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Skeleton Crew

From 25 critic and 139 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Relevant, Great writing, Thought-provoking

About the show

After a successful run earlier this year, Atlantic Theater Company brings back Dominique Morisseau’s hit play about four Detroit auto workers during the 2008 recession for an encore run. More…

'Skeleton Crew' is a timely and intimate look at the lives of four Detroit auto workers as they struggle through an uncertain future. In this final installment of Morisseau’s Detroit trilogy, a makeshift family of workers at the last exporting auto plant in the city navigate the possibility of foreclosure. Power dynamics shift, and the workers are pushed to the limits of survival. When the line between blue collar and white collar gets blurred, how far over the divider are they willing to step? Following its critically acclaimed run at Atlantic Stage 2, the show returns with its original cast for a six-week engagement at Atlantic’s Linda Gross Theater.

Reflections in the Light

"An engrossing, pertinent script, well acted and directed. Despite a rather depressing atmosphere, made heavy by the threat of unemployment, Morrisseau skillfully weaves humor, friendship and forgiveness into the story...The action on stage may depict issues specific to Detroit's auto industry, but the playwright poignantly reminds us that anyone's life can change in the blink of an eye and the reality is that these characters could be any one of us." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"The financial perils and uncertainty for workers at the mercy of industry pressures are movingly depicted in the earthy 'Skeleton Crew,' tautly written by Dominique Morisseau and briskly directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson...By the conclusion, in-depth acquaintance with the characters has been achieved and the playwright, skilled actors and a knowledgeable director have succeeded in shining a spotlight on a vulnerable slice of America." Full Review

NY Theatre Guide

for a previous production "Morrisseau’s dialogue and weaving of plot reveals, against the backdrop of imminent adversity, is breathtaking and heart wrenching...This is a masterpiece of salient and stirring dialogue...The instantaneous audience ovation expressed the overwhelming appreciation of a piece that combines astounding writing, visionary direction and truthful performances in an extremely necessary production. Warning: It has the power to awaken activist blood in you." Full Review

Magical MissTari Tour

for a previous production "GO SEE THIS PLAY. It isn't often that I get to see a play about blue-collar workers, about people I know and grew up with, so I'll always stand up for one. Also, this play has such beautifully detailed writing and characterizations and acting. It's truly so well done." Full Review

Act Three - The Reviews

for a previous production "What might be the most compelling and culturally relevant play of the season...This ensemble was as tight, on-point, and incredibly credible...This riveting piece is most assuredly best performed in an intimate black box theater where emotions are high and contained." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

for a previous production "Each of the four characters feels the pressure even as Morisseau skillfully weaves them into a web of friendships, dependencies, and rivalries...It's strong stuff, forcefully delivered in Ruben Santiago-Hudson's crackling production, which features four exceptionally fine performances...It reaches a gripping resolution when one of the characters makes an enormous sacrifice; it may only be then that one realizes how well-constructed 'Skeleton Crew' is." Full Review

The New York Times

for a previous production "Warm-blooded, astute and beautifully acted four-character drama...It is, in many ways, an old-fashioned play: naturalistic, tightly structured and filled with self-defining monologues of vernacular lyricism...It is, in other words, a deeply moral and deeply American play, with a loving compassion for those trapped in a system that makes sins, spiritual or societal, and self-betrayal almost inevitable." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

for a previous production "It’s easy to discern echoes of Wilson in 'Skeleton Crew.' Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson adroitly brings out Morisseau’s beautiful rhythms and the comic tones in the bickering among the characters. As in Wilson, the often poetic language is rich but not precious, spoken by down-to-earth characters who embody the comedy and the tragedy of everyday lives. The cast could not be better." Full Review

New York Post

for a previous production "'Skeleton Crew,' set in the dingy break room of a Detroit auto-parts factory, looks modest but is deeply affecting...Dominique Morisseau’s drama effectively weaves together all their stories. Flawed as her people are, we root for them — especially since the cast is absolutely terrific. Don’t miss this intimate gem." Full Review


for a previous production "Morisseau creates characters who don't merely speak, they sing with the vernacular of their community. Rarely has dialogue ever felt so much like eavesdropping on an actual conversation...As for the company, they are collectively impeccable." Full Review

