• Phone: 313.872.6910

Press Release

Detroit to Dakar spotlights how music bridges the gap between language, culture, and heritage.

Detroit to Dakar spotlights how music bridges the gap between language, culture, and heritage. 1200 500 mosaic
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Contact: Jessica Byrd, 313.268.8218 (cell), jbyrd@mosaicdetroit.org

Mosaic’s Detroit to Dakar spotlights how music bridges the gap between language, culture, and heritage.

Mosaic Young Artists cultural exchange debuted in the newest original show, Detroit to Dakar

DETROIT (April. 23, 2019) –Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit’s Main stage singers and actors re-enact experiences from a 15-day cultural awakening exchange, traveling from Detroit to Dakar, Senegal in 2003. Detroit to Dakar exhibits the cultural, spiritual, and intuitive journey of youth from two different worlds forging a commonality between music, arts, and ancestry history. The story captivates the rich culture of Dakar, dialogue between Americans and African heritage, and the testament to the universal healing from the power of music. The show runs on May 11, 12, 18, and 19 at the Detroit Film Theatre located inside the Detroit Institute of Arts. Media preview day will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2019. Interviews are available upon request. 

 “Detroit to Dakar is a story of journeys. Besides the thousands of miles these young artists traveled to get to Africa, the greater distance they traveled was within themselves. To dig deep into what it means to have African heritage and be an American, to be the descendants of people captured from Africa and enslaved in America, to feel very much like foreigners in Africa and outsiders in America – and to somehow make sense of all of this as many of them prepared to leave for their next journey, college,” remarks Rick Sperling, Mosaic’s founder and Director of Detroit to Dakar. “It is also about the journey that Mosaic has made over the past 27 years. When we started in 1992, there were 28 zealous young people who did everything – acting, singing, songwriting, playwriting, and tech. Our first set was held together by duct tape”, Rick recalls, sharing the sentiments of what was once a dream.
Detroit to Dakar bridges the symbolism of Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit and the accessibility of arts and theatre for metro youth. The story documents Mosaic Young Artists’ journey from an exchange with the John K. Kennedy Association of Dakar – an organization dedicated to create and encourage cultural participation and the arts in youth. Stories of youth intellect and human dependence explore intimate transformations while navigating the artist journey of the world today. Cultural exposure is integral for youth, and it allows them to become active participants in their communities and contributors to history. 
While theatrical performances are what most metro Detroiters know Mosaic for, its mission expands beyond theatre. Nearly 500 young people ages 7-19 participate in out-of-school programs ranging from acting and vocal music ensembles, summer camp programs, and, to an annual college invitational, technical theater apprenticeships, and arts administration internships in addition to in-school programming at area schools. Its motto, “Only the Best Nothing Less” empowers Young Artists to achieve at their highest ability in school and on the stage.
Tickets for Detroit to Dakar are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for youth ages 5-18. For show times and to purchase tickets, visitwww.mosaicdetroit.org/tickets. Group discounts available. For questions and additional information, please contactsales@mosaicdetroit.org or call 313.872.6910.

Mosaic hosts auditions for hit show Now That I Can Dance – Motown 1962

Mosaic hosts auditions for hit show Now That I Can Dance – Motown 1962 1200 500 mosaic

Contact: Matt Lee, 248.931.2443 (cell), mleibow412@aol.com

Mosaic hosts auditions for hit show Now That I Can Dance – Motown 1962 , April 24 at Motown Museum’s famed Studio A 

Internationally-acclaimed theatre company revives musical about Motown’s early days

DETROIT (April. 4, 2019) –Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, in cooperation with the Motown Museum, is pleased to announce the return of Now That I Can Dance – Motown 1962 in celebration of Motown’s 60th anniversary. Mosaic takes it back to where it all started for this hit musical about Motown’s early days, when most of its future stars were teenagers. Open community auditions for Now That I Can Dance will take place April 24, 2019, in the legendary Studio A in the Motown Museum’s Hitsville U.S.A, the actual place where the Marvelettes and many other famous Motown acts auditioned in the early 60s.

Now That I Can Dance tells the little-known story of the Marvelettes and the origin of Motown’s first #1 record on the pop charts, Please Mister Postman. The show will be directed by Mosaic founder Rick Sperling in his final production before retiring as Founding Artistic Director. Now That I Can Dance will take place for two weekends at the Detroit Institute of Arts August 9-19, 2019.

Community auditions will take place Wednesday, April 24, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Motown Museum’s Hitsville U.S.A is located at 2648 W. Grand Boulevard in Detroit. Auditions are first-come, first-served, no reservations required. Anyone age 11 through adult is eligible to audition.

