We Want the Funk, a rustbelt lullaby on the one!

Event Date: 

Thursday, May 19, 2016 to Friday, May 27, 2016

Event Date Details: 

Event Location: 

  • Hatlen Theater

a play by Idris Goodwin, directed by Risa Brainin

About the Play

It’s the early 1970s and the fourth largest auto company in the Midwest just laid off more than half its workers. Chuck is one of them, but he’s not worried. Chuck is convinced that “the funk” will bring prosperity. Only thing, Chuck can’t play no instrument. But somewhere in this sea of the recently unemployed and rejected—those morphine addicted Vietnam vets---those ex militants turned public servants—gear heads, burnouts, labor activists, Motown woulda coulda beens, and hustlers---somewhere in all that is Chuck’s band. This psychedelic rhythmic verse drama follows one ordinary man’s pursuit of a new working class frontier.

About the Playwright

headshot of playwright Idris GoodwinIDRIS GOODWIN is a playwright, rapper and essayist. His plays include How We Got On, Remix 38 (Actors Theater of Louisville); And in this corner: Cassius Clay (StageOne Family Theater), This is Modern Art (Steppenwolf), Blackademics (Crowded Fire). Goodwin is one of the six playwrights featured in Hands Up, an anthology commissioned by The New Black Fest. Hands Up is being presented across the country. Upcoming plays include Bars and Measures (B Street Theatre) and The Realness (Merrimack Rep). He is the recipient of InterAct Theater’s 20/20 Commission Award. Goodwin has been writer in residence at Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor Program, The Lark Center, The Kennedy Center and New Harmony Project. An accomplished hip hop and spoken word artist, he’s been featured on HBO, Sesame Street and Discovery Channel. He the author of the pushcart nominated essay collection These Are The Breaks (Write Bloody, 2011). His latest album is Rhyming While Black. Idris teaches performance writing and Hip Hop aesthetics at Colorado College. (Photo Credit: Mercedes Zapata)

Production Team

  • Written by Idris Goodwin
  • Director: Risa Brainin
  • Scenic Designer: Shaun Motley
  • Costume Designer: Devon Painter
  • Lighting Designer: Michael Klaers
  • Composer/Sound Designer: Randy Tico
  • Choreographer: Christina McCarthy
  • Dramaturg: Liz Engelman
  • Musical Director: Jon Nathan
  • Associate Dramaturgs: Jaime Gray, Jihye Kim
  • Assistant Directors: Miriam Dance, Sian Harden
  • Assistant Costume Designer: Maddison Carroll
  • Assistant Scenic Designer: Jia Gu
  • Music Consultant: Alex Blue
  • Stage Manager: KC Buller


  • Jeff Mills
  • Jenna Scanlon
  • Joré Aaron-Broughton
  • Luis Gomez
  • Charles Grant
  • Alexander Hudson
  • Tonea Lolin
  • Maddie Martin
  • Peerada Meemalayath
  • Truly Polite
  • Tyler Reinhold
  • Rigoberto Sanchez
  • Kody Siemensma
  • Andre Taylor
  • Chelsea Williams
  • Verenice Zuniga


To view a complete gallery of photos from We Want the Funk and those for our other LAUNCH PAD Preview Productions please visit the show's album on our Facebook page!

Photo by David Bazemore
Photo by David Bazemore
Photo by David Bazemore
Photo by David Bazemore
Photo by David Bazemore
Photo by David Bazemore