Aurora Theatre Company Presents DETROIT, Now thru 7/19

Aurora Theatre Company closes its 23rd season with the Bay Area Premiere of Lisa D'Amour's (Anna Bella Eema, Airline Highway) wicked Obie-winning satire about our uncertain economic times, DETROIT. Josh Costello (Wittenberg) directs this explosive dark comedy, featuring Amy Resnick (Body Awareness, Collapse), Jeff Garrett, Luisa Frasconi, and Patrick Kelly Jones (Metamorphosis), that brilliantly captures our current economic moment. DETROIT plays tonight, June 19 through July 19 at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley. For tickets ($32-60) and information the public can call (510) 843-4822 or visit auroratheatre.org.

In a first-ring suburb just outside of an unnamed city, barely middle class Ben and Mary welcome Sharon and Kenny, who have just moved into the long empty house next door. The neighborly connection they find threatens Ben and Mary's notion of the values that have long kept them on the straight and narrow middle class path as it is revealed that Sharon and Kenny met at rehab, neither is employed, and they don't own a stick of furniture. As the foursome bonds over backyard barbecues and remembered dreams, the quintessential American backyard party turns dangerous and threatens to destroy more than their friendship.

Challenging assumptions about status, comfort, ambition, and community, DETROIT, called "A sharp X-ray of the embattled American psyche as well as a smart, tart critique of the country's fraying social fabric" by The New York Times, was a finalist for both the 2011 Pulitzer Prize and Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. The play premiered at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2010 and ran off Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in 2012. About DETROIT playwright Lisa D'Amour said, "I didn't set out thinking about how it was going to deal in a subconscious way with the economic anxiety in the country at that moment... I was in a moment in my own life-I remember my husband Brendan was unemployed and we were like figuring out how to get him 200 dollar a week unemployment checks. We were kind of scraping by and I feel like everyone that I knew was in that same situation." About the title of the play she explained that there is "something about the way the name of that city vibrates in the American imagination...I just think that name evokes this kind of iconic anxiety around the crumbling American dream. I keep trying to talk about it as this transformation of our economy. I don't even know if we know what our economy is anymore. I keep thinking there are not going to be any jobs left for anyone to do anymore. How are people going to figure out what a career is and what their livelihood is?" In DETROIT, D'Amour not only explores "when times are difficult...when suddenly you don't have anything and you're forced to imagine something new," but also "the way we sometimes rely on possessions to make us feel fulfilled."

Aurora Theatre Company has assembled a talented ensemble for DETROIT. Amy Resnick returns to Aurora Theatre Company as Mary in DETROIT. She previously appeared in the company's Bay Area Premiere of Annie Baker's Body Awareness, the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Allison Moore's Collapse, the West Coast Premiere of Craig Lucas's Small Tragedy, and David Mamet's The Old Neighborhood. Additional credits include productions at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, TheatreWorks, San Francisco Playhouse, San Jose Repertory Theatre, B Street Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, Lincoln Center, and Alliance Theatre, among others. She also co-starred in the feature film Haiku Tunnel with Josh Kornbluth and appeared in The Sure Thing, directed by Rob Reiner.

Making his Aurora debut in DETROIT is Jeff Garrett as Ben. Credits include productions at Shotgun Players (Assassins, Scrooge), Shakespeare Santa Cruz (Henry IV, Part 1, The Three Musketeers), Brava Theater (Marat/Sade), Boxcar Theatre (Buried Child, Fool for Love), and AlterTheater, as well as numerous productions in New York.

Patrick Kelly Jones returns to the Aurora stage as Kenny in DETROIT; he previously appeared in the company's critically acclaimed production of Metamorphosis. Additional credits include productions at TheatreWorks (Peter and the Starcatcher, Water By the Spoonful), Marin Theatre Company (Failure: A Love Story, It's A Wonderful Life), Magic Theatre (Buried Child), Crowded Fire Theater (Exit, Pursued by a Bear), San Francisco Playhouse (Abegail's Party), and Shotgun Players (The Coast of Utopia Trilogy), among others.

Luisa Frasconi makes her Aurora stage debut as Sharon in DETROIT; credits include productions at Marin Shakespeare Company (Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, All's Well That Ends Well), Shotgun Players (Coast of Utopia, Voyage, The Great Divide), Impact Theatre, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, California Shakespeare Theater, and Livermore Shakespeare Festival, among others.

Josh Costello directs DETROIT; for Aurora Theatre Company, he directed last season's Bay Area Premiere of Wittenberg. Additional directing credits include Ideation by Aaron Loeb and Reborning by Zayd Dohrn at San Francisco Playhouse, Toil and Trouble by Lauren Gunderson at Impact Theatre (all World Premieres), and his adaptation of Little Brother by Cory Doctorow for Custom Made Theatre Company. As the Artistic Director of Expanded Programs at Marin Theatre Company, Costello directed My Children! My Africa!, the Bay Area premiere of Lovers & Executioners, and several touring productions for children. Additional directing credits include productions at Magic Theatre (House of Lucky), The Crucible (Romeo and Juliet: A Fire Ballet), and Shakespeare-by-the-Sea in Los Angeles (Hamlet). His adaptation of The Rover for The Chance Theater in Orange County aired as a live television broadcast on the Los Angeles and Orange County PBS affiliate. The founder and first Artistic Director of Impact Theatre, Costello has been a faculty member at California Shakespeare Theater, American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, UC Riverside, Cal State Long Beach, South Coast Repertory, and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood. Costello is the Artistic Associate/Literary Manager at Aurora Theatre Company; he will make his Off-Broadway directing debut in 2016 with Ideation, which won the 2014 William Glickman playwriting award.

