DBusiness Daily Update: Detroit Public Theatre Opens New Home with ‘Mud Row,’ and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
The Detroit Public Theatre will open its new building with the play “Mud Row” by Detroit playwright Dominique Morisseau. // Courtesy of the Detroit Public Theatre
The Detroit Public Theatre will open its new building with the play “Mud Row” by Detroit playwright Dominique Morisseau. // Courtesy of the Detroit Public Theatre

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Detroit Public Theatre Opens New Home with ‘Mud Row’

The Detroit Public Theatre will open its new building (3960 3rd St. at Selden) with the play “Mud Row” by Detroit playwright Dominique Morisseau Sept. 21-Oct. 30.

Morisseau is a multiple TONY Award-nominated, MacArthur Genius Award-winning writer who also serves as Detroit Public Theater’s executive artistic producer.

“Dominique Morrisseau is one of our nation’s greatest playwrights, and a member of the artistic leadership team at DPT,” says Courtney Burkett, producing artistic director of Detroit Public Theatre. “It is an honor to produce Dominique’s work in her beloved hometown, and to be able to share her work with Detroit audiences, whose stories are reflected on our stage. We are thrilled to open the new home of Detroit Public Theatre with the Michigan premier of ‘Mud Row.’”

Directed by Lamar Perry, “Mud Row” weaves a “compelling and hopeful story of sisterhood, love, forgiveness and shared heritage” when two high-spirited sisters learn that one of them inherits their grandmother’s house. The cast features local and national talent, with several members of the cast returning home to Detroit following national theatre debuts.

“Mud Row” is the first production in the renovated Detroit Public Theatre, an old garage and English muffin factory built in 1919 that has been converted into a 7,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art performing arts hub.

The 200-plus-seat flexible black box theatre allows for various configurations of the seating and staging.  That’s an increase of 100 seats from where the organization previously staged productions inside the Max M. Fisher Music Center, home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.  A new lobby and bar for guests, a rehearsal space for actors, and state of the art equipment fill out the remaining floor plan.

“In addition to housing our work, this building will support a thriving Detroit theatre community where we can provide residencies so other companies and artists have a place to create and present their work,” says Sarah Winkler, producing artistic director at DPT.

For more information, subscriptions, or tickets visit detroitpublictheatre.org or call 313-974-7918.

Tenneco’s Monroe Brand Expands Product Range to Include Quick-Strut Assemblies and More

The Monroe brand of Southfield’s Tenneco Inc. has expanded its product portfolio to include new Monroe Quick-Strut assemblies, and OESpectrum and Magnum shocks and struts. These new part numbers provide coverage for nearly 2 million vehicles in operation (VIO) in the United States and Canada.

New for more than 570,000 VIO, Monroe Quick-Strut assemblies contain application-specific coil springs, constructed of high-quality SAE, U.S.-grade steel for durability, and also are up to two times stronger than some competitors. Each Quick-Strut assembly also features strut rods engineered to bend up to 15mm with no cracking or fracturing, which helps with superior ride handling and control in the event of a major impact.

“At Monroe, we are always expanding our product offerings to help our customers stay on top of our new service category opportunities so that they can provide the best choices for their own customers,” says Joe Robinson, brand director at Monroe. “We make it a point to develop products that are not only durable, but also easy-to-install for technicians, making our products the easy choice.”

These vehicle-specific designs are durability-tested to meet or exceed OE structural quality standards and durability requirements. Each Quick-Strut assembly is designed for easy installation; each is fit-checked to ensure OE-style fit with mounting locations for easy, bolt-on installation.

Monroe OESpectrum shocks and struts come equipped with a PTFE-banded piston to provide consistent sealing between the piston and pressure tube, offering better control under most driving conditions. These shocks and struts offer consistent performance through its full displaced valving, tuned specifically to each vehicle, that adjusts to changes in road conditions. Monroe OESpectrum shocks and struts also offer reduced noise, vibration, and harshness through its vehicle-specific technology to deliver improved control and isolation of impact-related noise and vibration under most driving conditions.