Roles include Stevie Wonder at the ages of 11, 14 and 18; the teenage members of the Marvelettes and Supremes; members of the Miracles, Vandellas and Contours in their early 20s; and Marvin Gaye in his mid-twenties. Other non-singing roles include Berry Gordy in his early 30s; parents of the young Motown stars; secretaries, producers, songwriters and engineers at Motown; and head of Motown’s Charm School, Maxine Powell. Larger roles involve singing and acting, while some roles involve either singing or acting.

What: Community auditions for youth and adults for Mosaic’s Now That I Can Dance – Motown 1962, in cooperation with the Motown Museum

When: Wednesday, April 24, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. (first come-first served)

Where: Studio A in the Motown Museum’s Hitsville USA, 2648 W. Grand Boulevard, Detroit

Audition Requirements:

For singing-only roles: Prepare a two-minute Motown song, either acapella or with accompaniment (provided)

For acting-only roles: Prepare a two-minute monologue from a published play

For acting and singing roles: Prepare both a two-minute Motown song and a two-minute monologue.

Questions about auditions can be emailed to auditions@mosaicdetroit.org

The Laramie Project

The Laramie Project 1200 500 mosaic

Contact: Stefanie Worth, 313.872.6910, ext.4004

Mosaic Youth Theatre addresses intolerance in The Laramie Project
Ensemble cast learns firsthand the social power of theatre


DETROIT (Feb. 6, 2019) – Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit’s Main Stage Actors tackle the weighty topic of social intolerance in The Laramie Project, a production examining the events leading up to and the aftermath of a young gay man’s 1998 murder in Laramie, Wyoming. The show is produced and performed exclusively by members of Mosaic’s all-youth theatre and runs at the Mosaic Black Box Theatre from Feb. 22 – 24.

“The theme of the production is one of tolerance and understanding”, shares Andrew Huff, Director of Theatre. “As actors, the ensemble spends most of its time entertaining our audiences- making them laugh and smile with musicals or comedies. But sometimes, we have an opportunity to transcend entertainment and use our work in an important way, introducing heavier, more important conversations.”

Immediately following Matthew Sheppard’s death, Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project conducted over 200 interviews with Laramie locals, from bartenders, to social workers and family members to reconstruct the story that has become an American classic. And as members of the ensemble cast researched characters and learned more about the production, they’ve cultivated a safe space for sensitive discussions on the play’s major themes of social intolerance, introducing their own personal experiences and perspective to the acting process.

“Our goal isn’t to make political statements or stir the pot, but for our young people to experience theatre that has real, lasting implications in people’s lives,” Huff continued. “In today’s climate, contributions like this are more important than ever- to recognize our history of tragedy, the good things we’ve accomplished and how far we still have to go.”

While theatrical performances are what most metro Detroiters know Mosaic for, its mission is around creative youth development. Nearly 500 young people ages 7-19 participate in out-of-school programs ranging from acting and vocal music ensembles, summer camp programs, and, to an annual college invitational, technical theater apprenticeships, and arts administration internships in addition to in-school programming at area schools.

“Matthew Sheppard was only 21 years old – not much older than our Main Stage members who are reenacting these events. They’re able to tell this story in a richly authentic way. It’s piercing. It makes you think,” said Stefanie Worth, Mosaic’s Executive Director. “So in a society where incidents like the recent assault on Empire actor Jussie Smollett remind us that this hate still lives, our young artists fight through performance for a world where love rules.”

Tickets for Mosaic’s 2018-19 season shows are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for youth ages 5-18. Due to mature subject matter, this show is not recommended for children under 13. For show times and to purchase tickets, visit www.mosaicdetroit.org/tickets. Group discounts available. For questions and additional information, please contact sales@mosaicdetroit.org or call 313.872.6910.

Mosaic Receives $1 Million Grant

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Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit Announces $1 Million Grant to Fund Summer Camp and Middle School Programs

Grant to Support Mosaic Through 2019 Leadership Transition

Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation Announces Five-Year Commitment to Mosaic

(Detroit, December 13, 2018) Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit announced today that it has received a $1 million grant that will fund two of their key programs – the Summer Camp and the Mosaic Experience Empowerment Program (MEEP). The grant, which will be distributed over five (5) years is from the Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation (SLFF). Mosaic was founded 27 years ago by Rick Sperling, its founding artistic director, and is now lead by Stefanie Worth, its Executive Director and DeLashea Strawder, its Artistic Director. Mosaic provides summer camp, in-school mentoring, and a variety of artistic opportunities for children in Detroit. Mosaic is an unusually accomplished non-profit program, its alumni having garnered Tony, Emmy, and Grammy nominations, performed for two U.S. presidents, toured three continents and sent 95 percent of their student participants to college.

The Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation (SLFF) was founded by Broadway Producer and Detroit native, Jeffrey Seller and his partner Josh Lehrer, a prominent photographer and documentarist. The SLFF mission is to fund dynamic educational, cultural, and environmental organizations and initiatives.

“This incredibly generous grant comes at an important inflection point in Mosaic’s long history,” said Rick Sperling. “We have demonstrated success in exposing the exciting world of theatre and music to Detroit’s youth. As we move onto an exciting future with new leadership in 2019, this grant ensures a smooth transition and our continued ability to fully fund our summer camp and the Mosaic Experience Empowerment Program in Detroit’s middle schools,” added Sperling.

“I have admired Rick Sperling since the 1980’s when he directed shows at Performance Network in Ann Arbor.   He daily demonstrates that theatre changes lives.  His work with Mosaic has lifted and enriched the lives of thousands of young people and we are honored to help support a strong future for this extraordinary institution,” said Jeffrey Seller, the producer of the Tony Award-winning musicals Hamilton, RentAvenue QIn the Heights, and this season’s The Cher Show. “Rick’s leadership and the team that Mosaic has put in place – Stefanie Worth and DeLashea Strawder – will ensure that this great organization continues to provide artistic and educational opportunity for Detroit students for another 27 years,” added Seller.

The $1 million grant, which will be distributed over five years includes funds that will be set aside to establish an endowment to support future programs. The annual funding will support up to 200 camp scholarships.


About Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit

Mosaic seeks to empower young people to create positive changes in their lives and communities by helping them develop patterns of cooperation, disciplined work habits and effective problem-solving skills through the creation of high-quality, professional-level performances of theatre and music. And by highlighting the immense talent of young Detroiters, Mosaic helps to create positive peer role models and young people who can view a more positive future for themselves and for their community.

About the Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation

Predicated on the concept that first you learn, then you earn and then you return, the Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation endeavors to re-invest the support from Broadway patrons into organizations that pursue innovative and worthwhile cultural and environmental initiatives. Specifically, the Foundation makes grants to public charities with educational, theatrical, artistic, Jewish community, and environmental purposes.   The Foundation is particularly interested in proposals that pursue innovative and non-traditional solutions and initiatives carried out on behalf of such organizations.

Mosaic Founder Rick Sperling to Retire from Nonprofit After 27 Years

Mosaic Founder Rick Sperling to Retire from Nonprofit After 27 Years 1200 500 mosaic


Contact: Don Tanner
(248) 762-1533



DETROIT, Mich. — Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit founder and Artistic Director Rick Sperling will retire from the nonprofit in September 2019. Mosaic has also elevated DeLashea Strawder to Artistic Director from Associate Artistic Director. The announcements were made by Sperling and the Mosaic Board of Directors.

Founded by Rick Sperling in 1992 to address gaps in Metro Detroit arts education, Mosaic has served, mentored and guided thousands of young artists throughout the community. After his departure in September, Sperling will continue his consultancy work for Detroit Public Schools Community District in the area of arts excellence for youth. He will also continue to serve as an advisor to Mosaic and its Board and produce an annual summer alumni and community musical.

A 1999-2002 member of the Mosaic Singers, Strawder joined the nonprofit in 2003 as Assistant Music Director and steadily rose up the ranks to Music Director and her most recent title of Associate Artistic Director. Now, as Mosaic’s new Artistic Director, she will provide leadership in the development and oversight of training programs and artistic performances while working with Executive Director Stefanie Worth to ensure stage and educational initiatives align to strategic plans and budgets.

“DeLashea, with Stefanie, provides the ideal combination of talent to evolve and move us forward with new ideas and approaches aimed at community impact, sustainability and maximizing potential,” said Kate M. Spratt, Chair of Mosaic’s Board of Directors. “Rick Sperling, a man whose vision and leadership are without peer, cannot be replaced. Rather, we will honor and build upon his legacy of ‘only the best, nothing less’ for those we serve.”

“My goal has always been to create an organization that benefits generation after generation of young artists and I am incredibly proud of what we have built,” said Sperling, whose new title will be Founding Artistic Director. “It is also a dream come true to have a Mosaic alumnus succeed me. With a strong balance sheet and zero debt, this organization is in wonderful hands with leaders I know will continue and evolve the Mosaic mission.”

A Detroit News Michiganian of the Year, Sperling’s work has been recognized locally and nationally including with the Detroit Free Press Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theater and the National Guild of Community Arts Education Award. Mosaic facilitates the participation of more than 500 young people from more than 50 Metro Detroit schools in First, Second and Main Stage programs annually. Under Sperling’s leadership, Mosaic has garnered numerous national and local honors including the National Youth Arts and Humanities Program Award — the country’s highest honor for youth cultural organizations, The State of Michigan’s Governors’ Arts  Award, and Crain’s Detroit Business’ Best Managed Nonprofit Award.


