on Skeletal Crew.

“In Paradise Blue she has created this great snapshot of a moment in time in Detroit,” Williams says. “This play is not just about change but it’s also about new rebirth. She is also giving us such strong, complex women characters.”