Coming to Detroit: The New Colossus


Looking for the perfect Valentine's date with your significant other or girlfriends? Don't worry, I have the perfect idea for you. The New Colossus will be at The Music Hall in Detroit February 14-16, 2020 and is one show you do not want to miss. This new play is written The Actors’ Gang ensemble and The Actors’ Gang Artistic Director Tim Robbins who also directed the piece.  

Tickets for The New Colossus start at $35 and go on sale Sunday, Oct. 27. Tickets can be purchased online at www.broadwayindetroit.com or www.ticketmaster.com, and by phone at 800-982-2787. Starting Monday, Oct. 28, tickets may also be purchased at The Music Hall and Fisher Theatre box offices.

In The New Colossus, The Actors’ Gang members tell their ancestors’ stories, their struggles and their journeys from oppression to freedom. The play celebrates the courage and great character of the refugees who came to this country throughout the last 300 years. The ensemble of twelve reflects the great diversity that has defined who we are as a nation; The New Colossus is a celebration of our diversity.

Set somewhere between the 19th century and now, the play tells the story of forced migration and the constant struggle for survival and dignity in an uncertain and hostile environment. The members of the acting company are from different parts of the world; they tell their stories, each in a different language, and each in different dress.  Actors from Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, Germany, Vietnam, Louisiana, Mexico, Finland, Hungary, Soviet Union and Austria will be in the Detroit company.

Director Tim Robbins said, “I live in Los Angeles, where one can only be struck by the contributions made to our city by immigrants and people who came here as refugees. The Actors’ Gang felt compelled to respond to the government’s anti-refugee and anti-immigration policies –- and to tell a story that draws attention to the true nature of people that live in this country. Save for the Indigenous, all of our families came here as refugees, immigrants or were brought here against their will.”

“The characters in the piece all seem different, from different parts of the world, travelling at different times – but the stories are remarkably the same: the common experience of all refugees is that they are fleeing some kind of oppression and moving toward safety and hopefully, freedom. Our hope is that we will be able to illuminate the courage, fortitude and humor of the refugees that have defined this land and, in doing so, discover the similarities that exist between our ancestors and those who are currently struggling for dignity and freedom today.”

The New Colossus shares a title with the sonnet written by poet Emma Lazarus in 1883 for an exhibit to raise funds for the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty, which opened in 1886. Even though the Statue of Liberty was not conceived as a symbol of immigration, Lazarus’ “The New Colossus” reinvented the statue's purpose, turning Liberty into a welcoming mother, a symbol of hope to the outcasts and oppressed of the world.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

At the end of each performance the actors will engage the audience and ask them to share either their experience of immigration or their family’s experience.

The New Colossus has its beginnings in The Actors’ Gang 2017 Refugee Project Workshop Production, in which actors told true, personal stories about their ancestors –- where they came from, why they had to leave, and where they arrived and settled. 

About The Actors’ Gang
Over the past 36 years, The Actors’ Gang has produced over 200 plays in Los Angeles, in forty-five US states, and on five continents. The company was founded in 1981 by a group of young artists looking to build a theatre that would present relevant and vibrantly entertaining plays. Guided by Founding Artistic Director, Tim Robbins, the company provides a supportive environment for a diverse ensemble of artists and the development of their groundbreaking work.

The Actors’ Gang has presented the work of innovative theater artists including Georges Bigot, Simon Abkarian, Charles Mee, David Schweizer, Bill Rauch and the Cornerstone Theatre Company, Tracy Young, Roger Guenver Smith, Eric Bogosian, Oskar Eustis, Danny Hoch, Beth Milles, Brian Kulick, Stefan Haves, Namaste Theater Company, Culture Clash, Jason Reed, Michael Schlitt, and Tenacious D.

