Sometimes, you'll hear something called a "Detroit gem." It's sort of a loaded phrase. Lots of other cities have all their gems right in the front window; in Detroit, you might have to go looking through some of the less-traveled aisles to find those "Detroit" gems.
But that's OK. That's what makes the experience of finding them so special, so rewarding. You'll journey deep into the neighborhoods and find that somebody's dream has grown and prospered into an institution, whether it's a restaurant, gallery, art project, or garden. That moment of surprise, when you realize you've found one of those special treasures, so far off the beaten path, is truly a "Detroit gem" moment.
And when it comes to Detroit gems, nothing furnished a finer example than the Detroit Repertory Theatre, tucked away along a stretch of Woodrow Wilson on Detroit's west side. It's Michigan's longest running, nonprofit, professional theater, and for decades the stage has hosted local and national premieres, featuring a cast of professional actors, with an emphasis on social issues and color-blind casting. Visitors entering from the lit and guarded parking lot will find a stylish bar and lounge, and performances that begin promptly as scheduled.
Of course, just because the content is socially and politically relevant doesn't mean you'll find nothing but dry, serious stagecraft. In fact, "the Rep" often mounts a few comedic productions each season. The world premiere show that opens today is one of them. It's called Herb the Green Knight, and the story revolves around Herb, who discovers climate change is threatening the production of his beloved maple syrup, leading him to institute personal energy reductions that all but drive his family up the wall.
Curious to see the show? It runs from Nov. 5 to Dec. 27, at 8:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 3 and 8:30 p.m. Saturdays, at at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays; $17 advance, $20 at door, at 13103 Woodrow Wilson, Detroit; 313-868-1347; detroitreptheatre.com.