Skeleton Crew

A Note from the Playwright

Dominique Morisseau
Dominique Morisseau

This is the hardest play I’ve ever written to date. That’s my small admission. When you care about representing a people so deeply and the work that they do, it can be a little overwhelming. I’m not an auto-worker. But I’m from Detroit. Almost everyone from Detroit has a relative or several who have worked in the auto industry. I’ve talked to many friends, acquaintances, experts, UAW activists, and I’ve listened to the different work that they do, plants they’ve worked at, years they’ve put in, etc. Many of these jobs have now been automated. Robots in place of humans. This play isn’t about the Big Three. It is about the small factories that made it possible for the Big Three to exist.

I want to write this note because there are things these people shared with me that won’t be in the play. My play is fiction, but their world is real. They said many things that I want to share about the integrity of their work; about how the union has helped to build our rights not just as workers, but as American citizens. Some of those things will be in the play, but many will not. I want to give them voice here. One of my consultants said, “the important thing about the UAW that people need to understand is that at its core it isn’t just about the rights of auto workers, but about civil rights in general.” That won’t be expressed in this play. This play is about the people behind the unions. The people behind the company. The individuals. But I recognize that there is more to the auto world than I could ever capture. And so I write this note to salute the story beyond this play. The workers on all sides of the line that are trying to negotiate their survival and the revolutionary union movements that pushed the soul of justice into the labor force.

This play is in dedication to you. And specifically to the following:

My Auntie Francine, my grandfather Pike, my cousin (Uncle) Michael, my cousin Patti, my Uncle Sandy, my consultants David Livingston, Jerry King and Aisha McClain, and to the beautiful working class warriors that keep our nation literally and figuratively driving forward.


Skeleton Crew

A compassionate tale following a family of co-workers 

Skeleton Crew

By Dominique Morisseau
Directed by Taibi Magar
Neuhaus Theatre
September 7 - October 7, 2018

In the breakroom of one of Detroit’s last auto stamping plants, a makeshift family of co-workers swaps stories, shares dreams, and takes pride in their work. Loyalties are tested and boundaries are crossed in this “deeply American play” (The New York Times).