Sponsored by Somerset Collection and The Forbes Company

Marie and Rosetta

by George Brant
Previews February 15 and 16
Opening night February 17
Matinee Wednesday, March 7, at 2:00 p.m.
Running through March 11, 2018

Referred to by some as the “godmother of rock ‘n’ roll,” Sister Rosetta Tharpe influenced artists like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash with her fierce guitar playing and unique style of gospel. Marie and Rosetta features electrifying music and brings us to Tharpe’s first rehearsal with young protégée Marie Knight before they set out to become one of the great duos in music history. 



Carman Cooper (Rosetta)

Carman was born and raised in Detroit and has performed as a singer and actress since age 11. Carman received theatre and performance training as a teen in the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, where she participated as one of the Mosaic Singers, performing in many of their original productions. Carman has also performed in many local community theatre productions such as Dreamgirls and Ain’t Misbehavin’. Most recently, she played the lead role of Deloris Van Cartier in the Park Players Detroit’s production of Sister Act. Carman is making her professional debut playing the role of Sister Rosetta Tharpe in the Detroit Public Theatre’s production of Marie and Rosetta. She is excited and counts it an honor to portray such an important figure in rock and roll history.


Johnique Mitchell (Marie)

Johnique Mitchell (Marie) was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She received her BFA in acting from Texas State University's theatre program and (as of December 2017) is a graduate of the Penn State University's MFA Acting program. During her grad school experience, she was cast as Olivia in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Marie in Robert O'Hara's Barbeque, and Athena in Mary Zimmerman's Argonautika. She originated the role of Randy in Hansol Jung’s new work Double Think at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa, and the revised Janeece in the premiere of Ruben Santiago Hudson’s Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine at Penn State's Downtown Theatre. In addition to her training at Penn State, she has studied with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England and Shakspeare's The Globe in London, England.

Creative Team

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George Brant (Playwright)

George Brant’s plays include Grounded, Elephant’s Graveyard, Marie and Rosetta, Into the Breeches!, The Mourners’ Bench, Any Other Name, Salvage, Grizzly Mama, and Three Voyages of the Lobotomobile. An Affiliate Writer at the Playwrights’ Center, his scripts have been produced internationally by such companies as the Public Theater, the Atlantic Theater Company, Cleveland Play House, Trinity Repertory Company, the Studio Theatre, Alley Theatre, London’s Gate Theatre, Page 73, and the Traverse Theatre.  His plays have received a Lucille Lortel Award, an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, the Smith Prize, a Fringe First Award, an Off-West End Theatre Award, an NNPN Rolling World Premiere, the Teatro Netto Festival Grand Prize, a Creative Workforce Fellowship, three OAC Individual Excellence Awards, and the Keene Prize for Literature. George received his MFA in Writing from the Michener Center at UT-Austin and is a member of the Dramatists Guild. He is published by Samuel French, Oberon Books and Smith & Kraus.

Courtney Burkett (Director)

Courtney Burkett is a Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director of Detroit Public Theatre. Courtney’s DPT directing credits include American Hero, Murder Ballad (Wilde Award Nomination: Best Musical; It’s All Theatre: “Best of Season”), and the touring production of Detroit ’67. Prior to founding DPT, Courtney spent five years as the Director of Theatre Programs at Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, where she  trained and mentored hundreds of young actors. Directing credits at Mosaic include The Tempest, Candide, Hastings Street, Lil Ham, and The Crucible. Before Mosaic, Courtney was a founding Artistic Partner with Breathe Art Theatre Project, where she directed and produced many productions and appeared in boom (Winner: The Rogue Critic Best Supporting Actress). Courtney spent two years working at the University of Michigan as the managing director of the CRLT Players. In that position, she oversaw 50 applied theatre performances annually on campuses throughout the country. Courtney also served as the business manager for the University of Detroit Mercy Theatre Company. While at UDM, Courtney taught in the Department of Theatre and directed and performed in Theatre Company productions. Courtney received her BFA from Webster Conservatory of Theatre Arts and her MFA from Wayne State’s Hilberry Theatre program.