About Mosaic

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit is an internationally renowned out-of-school creative youth development organization. Mosaic channels the passion, energy, and creativity of area youth into developing outstanding theater productions, critical thinking skills, and global citizenry through arts education, college prep, and workforce readiness programming. Mosaic’s young artists have performed at the White House and the Kennedy Center and have toured their critically acclaimed productions in Europe, Asia, Africa and 25 states throughout the U.S. The organization maintains a 95%-plus high school graduation rate with students attending colleges across Michigan and around the country, institutions such as The Julliard School, and going on to become Kresge Artist Fellows, Broadway stars, and Emmy and Tony Award nominees. To learn more about Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, visit us online at www.mosaicdetroit.org.

About DeLashea Strawder 

DeLashea Strawder has devoted her skill and leadership to inspire and incite a new generation of leaders and advocates for the arts for over a decade. Equally grounded in artistic excellence and arts education Strawder is a sought after conductor, clinician and speaker.  A champion of arts and culture and its’ inherent ability to motivate, empower and mobilize, she serves as co-chair for the National Creative Youth Development Field Building Action Team and has been recognized for her leadership and community impact as a Comcast 20 under 30 (2011), Detroit Pistons Come Together Foundation Impact Award (2013) and Michigan Chronicle 40 under 40 (2017) awardee.

Under her leadership Mosaic Singers have won two gold and three silver medals at the World Choir Games, opened for the Sistine Chapel Choir, performed for President Obama and at the Congressional Black Caucus Conference, American Choral Directors Michigan Conference and as the guest chorus for select performances of Josh Groban’s Stages and Bridges Tours.

About Stefanie Worth

Stefanie joined Mosaic in May 2018 as Executive Director, bringing a strong multi-sector perspective and two decades of experience in Detroit’s nonprofit sector. From her days as an award-winning newspaper reporter, an internet pioneer, Detroit City Council staffer, and brand marketing leader, her roles have been threaded by innovative approaches to community collaboration.

Executive Director Search Begins

Executive Director Search Begins 1200 500 mosaic

May 17, 2017- The Board of Directors of Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit are excited to announce its plan to transition to a new executive leadership structure as the organization positions itself in its 25th Anniversary year for increased capacity and sustainability. The co-leadership model of an executive director and artistic director, used by most major American nonprofit theatres, will allow the directors to unify and work collaboratively to build on the organization’s success in both the arts and youth development. Mosaic is known nationally and internationally as an exemplary youth arts program and a leader in the new field of Creative Youth Development.

“As the board assessed our last twenty five years and worked with Founder, Rick Sperling to consider what that next twenty five years would look like, we determined this leadership structure was the best strategy to build a foundation for further success,” said Mosaic Board Chair Kate Spratt.  More importantly, “Bringing in an executive director who can focus solely on fund development and nonprofit management — while Rick continues to drive creative excellence – will allow Mosaic to further grow as a strong nonprofit, impact more young people’s lives, and contribute more to the Detroit arts ecosystem.”

“Over the past 25 years, Mosaic has demonstrated the power of theatre and music to transform the lives of Detroit youth,” said Sperling. “This new leadership structure will allow me and Associate Artistic Director DeLashea Strawder to focus all of our energies on advancing Mosaic’s capacity to create art that truly empowers young people to achieve excellence on stage and in life.”

Founded by Sperling in 1992, Mosaic has grown into an honored Detroit cultural institution and a haven for thousands of Detroit teens with a passion for the arts. Mosaic’s acclaimed all-teen performances have toured to Africa, Asia, Europe, Canada and 25 states throughout the U.S. including performances at The White House, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and the Apollo Theater.  Under Sperling’s leadership, Mosaic has been named Crain Detroit’s Best Managed Nonprofit and has been a selected as a winner of Michigan’s Governors Arts Award and the National Youth Arts and Humanities Award presented by the President Committee on the Arts and Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. A University of Michigan study released in 2008 provides extensive data demonstrating Mosaic’s significant impact on the personal and professional growth of Detroit youth. Over Mosaic’s 25 year history, more than 95% of its performers have graduated from high school and gone on to college.

The national Executive Director search will begin in May 2017 with a goal to have the position filled by August. The Hunter Group has been engaged by the Mosaic board to lead the search. Inquiries about the position can be directed to The Hunter Group, Blaire Miller, Partner. Email: blaire.miller@huntergroup.com, Tel: 248.645.1551 ext. 207