American Theater Web

for a previous production "The play slowly and consistently goes to work on theatergoers' minds and hearts, and in the end, proves to be work that is both deeply moving and thought-provoking. Throughout, the cast delivers Morisseau's drama—and comedy—with aplomb." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

for a previous production "With Ruben Santiago-Hudson putting pedal to the metal with his sensitive yet powerful direction, Ms. Morisseau’s eight-cylinder play goes from zero to 60 in the blink of an eye, thanks to the high-octane artistry of Lynda Gravatt, Jason Dirden, Nikiya Mathis, and Wendell B. Franklin...When act one ended, I couldn’t help saying to my guest, 'Now that’s professional acting and direction!' It sure is professional writing...Despite its title, there’s plenty of meat on this play's bones." Full Review


for a previous production "An engrossing character study of types that add up to a vivid portrait of urban collapse…Morisseau's fluid and naturalistic dialogue and the strong work of director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and his fine ensemble add up to an edgy and engrossing drama that delivers a solid emotional impact." Full Review


for a previous production "There’s little wrong with 'Skeleton Crew,' that August Wilson couldn’t fix. Like Wilson, this playwright has heart, along with a sense of historical moments that define the lives of ordinary Americans. Her rough-edged dialogue even has a touch of the street poet. What’s missing in the work is a grasp of character-driven dramatic action — although that can still be acquired." Full Review

Time Out New York

for a previous production "Morisseau’s play is firmly based in the lives and evocative language of its four characters, whom Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s powerful production treats with August Wilson–ian respect. They’re messed-up but decent people, driven by forces that may or may not be beyond their control." Full Review

Bob's Theater Blog

for a previous production "The situations are involving and the dialogue is lively. Morisseau’s characters, brought to life by a superb cast, are easy to care about. At its best moments, it recalls August Wilson’s work. The play is greatly assisted by a first-rate production directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Michael Carnahan’s set creates a believable factory break room down to the smallest detail." Full Review


for a previous production "It’s far more than the topical relevance of the two-hour work that commands our attention, it’s Morriseau’s remarkable skill in crafting the interpersonal relationships among the four people that populate a factory break room...If Morriseau is going for a 10-play cycle about Detroit, count me in. She’s got my motor running." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

for a previous production "'Skeleton Crew' is a poignant and effective conclusion to Dominique Morisseau's Detroit trilogy thanks to its smart script and tremendous actors...Big-hearted and quietly moving...Morisseau's drama is a testament to the ordinary lives that shaped the city's mechanical golden age that must now cope with its hastening degradation. The way each of the four characters handle this shift—eeking out their lives through an assembly line's minute tasks—is where Skeleton Crew finds its greatest life." Full Review


for a previous production "Ms. Morisseau's storytelling isn't quite up to the poetic grandeur of August Wilson's epic Pittsburgh cycle. However, she has created four vivid, likeable characters and provided them with authentic dialogue and stories. She's blessed to have an excellent ensemble to bring those characters and their inner conflicts and interactions to life and deliver that dialogue with a natural ease." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

for a previous production "Morisseau calls out to a vital yet ghostly past that informs a challenging, uncertain present. Santiago-Hudson has perfectly crystallized this in his unforgivingly realistic staging...Morisseau finds a poetry in their trials, as well as a message for all those who struggle to establish themselves, from their inner being on out, in places where that's nearly impossible." Full Review

Front Row Center

for a previous production "Playwright Dominique Morisseau has a gift for telling her very big stories in her small details…Morisseau manages to make the overworked metaphor of the work family as real family—work…To be sure, Morisseau sings the song of Detroit—this is the third in her hometown trilogy—but, more, she is writing an original American story." Full Review

250 Word Reviews

for a previous production "The 'whodunit' dramatic tension keeps the play exciting—Morisseau keeps giving us reasons to love the people we most suspect...Although we first see these characters as snapshots, they grow into complex people we deeply invest in, and concordantly Morisseau invests us in the plight of the American autoworker." Full Review

The Huffington Post

for a previous production "Morisseau's play is unquestionably a strong, formidable work...Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson has crafted an excellent production that does it full justice, especially with a faultless cast...Without revealing the climax, I didn't care for some late show plot twists. It's hardly a happy ending, but 'Skeleton Crew' seems built for tragedy." Full Review


for a previous production "Morisseau writes good, natural-sounding dialogue that allows us to get fully engaged in the characters' evolving lives...The production's pace is greatly helped by Ruben Santiago-Hudson's dynamic direction. 'Skeleton Crew' is a very watchable play about ordinary people trying to get by in the world. What you take away from the theater is Gravatt's rich, uncompromising portrayal of one woman's determined spirit of independence." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

for a previous production "The premise goes from dubious to fabricated, but it allows for needed dramatic tension…Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s direction is smooth and unforced...As for the playwright, she creates a mood of tension that simmers throughout. The members of the ensemble are all strong, playing off and complementing each other with street-tinged grace...Skeleton Crew comes up short on details, but its hard-bitten heart ensures there’s genuine skin on its bones." Full Review

Devastating, Historical, Critical, Important

See it if you like timely drama that matters.

