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Meet the Class of 2023

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Meet Nadia

Nadia will be attending the University of Michigan for a major in choral music education. Throughout her four years here, she has learned about the importance of communities and the value of always being prepared and flexible, no matter the situation. Nadia aspires to be a playwright while owning her own production company so that she can continue to create authentic stories that engage, transform, and inspire.

Meet Derrick

Derrick plans to attend Western Michigan University in the fall. After nine months in our program, Derrick has come out of his shell in ways he had never imagined were possible. His time at Mosaic also showed him that community involvement is of the utmost importance, and performing for the community is a great way to get involved, take creative risks, and connect to others from all walks of life.

Meet Joi

Joi plans to study Music Performance after graduating high school. For seven years, Joi has participated in Mosaic and found great value in learning how to maintain professionalism—onstage, offstage, and backstage. She loved being involved in the community and felt that guidance from DeLa, Nadia, and others in the program allowed her to see what was possible with the right attitude and mindset.

Meet Sydnie

Sydnie plans to study Nursing to fulfill her dream of becoming a Midwife. She credits her six years at Mosaic for showing her the importance of education, and for revealing the power self-confidence can have in every aspect of life. Sydnie is grateful to have learned how dedication, hard work, and “only the best, nothing less” can change your life.

Meet Devin

Devin has been with Mosaic for five years, and many of his experiences here have impacted his growth and development as a person. He’s learned that being able to share your gifts and talents with others is a gift and that being open and friendly can create new opportunities and connections for you in every aspect of life.

Meet Cece

Cece will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall to pursue a degree in political science. She credits Mosaic for showing her the importance of education and community involvement. As a young artist, she has learned the valuable skills of time management, leadership, and organization, and she is eager to apply each to her college courses and future career.

Meet Mia

Mia will be attending Howard University in the fall. Her seven years at Mosaic have taught her the importance of staying professional in any situation, and she is grateful to have seen firsthand how powerful and joyful performing can be – for artists and audiences alike.

Meet Makiah

Makiah will be attending Western Michigan University to study Musical Theater. Throughout her five years at Mosaic, she has found value in understanding there is always so much more to learn, artistically and professionally. She has loved having the opportunity to make people happy through the arts and is eager to continue to do so as she moves into her collegiate and professional career.

Mad Props

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Everyone remembers the handkerchief in Othello and it’s hard to picture Linus without that blanket. Props can add a lot to creating the world of the story that gets told on stage. Check out what Michelle LeRoy, props designer, for Alice & the New Wonderful, had to say about creating the props for the show.

Q: How did you approach designing the props for “Alice & the New Wonderful” in order to bring both the fantastical world of Wonderland and the real world to life on stage?

A: For me reading through the script a couple of times, seeing the inspiration from the director, and then meeting with all the other designers helps to inspire the direction. Once I knew the aesthetic of the Heights vs the Barrens (real world vs “Wonderland”) informed the choices of color and design. For me, everything, even the slightly fantastical stuff, was still grounded in reality.

Q: Can you talk about any specific props that you’re particularly proud of creating for the production and what role they play in the story of the play?

A: I’m particularly proud of the student’s desks. I don’t want to say too much and give away anything. It was one of those moments where knowing the director wanted some wow moments and getting a note about having a ballpark-esque vendor tray for desks. I just combined the two. I’m also particularly proud of the detailing work Livia, the young technician assigned to props, created on many of the pieces. So look out for things like the Watermelon, detailing on the painter’s backpacks, and the radish salad to name a few.

Q: How did you work with the actors and other members of the production team to ensure that the props were used effectively in conveying the two worlds of Alice?

A: For one there is a lot of cross-over between set, costumes, and props. For example, while the bed is a set piece the bedding was something I worked with the Set Designer on. The mannequins in Maddie’s shop were a total collaboration with the costume designer to make the shop and the costumes cohesive. I also took color inspiration from the projection design. I also sought out inspiration from the young technicians. This show is their world and their voice is invaluable. Props designing has to be collaborative to make it cohesive.

