written and performed by
Liza Jessie Peterson
Directed by Talvin Wilks

at Detroit Public Theatre
February 8 - March 5
February 8 and 9th - Pick-your-price previews
February 10th - Opening Night

LaQuanda ‘Betsy’ Ross knows a lot about the New York State Penitentiary system. Her regular visits to loved ones in various upstate institutions have made her quite the expert and a self-proclaimed “Peculiar Patriot.” In-between neighborhood updates and gossip, Betsy educates herself and the audience on the systemic inequity within America’s prison complex system and its effect on those behind bars, as well as their family and friends. Written and performed by the incomparable Liza Jessie Peterson, THE PECULIAR PATRIOT was inspired by her comprehensive and extensive work in prisons, including on Riker’s Island. Peterson’s tour de force solo piece is an important, funny, and profound investigative look into America’s criminal justice system.

THE PECULIAR PATRIOT marks the first time Detroit Public Theatre and Shakespeare in Prison are directly connecting a DPT production with our signature community program—through the play itself and a post-show dialogue after every performance.

We are thrilled to offer system-impacted individuals and their loved ones tickets to a FREE performance on February 11.  A limited number of free and discounted tickets are available for those who’ve been impacted by the justice system for ALL performances of THE PECULIAR PATRIOT. For tickets, discount codes, and more information, email


THE PECULIAR PATRIOT premiered at The National Black Theatre, in Harlem.  Read what TIME OUT NEW YORK had to say about the production - 

"Forget fireworks, forget barbecues: The most country-loving, U.S.A.-honoring thing you can do... is to buy a ticket to THE PECULIAR PATRIOT ... The best way to truly care about a nation is to heal it, and Liza Jessie Peterson’s solo play about black love, female friendship and the perversions of state power is a gorgeous part of that work. It also happens to be a visual marvel and a masterful example of character creation—a sort of fireworks, after all."  

"In this rich, sweet, hilarious production, Peterson illuminates what life in the U.S. is like now that mass incarceration has so handily disenfranchised some and enriched others. She offers facts and figures, as you’d expect, but the takeaway is her astonishing warmth."

Tickets are on sale NOW!

DPT is delighted to offer Pick-Your-Price performances February 7 and 8 to make theatre accessible to everyone in our community. 

For tickets or more information about Detroit Public Theatre, visit or call (313) 974-7918.


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