Lisa D'Amour is a playwright and interdisciplinary artist. She is one half of the OBIE-Award winning performance duo PearlDamour, whose work has been presented by PS122, The Whitney Museum of Art, the Walker Arts Center, and the FuseBox Festival. Her plays have been commissioned and produced by theaters across the country, including The Women's Project, Playwrights' Horizons, Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf, Clubbed Thumb, (all in NYC), Children's Theater Company (Minneapolis), Steppenwolf Theater Company (Chicago), The Wilma Theater (Philadelphia), Woolly Mammoth Theater (Washington D.C.), and the Royal National Theater (London), among others. In addition to DETROIT, D'Amour's plays include Airline Highway, Cherokee, Night Sky, Hide Town, The Cataract, Anna Bella Eema, Red Death, Tale of a West Texas Marsupial Girl, and 16 Spells to Charm the Beast. In addition to being a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and the 2011 Susan Smith Blackburn prize, D'Amour is the recipient of the 2008 Alpert Award for the Arts in theater, the 2011 Steinberg Playwright Award, and the 2013 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. She has received fellowships from the Jerome and McKnight Foundations, and an NEA / TCG Playwrights' Residency. With PearlDamour, she is a four- time recipient of project funding from the Rockefeller MAP Fund and a 2009 Creative Capital grantee. D'Amour is a core member of the Playwrights' Center and a recent alumna of New Dramatists.

Following DETROIT, Aurora Theatre Company opens its 24th season in August with the Bay Area Premiere of Marisa Wegrzyn's MUD BLUE SKY, directed by Aurora Theatre Company Artistic Director Tom Ross, followed by the Bay Area Premiere of Pulitzer Prize-nominee Amy Freed's THE MONSTER-BUILDER, directed by Art Manke. Award-winning Bay Area auteur Mark Jackson returns to Aurora with the World Premiere of his play LITTLE ERIK in January, followed by the West Coast Premiere of Sarah Treem's THE HOW AND THE WHY, directed by Joy Carlin and staged in the company's second stage performance space, Harry's UpStage, located in the Nell and Jules Dashow Wing. The season continues in April with the West Coast Premiere of David Ives' THE HEIR APPARENT directed by Josh Costello. Timothy Near makes her Aurora directing debut with the company's season closer in June, Athol Fugard's modern classic "MASTER HAROLD"... and the boys.

Voted Best Theater Company in 2012 by SF Weekly, Aurora Theatre Company continues to offer challenging, literate, intelligent stage works to the Bay Area, each year increasing its reputation for top-notch theater. Located in the heart of the Downtown Berkeley Arts District, Aurora Theatre Company, declared "one of the best regional theaters around" by 7x7 magazine, has been called "one of the most important regional theaters in the area" and "a must-see midsize company" by the San Francisco Chronicle, while The Wall Street Journal has "nothing but praise for the Aurora." The Contra Costa Times stated "perfection is probably an unattainable ideal in a medium as fluid as live performance, but the Aurora Theatre comes luminously close," while the San Jose Mercury News affirmed Aurora Theatre Company is "arguably the finest small theater in the Bay Area," and the Oakland Tribune stated "it's all about choices, and if you value good theater, choose the Aurora."

Aurora Theatre Company closes its 23rd season with the Bay Area Premiere of Lisa D'Amour's (Anna Bella Eema, Airline Highway) wicked Obie-winning satire about our uncertain economic times, DETROIT. In a first-ring suburb just outside of an unnamed city, barely middle class Ben and Mary welcome Sharon and Kenny, who have just moved into the long empty house next door. The neighborly connection they find threatens Ben and Mary's notion of the values that have long kept them on the straight and narrow middle class path as it is revealed that Sharon and Kenny met at rehab, neither is employed, and they don't own a stick of furniture. As the foursome bonds over backyard barbecues and remembered dreams, the quintessential American backyard party turns dangerous and threatens to destroy more than their friendship.

Challenging assumptions about status, comfort, ambition, and community, and called "A sharp X-ray of the embattled American psyche as well as a smart, tart critique of the country's fraying social fabric" by The New York Times, DETROIT was a finalist for both the 2011 Pulitzer Prize and Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. The play premiered at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2010 and ran off Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in 2012. Josh Costello (Wittenberg) directs this explosive dark comedy, featuring Amy Resnick (Body Awareness, Collapse), Jeff Garrett, Luisa Frasconi, and Patrick Kelly Jones (Metamorphosis), that brilliantly captures our current economic moment.



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