Mixed Blood was founded in 1976 by a 22 year old Jack Reuler and began as a program of the Center for Community Action. The first 4 years of the organization saw multiple world premieres and the beginning of our partnerships with several actors, writers, and directors.
* denotes world premiere
** denotes regional premiere
^ denotes touring production
Badd High* by Carl Lumbly & Jack Reuler
Status Quo Vadis by Donald Driver
Black Cycle by Marti Charles
Indians by Arthur Kopit
Dutchman by Amiri Baraka
Brother Champ* by Michael Kassin
The theatre’s first world premieres were produced in 1976: Brother Champ, by Michael Kassin (featuring Geoff Ewing, Ralph Lemon, Marvin Grays, David Selburg, Russell Curry, & more) and Badd High by Carl Lumbly and Jack Reuler (featuring Carl, Faye Price, Abdul Salaam El Razzac, Ruth Lassila, and many more).
Indians by Athur Kopit anchored that first season, featuring a cast of 20, including six native actors (the most in any mainstage show).
Dutchman had Russell Curry and Ruth Lassila in the leads, but was never performed at The Firehouse as it toured to Pillsbury Theatre, Shoestring Playhouse, and the U of M’s Coffman Union.
Status Quo Vadis had a huge cast, led by Geoffrey Ewing, but also included Faye Price, Jack Reuler, Ruth Lassila, Liz Georges, Kim Hines, David Selburg, Russell Curry, Ralph Lemon, Paul Kustermann, Marvin Grays, and more.
Joanne!* by Ed Bullins
Brother Champ by Michael Kassin
Mother April’s* by Horace Bond
Sty of the Blind Pig by Philip Hayes Dean
Cops by Terry Curtis Fox
To Be Young Gifted and Black by Lorraine Hansberry
Mixed Blood’s production of Brother Champ moved to the Goodman Theater in Chicago.
The Last Champion* by Sharon Walton
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Candide* (adaptation) by Warren Bowles and Mike Arnold
Tango by Slawomir Mrozek
Medal of Honor Rag by Tom Cole
Tuesday by Jewel Walker
Black Picture Show by Bill Gunn
Mixed Blood signs contract with Actors’ Equity Association.
Warren Bowles’ first play as an actor was Black Picture Show by Bill Gunn. Warren was a CETA employee as was Sharon Walton and Larkin Mead (who did costumes and PR). Warren would go on to become a central part of Mixed Blood for the next 4 decades.
for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange
Bleacher Bums by Stuart Gordon & the members of the Organic Theater Company
Curse of the Starving Class by Sam Shepard
Make Room for Dada* by Mark Frost
Noah^ by Jewel Walker
Quixote’s Charge*^ by Steve Pearson
African Jazz*^ by Ken LaZebnik
for colored girls…opens at Walker Art Center, directed by Tony Award-winner Trazana Beverly, for 200-performance run.
African Jazz was the first of 10 world premieres written by Ken LaZebnik.
Make Room for Dada was legendary in that it was sold out for the run, but was closed after three days because it wasn’t good.