Revision to 2012-2013 season, the Michigan premiere of “Detroit”

The Hilberry Theatre to Present Michigan Premiere of New Play, Detroit

See press release here.

DETROIT, MI – Southeast Michigan audiences will have the chance to see Lisa D’Amour’s new play, Detroit, before its worldwide release. In honor of its 50th anniversary season, Midtown Detroit’s Hilberry Theatre will host a premiere production in January 2013. D’Amour’s brutal, hilarious play makes its London premiere this summer at the National Theatre, and Playwright Horizons theatre is set to host the New York premiere in August.  Detroit audiences can catch the comedic Pulitzer-Prize finalist January 11 – April 15, 2013, playing in rotating repertory with the rest of the Hilberry season. Tickets are currently only available with the purchase of a season subscription.  Call the Hilberry Theatre Box Office at (313) 577-2972, visit us online at, or by visit the box office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock for more information. Detroit replaces the previously announced A Doctor in Spite of Himself by Molière, which will be postponed until next season.

In a first-ring suburb just outside a city that could be Detroit (or any other metropolitan city), Ben and Mary see sudden signs of life at the deserted house next door and invite their new neighbors Sharon and Kenny over for a barbecue. As the action unfolds, we learn that Sharon and Kenny met in rehab, neither is employed, and they don’t own a stick of furniture. The fledgling friendship soon veers out of control, shattering the fragile hold Ben and Mary have on their way of life — with unexpected comic consequences. Detroit is a fresh, off-beat look at the seductive moment when we dare to open ourselves up to something new.

Lisa D’Amour is a playwright and interdisciplinary artist whose works have been presented in New York and across the country. She has been commissioned to write two new plays for Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago over the next two years through support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She recently premiered Terrible Things, a dance-theater piece created with Katie Pearl and choreographer Emily Johnson, at PS122 in New York. Other recent projects include the site-specific works Swimming Cities of Switchback Seas (a performance for a fleet of seven handmade boats on the Hudson River) and Bird Eye Blue Print (created with Katie Pearl for a vacant office in the World Financial Center). She has received an Obie Award and the Alpert Award in the Arts for theatre in 2008. She is a 2011 Pulitzer-Prize and Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist for the play Detroit.

“Here is what’s exciting,” says director Lavinia Hart, “Lisa D’Amour is a living playwright; she’s won an Obie Award; she’s an interdisciplinary artist. She’s going to take us to the edge of what’s going on with playwrights of the here-and-now and how they reflect the world in which we live.” D’Amour chose the title of the play even though the play doesn’t necessarily have to be set in Detroit. “But the play is a Detroit story – we’re a city bereft of revenue, neighborhoods, opportunity. We live in a city of a dwindling work force, including firefighters and police officers. But Detroiters are survivors and their sense of humor is gritty and wry,” says Hart.

“Even the expression ‘that’s another Detroit story’ is usually accompanied with the laughter that comes of immediate recognition – personal knowledge of the pain and irony of a particular loss,” Hart continues. “So, we’ll revel in D’Amour’s title and find the ‘Detroit’ humor in the story. We’ll also honor the catastrophe that looms over the residents in that first circle of housing that embraces the parameters of our downtown.”  Hart says she is grateful for the opportunity to premiere Detroit “in a very hometown way.”

The historic Hilberry Theatre is known for its classic productions presented in rotating repertory. While the Hilberry also produces contemporary playwrights’ work that are destined to become classics, this production marks the most exciting premiere at the theatre since the co-production with the Jewish Ensemble Theatre (JET) for the U.S. professional premiere of Joanna Glass’ Palmer Park in the summer of 2010.  Palmer Park, a powerful play that addresses issues of integration, education and diversity was a huge success for both the JET and the Hilberry.


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