Q: What advice would you give to young people who are interested in pursuing a career in props design, and how did you get started in this field yourself?

A: I have designed props off and on during my career. Most of my 23 years have been as a Stage Manager. It was college that exposed me to all the different aspects of design, directing, performing, and stage managing. For me, that’s what led to my success as a stage manager and my ability to design props. For those that are interested in pursuing props as a career, I would tell them to start making. Maybe make an accessory for a Halloween costume or a decoration for your room, think about the world you want it to live in, who is using it, what would you make it out of, and how would you make it. Continue to learn everything from crafting skills, how to build and use tools, collaborative skills, finding how-to’s on YouTube, taking design classes, learning about new materials, learning about new technology, finding ways of working with props designers at local theatres, learn how to design for other departments of theatre/film, find mentors, and make your own way.

Setting the Stage

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We’re pulling back the curtain to give you a sneak peek into the production process. Over the next few posts, you’ll hear from members of the cast and creative team as they prepare for the world premiere of Alice and the New Wonderful. Let’s set the stage. We had a chance to sit down with Brian Kessler (BK), Scenic Designer for Alice and the New Wonderful. Check out how he took the world of Alice from page to stage.

Q: What inspired the set design for “Alice & the New Wonderful” and how did you approach the task of bringing the story to life visually?

A: So this design was a very different approach for me versus my normal design process. For this show, we read thru the script as a production team and would stop every time we got to a change and discuss what our thoughts were and what we saw.

So having this unified vision from the start really made the process much easier as we were all on the same page. From that point, it became about how to create pieces that could be in this plain drab world but also be used if fun colorful ways for other scenes knowing space limitations at the DFT. which is how most set pieces are used in both worlds of the show.

Q: How did you collaborate with the production team to ensure that the set design complemented the overall vision for the show?

A: This process of me having Asana (which one day I will fully understand) help each other see our thoughts and visions really helped with the collaborations in the production team. From our first meeting, we walk through the show and I feel every scene is a compilation of everyone’s thoughts and ideas

Q: Can you talk about any specific challenges or obstacles that you faced during the set design process and how you overcame them?

A: One of the biggest challenges/obstacles to me was that we all know the story of Alice and Wonderland and how magical Wonderland was. Finding new ways to bring that magical feel into this production.

Q: What is the most striking or memorable aspect of the set design for “Alice & the New Wonderful” and why?

A: For me, it was really when I was doing the texture paint treatments on the set pieces in person. When doing the computer renderings I really got into the different ways layering spray colors looked. With a computer, it is very uniform and when doing spray treatments in person it is so random and easy to manipulate the colors.

Q: How did you incorporate the theme of reintegration into the real world into the set design, and what choices did you make to convey this visually?

A: From early on I wanted to find ways to make as many set pieces appear in both worlds. A lot of them do but each one has a different treatment but still bares resemblance to the other world. Like brick walls that have slanted bricks or Alice’s bed that is all a display in Maddie’s.

Q: Can you describe your creative process when designing a set for a theatrical production and how it differs from designing for other mediums?

A: Most of my design experience is in theatrical productions, however, from the little I have done a lot of the process is the same. First, you want to get to know the space and content of the project and then from there, it’s going into research looking for different imagery that speaks to your thoughts, such as fabrics, textures, colors, and patterns. then it becomes about bringing your visions to life.

Check out Alice & the New Wonderful at the Detroit Film Theater May 20-21, 2023.

Behind the Seams

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Get ready to step into a world of whimsy and wonder with Alice & the New Wonderful! Our production is full of stunning visuals, and the costumes are no exception. We sat down with our costume designer to get an inside look at the creative process behind bringing these characters to life. Join us for this exclusive interview and get a behind-the-scenes peek at the magic of Alice & the New Wonderful.

Calling the Shots

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It takes a village to put on a production as enchanting as Alice & the New Wonderful, and one of the unsung heroes of the show is our Stage Manager. In this exclusive interview, we sit down with the person who keeps everything running smoothly behind the scenes. Get ready to learn how they help bring the magic of Wonderland to life every night, and how their work is crucial to the success of the show.

