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  Detroit at Steppenwolf Theatre


Steppenwolf Theatre
1650 N. Halsted Chicago

Picture-perfect couple Ben and Mary fire up the grill to welcome the new neighbors who’ve moved into the long-empty house next door. Three barbeques later, the fledgling friendship veers out of control, shattering Ben and Mary’s carefully maintained semblance of success—with comic, unexpected consequences. Detroit is a fresh, off-beat look at what happens when we dare to open ourselves up to something new.

Thru - Nov 7, 2010

Price: $20-$70

Stage: Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre

Show Type: Comedy/Drama

Box Office: 312-335-1650

Running Time: 1hr 40min: no intermission

Steppenwolf Theatre Seating Charts

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  Detroit Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"..But D'Amour has penned a very provocative snapshot of the perilous moment, as it plays out in two vividly realized backyards in a "first ring" Detroit suburb. And that sense of dislocation is exquisitely embodied in the work of Laurie Metcalf, an actress who long has understood the precarious dreams of the lower middle class. Her blistering performance here has the incision of a laser, creating a character who knows that everything is going away and who tries to figure out what that might mean."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...The play is full of physical shtick of the sort not seen on a Steppenwolf stage since the early 1980s. But under the zesty direction of Austin Pendleton, the four terrific principal actors give everything they've got, and more, with Robert Breuler arriving at the last minute to deliver the elegiac epilogue meant to serve as a soothing balm."
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Hedy Weiss

Windy City Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...The real stars of the show, however, are Kevin Depinet's scenic design, reflecting the subculture where a backyard hibachi ranks above a second bath towel in consumer-ethic importance, and Josh Schmidt's incidental score, which marches us out to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" (with Broadway In Chicago's Rock of Ages, that's twice in one week)."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Copley News Service - Recommended

"...The 95-minute play consists of a sequence of scenes that take place in the connecting back yards of both houses. In the first scene Mary and Ben are hosting their new neighbors in a patio barbeque. As the play moves along, the action often turns farcical in its humor, though there are moments of soul bearing and not so subtle sexual byplay."

Dan Zeff

Centerstage - Recommended

"..Tackling issues like substance abuse and alienation without a hint of cliche, Detroit snaps, crackles and pops with realism. Led by Laurie Metcalf in a sizzling performance, the cast of five characters presents a living, breathing encapsulation of the present hyper-technological day. Fifty years from now, this play will still evoke what it’s like to live in a safe and stifling suburban house, communicating with computer screens instead of other people."

Marla Seidell

Chicago Stage Review - Somewhat Recommended

"...The curtain call elicits genuine thanks from the audience to the incredible cast for making the best of this asinine situation but we are left with a deer-caught-in-the-dim-headlights of a theater company that’s script choices normally shine like a super nova, or at least a roaring campfire. Given the extraordinary cast, direction and design aspects of this production, the substandard script of Detroit shines like a votive candle in the blazing sun. Still the chance to see Laurie Metcalf deliver an outstanding performance in the midst of an outstanding ensemble makes Detroit well worth your time."
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Venus Zarris

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...For the most part, the tension ratchets up at a quirky but believably incremental rate. But a sudden out-of-control party scene, where the real truth tellin’ begins, asks us to take a huge leap. Luckily, we have first-rate Steppenwolf ensemble members to lead us. Anderson, Barford and Robert Breuler are all strong, but it’s Arrington and Metcalf who bring remarkable specificity and sympathy to their scenes with the men and, especially, with each other."
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Kris Vire

ChicagoCritic - Somewhat Recommended

"...This upsetting play finds tedious black comedic elements blended with the underlying tension whose bases is never fully explained. The long-winded monologues grew tiresome by the third one. Also, the early fits of extreme rage mounted by Laurie Metcalf’s Mary came out of nowhere.  It seems that each of these wacky characters have a phobia concerning the unknown.  All four are desperate to reveal their true selves to others.  The manic, over-the-top performances, especially by Laurie Metcalf and Kate Arrington were hard to take. The sheer crudeness that found Metcalf vomiting on the stage and her penchant to sit with her legs apart while wearing a dress so that her panties showed was tasteless. This off-beat show had a mixed reaction from the audience – about a third laughed throughout  and most, like me, sat with our mouths open wondering why Steppenwolf Theatre would mount such a  disgusting play?"
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Not Recommended

"...Taking the worst cue from the hysterical dialogue, director Pendleton has instructed his four neighbors to scream hysterically and fuck the motivation.  They dance like drunken dervishes.  They run around like kids on steroids.  They describe their wacky dreams as if they were self-fulfilling prophecies.  They howl out their losses to the stars and rage that somehow that’s not enough to fix them.  If an audience could make citizen arrests and fill out commitment papers, this entire cast could get the institutional help they deserve."

Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"...       Steppenwolf  Theatre has kicked off their season with a new play written by Lisa D’Amour that looks at how the inner person reacts to the complex world we live in. The title of the play is “Detroit”, but it really could have taken place in any of many local suburbs just as easily. The action takes place in a tract housing development as we see two homes and get to meet the inhabitants of them. I must tell you that the set  by Kevin Depinet is as realistic as I have ever seen on the stage at Steppenwolf. It truly appears that we are looking over the fence into the backyards of the two couples involved in the story. Mary and Ben (Laurie Metcalf and Ian Barford) have been in their home for many years and are entertaining their new neighbors, Sharon and Kenny (Kate Arrington and Kevin Anderson) with a bar-b-que. Little by little we learn more about these characters. Mary has a job and Ben has been laid off and is working on starting a new business through the Internet. Sharon and Kenny have just come out of a rehab program and have jobs and this house which they are renting from a relative. While there is an age difference, it all seems natural and real. Watching these four actors work is a treat and young actors can learn a great deal from doing so."

Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theater Beat - Somewhat Recommended

"...Steppenwolf Theatre’s Detroit is an example of a production with great direction and  top-drawer performances. It is also, unfortunately, a play defined by four characters in search of a plot. The less said about the fifth member of the cast – whose rambling, tacked-on epilogue is one sorry excuse for an ending – the better."

Catey Sullivan

  Detroit Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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