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Sunday, January 26, 2014

'Passing' (Feb 1-16 at the Charles H. Wright Museum)

Posted By on Sun, Jan 26, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Passing is a thought-provoking, poignant one-woman show (involving 10 characters), inspired by the true story of Minerva Roulhac and her remarkable decision NOT to “pass” for white. Touching the hearts of thousands of theatre goers, Passing started Off-Broadway, premiering to sold-out audiences and eventually touring to the Midwest and to the heart of the south.


Minerva was born in 1885 in Marianna, Florida. An educator and activist, she lived to be nearly 100. She bestowed future generations with her wisdom, eventually inspiring her great granddaughter, award-winning filmmaker and playwright Donna Harper.

Raised in a close-knit African-American community, Minerva was orphaned at a very young age. Because of her very light complexion, she was able to pass as a white woman throughout the peaking years of the Jim Crow era. Her brother, Jordan, however, was taken in by a different family and wound up taking a different path in life. The characters are brought to life by actress/singer Holly Smokovitz.

"Passing explores one woman’s beautiful and memorable struggle to find a family of her own."


PASSING [Excerpt 'Train'] from The Right Brothers on Vimeo.

Following each performance (running Saturdays and Sundays Feb. 1-16, at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History), an interactive audience discussion will be held, encouraging reflection upon what it means to be an American and an individual, particularly in the context of living in Detroit in the 21st century. 

 More information, including ticket info, at:

Find more from the play's main site,

Though the play is set in the segregated South, diverse communities can relate to Minerva’s journey. Our history and our present are filled with examples of people who changed their self-identity to stay alive

from Holocaust victims who “passed” as Christian to survive, to members of the LGBT community who have “passed” as heterosexual to avoid hateful attacks. Passing invites audiences to see beyond “black” and “white,” and places a magnifying glass on the spectrum of colors in-between.

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