Monroe OESpectrum premium struts are now available for the 2015-2014 Honda Civic EX-L Sedan (part #73120 (front right) and #73121 (front left)); and the 2022-2019 Ram 1500 4WD (new body style) (#73117, front). Monroe OESpectrum passenger car shocks are now also available for the 2022-2019 Nissan Altima FWD (#5565).

Designed to meet the demands of today’s hardworking, high-mileage and severe use commercial vehicles, the Monroe Magnum product line features gas-charged, large-bore shock absorbers. They provide the consistent control necessary for the demanding conditions and suspension movement of Class 6-8 trucks and school buses. Magnum shocks are new this month for the 2022-2017 International LT625, 2020-2017 International LoneStar, 2020-2017 International ProStar, and 2019-2018 International RH613 (#65549, rear).

For more information, visit Monroe.com.

Duolingo Language App Acquires Detroit’s Gunner Studio

Duolingo Inc., the Pittsburgh-based mobile learning platform has completed the acquisition of Gunner, a design and animation studio based in Detroit. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We have been fortunate to collaborate with so many great brands as a studio, but over the last couple of years Duolingo has stolen our hearts,” says Ian Sigmon, co-founder of Gunner. “Our artists pour so much care into every project, so it feels right to be at a company that invests in art, and has a mission that we believe in.”

Duolingo uses animation in its learning apps to drive engagement, keep learners motivated, and build its globally recognized brand.

“We know that the hardest thing about learning a language, or any new subject, is staying motivated and that’s why we make Duolingo fun,” says Luis von Ahn, co-founder and CEO of Duolingo. “Art and animation are foundational to the Duolingo brand, and we use them to help make Duolingo a beloved daily habit in millions of learners’ lives.”

Gunner has been an animation and design partner of Duolingo since 2020 and produces art and animations that show up in Duolingo’s flagship language app and early childhood literacy app, Duolingo ABC. The studio also produces elements of Duolingo’s brand marketing campaigns. The acquisition of Gunner will add fifteen new world-class designers, illustrators, and animators to Duolingo’s existing design teams.

“Gunner is a world-class illustration and animation studio that we’ve worked with for years, and they know our brand well,” says Bob Meese, chief business officer of Duolingo. “Animation brings life to Duo, our iconic brand mascot, and to our cast of characters. It helps make our products great, and our characters memorable. We love Gunner and are thrilled to welcome their whole team to Duolingo.”

Buddy’s Pizza Launches New All-corner Eight-square Pizza

Buddy’s Pizza is launching an All-Corner eight-square pizza so everyone can enjoy a slice of the coveted caramelized corner.

With hand-crafted dough, Wisconsin brick cheese and stripes of classic sauce on top, this square style of pizza introduced the world to a brand-new shape of flavor. The crisp, cheesy edges of Buddy’s Pizza soon became famous and unlike other pizza crusts readily discarded, the Detroit-Style corner crust is sought after and fought over.

“Buddy’s Pizza is Michigan’s neighborhood pizzeria, so we always consider our loyal customers when creating new menu items,” says Wes Pikula, chief brand officer at Buddy’s. “Our guests have passionately professed their love for the corner slices since the start of Buddy’s. We’re excited to add the All-Corner 8-square to our menu, bringing peace to our pizza lovers and hopefully defusing a few family spats over who gets the corner piece!”

The new All-Corner eight-square pizza is the same delicious recipe customers all know and love but enhanced for Buddy’s corner lovers, with eight corner pieces making up the entire Detroit-Style dish. The Buddy’s Pizza All-Corner eight-square pizza will cost $22.99 with an additional $2 per topping and is available at all Buddy’s Pizza locations for a limited time.

SME Education Foundation Supports SME PRIME Schools with Sustainability Grants

The SME Education Foundation in Southfield has recognized 16 SME PRIME schools that excel at providing STEM/CTE manufacturing knowledge and skills to students by awarding the schools sustaining financial support to help underwrite materials and operating costs.

Supported and informed by private industry, SME PRIME (Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education) builds cost-effective and tailored manufacturing/engineering programs in high schools across the country, providing equipment, curriculum, professional development, scholarships, and manufacturing-focused extra-curricular activities to students and teachers. Nationwide, the SME Education Foundation provides manufacturing and engineering education to thousands of students at more than 81 schools in 22 states.

