In its New York City premiere, the 2011 Pulitzer Prize finalist play by Lisa D’Amour, ” Detroit,” will kick off the Playwrights Horizons Mainstage 2012-2013 season. Previews for the play started August 24, and opening night is scheduled for September 18 — the limited engagement will run through October 7 at the Mainstage theatre. Following “Detroit” will be “The Whale” by Samuel D. Hunter, “The Great God Pan” by Amy Herzog, “The Flick” by Annie Baker, “The Call” by Tanya Barfield, and “Far from Heaven” by Richard Greenberg.
Characterized by the show’s producers as an “ecstatic, dangerous new comedy,” the show, which takes place in a suburb of the big city, “exposes the nerves that live just under the surface of American life today.” The story centers on a couple who invite their new neighbors over for a barbeque and things get a bit out of hand. According to the Playwrights Horizons’ website, “Detroit” has previously been described by the New York Times as “powerful and funny.” Isherwood said the show “speaks to the fractious, frightened American moment more perceptively than any play I’ve seen on a New York stage.”
In 2010, “Detroit” made its world premiere, starring Laurie Metcalf, at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, IL. The premiere was directed by Austin Pendleton in Chicago, who is currently directing the London West End production at the Royal National Theatre that opened in early 2012. In a review of the current London production, Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail UK said, “This play pumps out an old-fashioned message about aspiration, communal values — the big society, you might almost call it.”
Plans were in the works for a fall 2011 Broadway run with Steppenwolf producing, but the plans fell through. The show was to star Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and Debbie Bisno. In December of 2011 the Playwrights Horizons announced they would produce the show Off-Broadway the next year.
Under the direction of Obie Award-winner Anne Kauffman, the upcoming production will star John Cullum, Darren Pettie, Sarah Sokolovik, Amy Ryan, and David Schwimmer. Schwimmer made his Broadway debut in “The Caine Mutiny Court Material” in 2006, but is most widely known for his role as “Ross” in NBC’s hit TV show Friends, for which he received an Emmy nomination. This production will be his first return to the New York stage since “Caine Mutiny.” Schwimmer also directed a production of “Fault Lines” at the Cherry Lane Theatre in 2008.
Playwrights Horizons is a non-profit organization with Tim Sanford as Artistic Director and Leslie Marcus as managing director. The PH is “known for cradling writers and new works,” according to Playbill.com. Most of this season’s playwrights are having their shows premiered for the first time, and many are Obie Award or Tony Award winners.
In addition to her Obie Award, playwright D’Amour has also won the 2011 Steinberg Playwrights Award for “Detroit.” D’Amour not only writes plays for well-known theatres, but works with artists to create works that are typically presented in non-traditional sites. She is also a visiting lecturer at Brown University.
For more information about “Detroit” visit PlaywrightsHorizons.org.