Two native Kansas City playwrights invite families to attend the premiere of their new play “Built By Blood,” on Sun. Feb. 26, at The Paseo Baptist Church, 2501 Paseo Blvd., starting at 4 p.m.

Comfy Stennis, writer, producer, stylist, and Dommini Guein, director/writer and owner of Artistic Domain, both had the same vision and concept for their play “Built By Blood,” which is to give background history of Kansas City and showcase local talent. 

“We wanted to showcase current-day artists in the city that are doing great things as well as give a little background history, because sometimes minorities in general feel like they’ve lost their way,” Stennis said.

Actor and model Renauld Shelton II will play Jeremiah, the play’s main character, who starts the play by running away from slavery into the present-day. While navigating through different areas of Kansas City with a man who finds him, Jeremiah eventually discovers a family who can guide him to his new life. Also, from the people he’s introduced to, he learns how art is a form of therapy. 

At first, Jeremiah is timid, but he eventually warms up and becomes  fascinated with learning the history of his family and how KC was constructed. In the end, Jeremiah explains his journey and the experience of slavery.

“Watching Jeremiah go through character development onstage is the light that the audience gets from traveling with him through each of the family members in the play,” Guein said.

The cast of about 30 includes the play’s producers Pastor LaRon Thompson and Paseo Baptist Church First Lady Kaliesha Walker-Thompson. All cast members will be styled by local designers, like Material Opulence, a streetwear brand, that will style some of the men in the play.

Musical performances will be live during the play, including R&B singer Zee Underscore, Gospel singer Prince J, Hypocrace and Mankind, with spoken-word artist and singer Ayesha Mahmud.

Both writers are also first-time playwrights. However, their goal is to perform the play throughout Missouri. 

Stennis is inspired by Tyler Perry’s and Shonda Rhimes’ success, and says the cast members are more than just actors, they are individuals who have their own businesses. 

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Simone Garza

Simone Garza was a reporter in our Kansas City office. In addition to general reporting on Kansas City’s African-American community, she reports on economic inclusion for the African American community....