MEET the Finalists! Season 4 – Obsidian Theatre Festival

In February, the Obsidian Theatre Festival Announced its lined-up for the 4th Annual Season. The Obsidian Theatre Festival was founded by John Sloan III and is a collaboration between GhostLight Creative Productions & Nicely Theatre Group.

OTF focuses on Black stories by Black playwrights and takes place in 3 locations in downtown Detroit each June. This year’s festival will take place from Thursday, June 27 – Sunday, June 30, 2024.
You can Pre-Register for a Festival Pass below, and Individual Ticket and registration will be available soon!

Learn more about each of the playwrights and their plays below, and get those flights to Detroit booked, you won’t want to miss this summer’s festival!



Marlene Boll Theatre at Downtown YMCA at 1401 Broadway St, Detroit, MI

“Black Santa” by Aaron Mays

Dates: Thursday, June 27 and Saturday, June 29, 2024

: Before Abbott Elementary, there was Patrice at Dartmouth Day School….Shortly before Christmas break, a third grader named Sharifa stands in front of her class and says, “Santa Claus is a black man from Detroit,” sending the school into an uproar. To quell the storm, Patrice Patterson, the school’s only black teacher, is asked to create an ad campaign within the school to make Santa white again. As events unfold, Sharifa’s enrollment is placed in jeopardy, and Patrice must decide how to protect Sharifa and ultimately herself. This absurdist comedy examines how race and racial bias can have a foothold on one of the most benign figures—Santa Claus.

“The Golden Loc” by Prentiss Matthews III

Dates: Friday, June 28 and Sunday, June 30, 2024

ABOUT THE PLAY: The Golden Loc is a TYA (Theater for Young Audience) play inspired by African Mythology. The story centers on a little Black girl (Zia) who learns to embrace her unique locs, beauty, and magic within. The show explores Aziza Faires which are magical African Fairies who have elemental abilities. The Aziza Fairies also offer spiritual and emotional guidance to young Zia as she trains to become a Fairy protector. Will she succeed and learn to harness her power from within? We shall see. The play explores themes of Afrofantasy, Afrocentricity, Self Love, Healing, and sisterhood. 

“Crooked Parts” by Azure D. Osborne-Lee

Dates: Friday, June 28 and Sunday, June 30, 2024

ABOUT THE PLAY: “Crooked Parts” is a family dramedy set in yesterday and today. Freddy, a Black queer trans man, returns to his family home in the South after his fiancé breaks up with him. Once there, Freddy must navigate the tension created by his transition and his brother’s serial incarceration. Meanwhile, in his past, 13 year-old Winifred struggles to balance her relationship with her mother with her desire to better fit in with her peers. Crooked Parts is poignant, queer, funny, and definitely definitely Black.

“The Sisters Grey” by Lori Roper

Dates: Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30, 2024

The Sisters Grey, provides a true illumination of the relationships among African American and Jewish people. The Sisters Grey is a multi-ethnic, interdenominational work.  In addition to an honest discussion about race, The Sisters Grey unveils the unspoken complexities within female relationships; especially those which are interracial.  Furthermore, an intergenerational cast provides a stark discussion about the significance of roots, the mythology at the heart of prejudice and the lingering malaise from centuries of misunderstanding and bigotry.  This modern-day comedy centers on two sisters-in-law: one African American, the other European American.  The cast will consist of three African American characters, one African (Nigerian) character and two European-American Jewish characters.

FUN FACT: Lori Roper was one of the Semi-Finalists for the 2nd Annual Black Motherhood and Parenting New Play Festival! You can read about her BMPFest play here!


The Musical Theatre Showcase will take place in The Chrysler Black Box at The Detroit Opera House on 1526 Broadway St in Detroit, MI.

The Finalists this year were Librettist and Lyricist, Ashlee Thomas and Composer, Ziyan Yang with “Ti’Mon”

Dates: Friday, June 28 and Saturday, June 29, 2024

ABOUT THE MUSICAL: Ti’mon is a dystopian musical about young Haitian boy, left orphaned in France for 5 years, now sent to America to be reunited with a woman who calls herself mother. With his new life frighteningly foreign, Ti’mon turns to his doll Eshleem to help him devise a plan to escape.


GEM Theatre on  333 Madison St.

Opening Night: Thursday, June 27, 2024

This season’s festival will kick off with an Opening Night Cabaret and fundraiser, featuring artists from across Detroit, as OTF highlights the contribution of African-American artists to Musical Theatre history. 

All in the Family!

Blackboard Plays Founder and Detroit Native, Garlia Cornelia Jones and Blackboard Plays Associate AD, Amber D. Gray are both part of OTF. Amber is the Associate AD and General Manager for OTF, along with the Senior Producer for GhostLight Creative Productions. Garlia is also the Associate AD for OTF, as well as Senior Creative Producer. The collaborations work both ways! John Sloan III is the Senior Producer and Director of Film Production for the Black Motherhood and Parenting New Play Festival BMPFest. It’s all in the family, and we are thrilled to support each other.