The Actors’ Gang ensemble has included accomplished actors such as Jack Black, John Cusack, John C. Reilly, Helen Hunt, Kate Walsh, Fisher Stevens, Jeremy Piven, Ebbe Roe Smith, Jon Favreau, Brent Hinkley, Kate Mulligan, Lee Arenberg, Kyle Gass and Tim Robbins.

Guest artists that have appeared on The Actors’ Gang stage include: Jackson Browne, Sarah Silverman, Ben Gibbard, John Doe, Tom Morello, Jenny Lewis, Wayne Kramer, Paul Provenza, Zooey Deschanel, Serj Tankian, David Crosby, Pink, Felicity Huffman, Jill Sobule, William H. Macy, Phillip Baker Hall, Jeanne Tripplehorn, T.C. Boyle. and the late, beloved, Gore Vidal.

Over the last thirty years The Actors’ Gang has toured the U.S. in forty-five states and on five continents, performing across the world from London to Milan, Bucharest, Athens, Madrid, Barcelona, Bogota, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Buenos Aires.

With their productions, education and outreach programs and tours they strive to strengthen communities in a way that only the medium of theater can. They produce plays that contribute to the ongoing dialogue about our society and culture, while never forgetting that theaters primary purpose is to entertain.

“The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


Tim Robbins (Director)
For the past 36 years, Tim Robbins has served as Artistic Director for The Actors’ Gang, a theater company formed in 1982 that has over 150 productions and more than 100 awards to their credit. Past productions with The Actors’ Gang include: As Writer/Director - Harlequino On to Freedom (2017), Break the Whip (2010-11), Embedded (2003-4), Mayhem, the Invasion (1992), CarnageA Comedy (1988-89), Violence, The Misadventures of Spike Spangle Farmer (1987) and Alagazam (1986). As Director –A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2012-16), Orwells’ 1984 (2006-16), Mephisto (2001), The Good Woman of Setzuan (1991), Methusalemthe Eternal Bourgeois (1985), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1984), Ubu the King (1982); In addition to producing live theater throughout the year, The Actors’ Gang provides arts education to thousands of Elementary, Middle and High School students working in 12 LA USD schools and in underserved communities in the L.A. area. Since 2006, The Actors’ Gang’s groundbreaking Prison Project provides theatrical workshops to incarcerated men and women in 11 California prisons. In 2014, Robbins and Prison Project director Sabra Williams were instrumental in reinstating 6 million dollars into the California State budget for Arts in Corrections. 

As Actor, credits include the current HBO series Here and Now, Marjorie Prime, The BrinkMystic River, The Shawshank RedemptionThe Player, Bull Durham and Jacob’s Ladder and as a Writer/Director, Dead Man WalkingCradle Will Rock and Bob Roberts. Robbins has won the Academy Award, Golden Globe, Sag Award + Prix d'Interpr├ętation masculine at Cannes and French Legion.

Ticket information
Performance times for The New Colossus appearing February 14-16, 2020 at The Music Hall, located at 350 Madison Ave. in Detroit are:

·         Friday & Saturday evening performances at 8:00 p.m.
·         Saturday matinee at 2:00 p.m.
·         Sunday performance at 3:00 p.m.

Tickets for The New Colossus start at $35 (includes facility fee) and will go on sale Sunday, Oct. 27.  Tickets can be purchased online at www.broadwayindetroit.com or www.ticketmaster.com, and by phone at 800-982-2787.  Starting Monday, Oct. 28 tickets may also be purchased at The Music Hall and Fisher Theatre box offices. For group sales (10 or more) please call 313-871-1132 or email groups@broadwayindetroit.com.  Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice.
Broadway In Detroit uses Ticketmaster as its sole, authorized ticketing agent. Individual tickets purchased from a ticket broker or “third party” ticket reseller involves risk and may not be authentic, sold at box office prices, or with correct performance and venue information. Broadway In Detroit box offices cannot reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets sold through a third party or ticket reseller. Broadway In Detroit is also unable to contact third party purchasers with pertinent updates or changes regarding performances.

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