The 1970s

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 girlsopens 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.