Jamie Reed (Music Director)

Jamie Reed is an accomplished music director, pianist, arranger, and vocal coach. She holds a music degree in piano performance from Western Michigan University. Music director credits include: Cabaret, Evita, Altar Boyz, Next To Normal, Shrek, Rent, West Side Story, Last Five Years, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and Lippa’s The Wild Party. National Tour credits: Wicked, Book of Mormon, Chicago, Beauty and the Beast, South Pacific, and Fiddler on the Roof. After a brief stint in New York, Jamie switched gears to international music directing for Holland America Cruise Line. She has also worked with Jason Robert Brown, Alice Ripley, and Danny Gurwin. Jamie is currently music directing in Metro Detroit, resident music director for Mason Street Warehouse in Saugatuck, Director of Music for Orchard UMC, and vocal coach at Oakland University.

Pegi Marshall (Scenic and Props Design)

Marie and Rosetta marks Pegi’s DPT debut. Other credits include: Ford’s Theatre, Washington DC; Imagination Stage, Maryland; Southwest Shakespeare, Arizona; and Hilberry and Bonstelle Theatres, Detroit. In addition to designing, Pegi is a professor and researcher. Her grant and fellowship-awarded creative projects and research include theatre and performance installations and research on theatre design sustainability. They have been presented/performed in several US cities as well as in New Zealand, Serbia, Prague, and Canada. As an artist, Pegi emphasizes sustainability and accessibility, as she believes it is important to be socially responsible to the communities in which we create and share our art. Pegi received her MFA from University of Maryland College Park, and she is a USA 829 Scenic Designer.

Christianne Myers (Costume Design)

Christianne Myers  is a freelance costume designer and Associate Professor of Theatre & Drama at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. New York highlights include the Obie Award-winning productions of Music Theatre Group's Running Man and Blue Light's production of Dare Clubb's Oedipus. Other design credits include productions for The Juilliard School, The Vermont Stage Company, The Lincoln Center Institute, The Clarence Brown Theatre, The Syracuse Stage, The Indiana Repertory Theatre, Theatreworks/USA, The Caldwell Theatre, The Irondale Ensemble, Opera Memphis, and The Santa Fe Opera. At U-M, she has designed more than thirty productions, including Henry IV, A Little Night Music, and Caroline, or Change. She is delighted to be back at DPT since designing Dot last season.

Cecilia Durbin (Lighting Design)

At DPT: Murder Ballad, Sex with Strangers; Other Designs: Sense and Sensibility, Love Alone (Playmakers Rep); South Pacific (Triad Stage); Disgraced (Portland Stage Co & Hangar Theatre); The Taming of the Shrew (Chautauqua Theatre); All Shook Up, On Golden Pond (New London Barn Playhouse); Hyena (La MaMa, Edinburgh Fringe, United Solo [Best Lighting]); In the Blood (Theatre Horizon [Barrymore nomination]); Don’t Feed the Indians, Amy Surratt's First & Last (Show) (La Mama); Stranger from Paradise (Opera Omaha); The Life Model (On the Boards); Numb (Goat in the Road Productions, JACK); Lust (HERE Arts Center); Measure for Measure (Epic Theatre Ensemble); We Are Proud to Present a Presentation… (InterAct Theatre), A Soldier’s Tale (The Bushwick Starr/The Puppet Kitchen). MFA from NYU; member USA 829.

Tim Franquist (Sound Design)

Tim Franquist is a 20-year veteran of the concert touring industry. He has worked for and mixed sound for some of the biggest names in music from rock to R&B, funk, soul, and jazz as well as theatrical productions.

Neal Wright (Guitar)

Neal Wright has been playing guitar as a freelance musician in Metro Detroit for the past decade. He graduated from Oakland University in 2015 with his degree in classical guitar performance and is currently pursuing a second degree in electrical engineering. Since 2008, Neal has played almost 100 different productions with a variety of theaters in the Detroit area, including Shrek, Legally Blonde, Fiddler on the Roof, Hairspray, Rent, West Side Story, The Full Monty, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Violet, Jesus Christ Superstar, and many more. An avid student of guitar and its different musical perspectives, Neal enjoys performing in a variety of settings, from pits to nightclubs, and a variety of styles, from classical and jazz to blues and rock.