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Michael Bolton's Detroit documentary cheered at Redford Theatre

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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DETROIT -- Michael Bolton likes to call his new documentary “a love letter to Detroit.”

On Tuesday night, May 15, the city showed its love to Bolton.

While the rest of the country was seeing “Michael Bolton Presents American Dream: Detroit” via a theatrical simulcast to more than 45 theaters, the multi-million selling singer and his manager and co-director Christina Kline screened the film at the city’s Redford Theatre for a sold-out and enthusiastic crowd of 1,600 -- including film participants such as Motown legend Martha Reeves, Rock Ventures’ Bruce Schwartz, media personality Mitch Albom and Slow Roll founder Jason Hall.

“I can’t imagine being anywhere else for this premiere,” a clearly emotional Bolton, who spent five years working on the project, told the crowd before the screening. “The energy is greatly appreciated...I walked into this room, and it was amazing.”

That energy held up throughout the 90-minute film as the Redford audience cheered often, and loudly, for everything from an “I (heart) Detroit” T-shirt to declarations about the city’s comeback from a 2013 bankruptcy by various interview subjects in the film. As the end credits rolled, and Bolton, wearing a Detroit T-shirt under his black sport coat, teared up during the ovation, one man yelled out, “Thank you, Michael Bolton!,” drawing another long round of applause.

“It was overdue,” Bolton, 65 -- and celebrating his 50th year in professional show business -- said after the film. “I didn’t realize it was going to take this many years to edit and finish. This is a love letter to all the great things and people of Detroit.”

Reeves gave “American Dream: Detroit,” her thumbs-up afterwards as well, noting that, “I think it’s fantastic. I hope it’s shown all over the world.” Rock Ventures’ Schwartz added that, “I thought this was an amazing night. We were so grateful that Michael Bolton has put us on the national and international stage. He didn’t have to do this, and we love him for it.”

Slow Roll’s Hall, meanwhile, came with his mother, who he said began crying with joy during his time on screen. “I’ve never had a prouder moment,” he noted.

The night also included performances by local musical artists Stephie James, Jena Irene Asiutto and the duo Adventures With Vultures.

Reeves’ wish for the film to receive wider circulation will come true, according to Kline. By fall it should be on streaming services, and she said they’re also in discussions with free TV networks about both the movie and also an “American Dream” that will go into greater depth about some of the endeavors detailed in the film. “Out Of The Ashes,” a song Bolton wrote especially for the movie, will likely be released as a single, according to Kline, and there will also be subsequent “American Dream” documentaries about other cities.

And Bolton held out the possibility for a sequel to chronicle more about Detroit’s renaissance.

“We haven’t done all this work just to disappear,” he told the Redford crowd. “The next movie will take a lot of time, but we’ve got a lot of footage. I want to see the great success of the city continue...It’s going to be one of the greatest comeback stories in the history of this country.”

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