Don't see it if you're racist.

Absorbing, Relevant, Must see, Thought-provoking, Edgy

See it if you want to see a thought provoking play about workers who have to make no-win concessions while big business makes out well.

Don't see it if you don't care about workers.

Absorbing, Great acting, Wonderful character development, Timely

See it if You like well developed plays with social conscience. You are interested in corporate/labor struggles, how downsizing is killing America

Don't see it if You do not like to think at the theater.

Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you enjoy plays that deal with contemporary social and economic issues. The Broadway-bound Sweat pales in comparison to this production.

Don't see it if you are craving light and fluffy fare.

Resonant, Masterful, Must see, Great writing, Great acting

See it if You want to see people of color in strong non stereotyped roles

Don't see it if You are anti union

Also Set in Detroit in a plants part, involves the complicated nature of pe... Read more Read less

Relevant, Riveting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if You want to be exposed to people and situations very different than NYC theater goers.

Don't see it if You are a Trump supporter.

Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing, Resonant

See it if you love a great moral drama with a warm human soul about a community trying to keep each other afloat. Gorgeous, soulful performances

Don't see it if you prefer your dramas cold and cynical

Masterful, Intense, Riveting, Resonant, Great acting

See it if you want to see expert acting, masterful writing, exploring the pressures of poverty, labor relations, making something out of nothing

Don't see it if ... just see it.

Clever, Great acting, Edgy, Epic, Intense

See it if You like thought provoking drama and masterful acting and directing.

Don't see it if you have no soul.

Great acting, Great writing, Intense, Relevant, Riveting

See it if You like plays that end w a standing ovations. You like real life struggles&tough solutions plots, plays so intense you can hear a pin drop.

Don't see it if You like fluffy stories, benign topics, hate drama, tough reality situations, want to forget about life, and current events.

Great acting, Relevant, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Must see

See it if You want to see a play in which contemporary issues are explored in a thoughtful way in a great production with a great cast.

Don't see it if Can't think of a good reason not to see this fine show.

Great acting, Intelligent, Must see, Thought-provoking

See it if If you like a good drama with excellent actors.

Don't see it if You prefer comedies or musicals.

Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if you like art that will make you think and is written by one of the best writers of the 21st century.

Don't see it if N/A

Gripping and fine, Absorbing, Great acting, Riveting, Relevant

See it if You like beautifully rendered characters, you care about societal issues, you like realistic drama that unfolds carefully and true.

Don't see it if Uncomfortable with economic struggle, street dialect, topical story lines. Want fluff, easy answers. But this one's worth seeing, folks. GO.

Absorbing, Relevant, Resonant, Must see, Intelligent

See it if get a glimpse of factory workers who may be displaced & the very personal way it affects lives when companies fail. Truly a remarkable piece

Don't see it if no reason not to! I've not seen a standing ovation like this for a non-musical in a very long time!

Great acting, Great writing, Riveting, Relevant, Original

See it if You want to see another memorable play by #DominiqueMorisseau. Her writing is timeless fresh and original. The ensemble was casted perfectly

Don't see it if You're not a fan of small cast, work place dramas. Not interested in the drama surrounding the auto industry decline or black centered plays

Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a well written & acted play.

Don't see it if N/A

Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you appreciate good character development and an exploration of the financial crisis that is not trite.

Don't see it if you only like upbeat, entertaining theater

Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Resonant, Original

See it if tough lives of the working class

Don't see it if the above

Great acting, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if like new well written scripts, great acting, interesting plot and characters, great set

Don't see it if don't like dramas with some humor, don't like dramas without music

Phenomenal acting, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great writing, Tight

See it if you want to see a beautifully rendered production of a tight script with just incredible actors. Shades of August Wilson. Heady stuff.

Don't see it if you prefer to turn a blind eye to the struggle for basic survival that so many in the US face today; if race and class issues make you antsy

Thought-provoking, Intense, Great writing, Relevant, Relatable

See it if you're interested in an enjoyable and realistic view of working class America. Life isn't always smooth, and all endings aren't happy.

Don't see it if the survival impact of the "Great Recession" isn't something you're interested in -- and we're not talking about how your 401(k) faired...

Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if You enjoy great acting and superb dialogue

Don't see it if You don't enjoy great acting and a great ensemble cast

Absorbing, Ambitious, Original

See it if You are looking for new narratives for the NYC stage

Don't see it if If you can't watch a show that has an exact representation of yourself on stage.

Relevant, Intense, Absorbing, Entertaining, Thought-provoking

See it if You like topical character driven drama. Great acting and direction.

Don't see it if You're looking for light and fluffy. This show has something to say.

Cast & Creatives (12)