IC Theatre Presents ‘Skeleton Crew’

By Alex Lefkowitz ’21, March 19, 2019
Earl McCarroll Studio Theatre transforms into a Great Recession-era Detroit auto plant.

The Earl McCarroll Studio Theatre’s spring 2019 season begins with a production of MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” winner Dominique Morrisseau’s “Skeleton Crew.” Opening Friday, March 22, “Skeleton Crew” tells the story of Detroit autoworkers grappling with looming unemployment on the cusp on the Great Recession.

“Skeleton Crew” is the final play in Morrisseau’s three-play cycle, titled “The Detroit Projects.” The play, which debuted off-Broadway in 2016, portrays a community in flux and details the impact of industrial forces on individual lives. With the threat of closure lingering over one of Detroit’s last automobile stamping plants, tensions rise and the workers face difficult choices concerning conscience, identity and economic survival.

Ticket Information

Performances of “Skeleton Crew” will run in the Earl McCarroll Studio Theatre in Dillingham Center, with performances at 7:30 p.m. on March 22, 23, 29 and 30, as well as 2 p.m. matinee performances on March 23, 24 and 30. General Admission tickets may be purchased for $5 at the Ithaca College Theatre Box Office, online at tickets.ithaca.edu, or by phone at (607) 274-3224. The box office is open Monday-Thursday from noon-5 p.m., and Friday from noon-4 p.m.

“What draws me so deeply to this play is the way the real human characters in it protect each other at great cost,” said Dean Robinson, who is directing the production. “Their union is not simply the United Auto Workers: It is a union of the soul and of the love that they have for each other, a union of circumstance, a union of personal history, a union of day-to-day. A union of humanity.”

Morrisseau received a five-year fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 2018. The much sought-after “genius grant” is given to individuals who show “extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.” She is a two-time winner of the NAACP Image Award, which celebrates the outstanding achievements of people of color in the arts, as well as individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative work. In 2016 she received an Off-Broadway Award for her collaboration with director Ruben Santiago-Hudson on their production of “Skeleton Crew.”

Director Dean Robinson is an assistant professor in the IC Department of Theatre Arts. Robinson has directed several other works in the Earl McCarroll Studio Theatre, including Saviana Stanescu’s “Aliens with Extraordinary Skills” and “K-I-S-S-I-N-G” by Lenelle Moïse ’02. He has also worked with students as a voice and dialect coach and fight choreographer on many previous mainstage productions.

Cast and Crew

The cast of “Skeleton Crew” includes:

  • Jaden Boyd ’21 as “Reggie”
  • Courtney Long ’21 as “Faye”
  • Jeremy Noel ’21 as “Dez”
  • Maya Jones ’20 as “Shanita”
  • Nicole Bethany Onwuka ’22 as the Female Understudy
  • Lawrence Xavier Bierria ’19 as the Male Understudy

The artistic team includes:

  • Dean Robinson - Director
  • Emily Miller ’21 - Assistant Director
  • Indigo Shea ’19 - Scenic Designer
  • Brock Viering ’19 - Costume Designer
  • Shane Hennessy ’19 - Lighting Designer
  • Aria Sardella ’20 - Co-Sound Designer
  • Ron Ziomek ’19 - Co-Sound Designer
  • Devin Gately ’19 - Stage Manager