“Our SME PRIME schools program partners with schools and manufacturers in communities across the United States to connect high-school-age students with the manufacturing education they’ll need to secure a satisfying career in manufacturing upon graduation,” says Rob Luce, vice president of the SME Education Foundation. “These sustaining funds will help ensure that the SME PRIME programs that have launched in these schools have the operating funds that they need going forward for materials, tools, and equipment to ensure the momentum they need to be successful.”

Luce said the PRIME schools receiving these grants operate programs developed in years past, utilizing donations previously raised by the Foundation. The sustainability awards are additional dollars to help the schools maintain their programs going forward after the initial development funding was invested.

“It’s part of our emphasis on ‘partnership,’ which is the ‘P’ in the PRIME acronym,” he says. “We’re looking to maintain long-term relationships with these schools — to provide long-term value — so that these programs continue feeding the manufacturing talent pipeline.”

Michigan schools receiving SME PRIME sustainability awards for 2022 were:

  • Grand Haven High School
  • Whitehall High School
  • Romeo High School

“Students in the SME PRIME program today are preparing to be the advanced manufacturing leaders of tomorrow,” Luce says. “We’re thrilled to provide support to these maturing programs and the educators and students who participate in them.”

Suburban Collection to Drive Away Hunger with Gleaners Community Food Bank

To help families in need in southeast Michigan put food on the table this fall, The Suburban Collection in Troy is embarking on its third annual Drive Away Hunger fundraising campaign, in partnership with Gleaners Community Food Bank.

The goal is to engage staff and the community to raise funds for 600,000 meals for Gleaners by the end of 2022.

“Gleaners has been a reliable lifeline for so many families in our communities who have been facing a really difficult time,” says Ron MacEachern, multi-store general manager for The Suburban Collection. “Across The Suburban Collection, our team members are passionate and determined to support Gleaners’ efforts throughout our community to make sure local families know where their next meals are coming from.”

The Suburban Collection’s leadership and 2,500 team members across its southeast Michigan locations are working together to reach the 600,000-meal goal. Customers and community members are encouraged to donate funds in-store or participate in The Suburban Collection’s virtual food drive competition page through Gleaners here.

Online, donors can view all of Suburban’s fundraising teams across 30 stores and support the team of their choice with a financial contribution, or by “checking out” food items during a virtual shopping cart experience. Every dollar donated provides six meals.

“The effects of inflation on groceries and other basic needs are hurting our neighbors who are struggling to make ends meet and making tough choices about what they can afford,” says Gerry Brisson, president and CEO of Gleaners. “Support for The Suburban Collection’s Drive Away Hunger campaign will help provide nourishing food to children, families, seniors, and others in our communities who need it most. When we work together to solve hunger, everyone wins.”

As part of the Drive Away Hunger campaign, The Suburban Collection will allocate funds raised by its Ann Arbor locations to Food Gatherers, the primary food bank serving Washtenaw County communities.

New Art Exhibition ‘Continuum’ Opens at Nicole Tamer Art in the David Whitney Building

Nicole Tamer Art in the David Whitney Building in downtown Detroit has opened the curtains to its newest art exhibition “Continuum,” featuring India Solomon and Matthew Giffin.

Open to the public daily from 7 a.m.-10 p.m., “’Continuum’ presents a dynamic series of paintings spanning Matthew and India’s respective careers,” says Nicole George, founder and curator of Nicole Tamer Art. “Through these works we can see the full spectrum of each artists’ body of work — no matter where they are in their career continuum, they return to a new beginning filled with the promise of presence and growth.”

The show also will include works of art for sale by young Detroit artists, aged 10-24, at the very onset of the artistic continuum. The pieces in this collection were created during an art workshop led by Solomon with the youth of Developing Despite Distance, a nonprofit that supports young men of color that are currently impacted by parental incarceration.

Proceeds from the sales of these pieces will go directly to the young men who created them.

The goal of Developing Despite Distance is to strengthen the parent-child relationship. Through group counseling, they empower young men to identify their emotions and create healthy coping strategies, as well as help to reduce the stigma associated with parental incarceration.

An artist reception for ‘Continuum’ will take place from 6-9 p.m. No reservation is required and all are welcome. For more information, visit here.