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‘Skeleton Crew’ scores

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Tuesday, January 19, 2016, 8:00 PM

Lynda Gravatt and Wendell B. Franklin in “Skeleton Crew.”Ahron R. Foster

Lynda Gravatt and Wendell B. Franklin in “Skeleton Crew.”

An ax hangs over everyone’s head in “Skeleton Crew,” a taut and vibrantly acted drama about disappearing jobs and dog-eat-dog survival.

Who can’t relate?

Writer Dominique Morisseau’s setting is 2008 Detroit, where workers at the last exporting auto plant brace for foreclosure.

Dez (Jason Dirden), street-smart and sweet-hearted, plots to open his own fix-it shop, while pregnant Shanita (Mikiya Mathis) holds tight to the pride she takes in her job. Reggie (Wendell B. Franklin), the foreman, grapples with his job and workers who trust him. Faye (an excellent Lynda Gravatt) deals with a number of demons.

One hurdle Faye and the others face is being made obsolete through automation. Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson deftly underscores this idea by having Adesola Osakalumi move with the grace and precision of a machine between scenes.

The story covers familiar territory. But vivid characters, keen-eared dialogue and inside insights into this working-class world add urgency as four people confront hard facts.

One truth is that the powerful UAW union can only do so much save jobs. Another is that everyone’s only out for themselves.

Or are they? Morisseau leaves room for a ray of light and hope.

The play is the last part in a three-play series about the Motor City that includes “Detroit ’67” and “Paradise Blue.”

Despite spelling out themes and relying on characters who talk about dreams too often, Morisseau’s final chapter is built to last.

jdziemianowicz@nydailynews.com

Tags:
broadway ,
skeleton crew ,
detroit
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