The Art of Audio

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For many, sound design is often lumped together with music, but it is so much more. There is a team of designers and engineers to ensure audiences hear the show clearly and are transported into the world being created before their eyes. Sound design, like many other design elements, can make or break the experience. Sound Designer Lumumba Reynolds gives us an inside look into the role and its impact as we dive deeper behind the scenes.

Teching It to the Next Level

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Have you ever wondered what it takes to bring a stage production to life? In this exclusive interview, our Tech Theater Program Specialist, Nick Yocum, shares his insights on everything from coordinating lighting and sound to preparing youth apprentices for the big show. As the production manager of Alice & the New Wonderful, he’s intimately familiar with the challenges and rewards of working behind the scenes. So join us for this fascinating glimpse into the world of tech theater and see how our youth apprentices are stepping up to the plate!

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit Presents the World Premiere of Alice & the New Wonderful

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DIA performance caps 30th anniversary year
Production Dates: MAY 13 at 7PM | MAY 14 at 4PM | MAY 20 at 7PM | May 21 at 4PM

DETROIT – (April 12, 2023) – Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit to put on final show of the season in culmination with 30th Anniversary season. Join us for Alice & The New Wonderful, a thrilling new adaptation by Idris Goodwin, featuring music by Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit. Goodwin is a multiple award-winning playwright, breakbeat poet, content creator and arts champion.

“After such a successful season filled with joy and traditions, we are thrilled to invite audiences of all ages to the Detroit Institute of Arts Film Theatre. After consecutive sold out shows in February, we are humbled to return for our final production of the year featuring our youth ensemble and Class of 2023 seniors,” shares DeLashea Strawder, Executive & Artistic Director. “I also want to extend my gratitude to our partners that helped make this production possible – Thank you to Gucci Changemakers, the DIA, and The National Endowment of the Arts.”

The show tells the story of Alice, a 12-year-old Black girl, who struggles to reintegrate into the real world following their unforgettable adventures in Wonderland. As she grapples with feelings of alienation from her family and friends, she sets off to find a NEW wonderland in her city.

Alice & the New Wonderful runs for two weekends at the Detroit Institute of Arts Film Theatre.

Tickets for in-person audiences are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for youth 18 and under.

For show times and to purchase tickets, visit www.mosaicdetroit.org/events. For questions and additional information, please contact [email protected] or call 313.872.6910.

“With a stellar cast and jaw-dropping performances, this memorable production will be one for the books,” says Strawder.

The Mosaic Youth Theatre is Letting the Good Times Roll – Click on Detroit

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Meet the talented youth of a local Detroit ensemble! – We can all agree that spaces of creativity are great to allow children to learn and grow, and one local ensemble, Mosaic Youth Theatre, is doing just that.

DeLashea Strawder is the executive and artistic director for Mosaic Youth Theatre. Strawder said “Mosaic really uses the arts as a tool to earn mentoring relationships with young people.” She added that the program helps, “…to holistically support them providing them with opportunities to connect to professional artists and mentors.”

For youth interested in joining the ensemble, Strawder said that auditions are every summer and fall, and that the ensemble offers “programming year-round.”

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit to Receive Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

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Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit is pleased to announce it has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to receive a Grants for Arts Projects award of $15,000. This grant will support our mission of empowering young people to maximize their potential through professional performing arts training. This grant is one of 1,251 Grants for Arts Projects awards totaling nearly $28.8 million that were announced by the NEA as part of its first round of fiscal year 2023 grants.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects in communities nationwide,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “Projects such as this one with Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit strengthen arts and cultural ecosystems, provide equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, and contribute to the health of our communities and our economy.”

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit is one of Southeast Michigan’s most highly regarded cultural treasures. Our critically acclaimed student-driven performances and national and international tours have brought worldwide attention to Detroit as a center for arts and culture while shining a spotlight on the area’s talented young people and creating new and diverse audiences for the performing arts.

For more information on other projects included in the NEA’s grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.