THE WEEK AHEAD, Sept. 15-21: Off-Broadway's Detroit and I Haven't Found It Yet Open; The Exonerated Begins

By Blake Ross
September 15, 2012

Playbill.com's weekly planner reminds you that Stockard Channing, Brian Dennehy and Brooke Shields are ExoneratedDetroit moves to New York… a day for 'staches is held at Peter and the Starcatcher… and Jake Gyllenhaal trades Hollywood for the stage. "The days grow short when you reach September... so don't play the waiting game" and check out these theatre happenings this WEEK AHEAD!



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Saturday, September 15
PREVIEWS→ The star-studded 10th anniversary edition of The Exonerated kicks off with a rotating cast that includes Stockard Channing, Brian Dennehy and Brooke Shields. Presented in association with The Innocence Project — the non-profit group that offers legal counseling to the wrongly convicted — The Exonerated uses real-life stories of people who were sentenced to prison and later freed after new evidence proved their innocence. One of those people is Sonia "Sunny" Jacobs, who was sentenced to death for the murder of two police officers at a rest stop in Florida in 1976 and was freed after 17 years on death row. Jacobs will join the cast for a week stint — her story is one of six dramatized in the play by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen. Directed by Bob Balaban. (Culture Project, 45 Bleecker St., at Lafayette. Info/tickets.)

Sunday, September 16
GO→ Let's call it the week of Linda Lavin. The powerhouse actress, last seen on Broadway in a 2012 Tony nominated performance in The Lyons, will appear on Sunday at Birdland alongside her husband, painter Steve Bakunas, for the interview series "Portrait of an Artist." (1 PM, Birdland, 315 W. 44th St., btwn. 8th & 9th Aves., Info/tickets.) The next night (Sept. 17), Lavin turns to the intimate stage at 54 Below with Linda Lavin…Now. The show, created with musical director Billy Stritch, has the Tony winner singing selections from her new CD "Possibilities." (Additional 54 Below performance on Sept. 23, 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave. Info/tickets.)

Monday, September 17
GO→ With the end of Broadway Week comes (you guessed it!) Off-Broadway Week. From September 17-30, you can nab two-for-one tickets to some of Off-Broadway’s hottest shows like Avenue Q, Blue Man Group, Forbidden Broadway, The Awesome 80s Prom, Fuerza Bruta, STOMP, Bullet For Adolf and more. (Through September 30, Info/tickets.)

GO→ The music of Tony-nominated composer Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Bonnie & Clyde) will be at the center of the concert Frank & Friends, a benefit for The Actors Fund. Performing songs from the Wildhorn songbook will be James Barbour and former Wonderland stars Janet Dacal and Karen Mason. (7 PM, Birdland, 315 W. 44th St. Info/tickets.)

GO→ Broadway voices belting out Michael Jackson? Sounds awesome! Titus Burgess (The Little Mermaid), Morgan James (Godspell), Kyle Beltran (In The Heights), Saycon Sengbloh (Fela!), Chester Gregory (Sister Act) and more will take on the King of Pop's greatest hits like "Man in the Mirror," "I'll Be There," "The Way You Make Me Feel," and "I Want You Back." This is the second in the Broadway Sings… series that started in April with Broadway Sings Adele. (9:30 PM, Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St., $25. Info/tickets.)

David Schwimmer and Amy Ryan in Detroit.
photo by Jeremy Daniel

Tuesday, September 18
OPENS→ Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa D'Amour's Detroit hits New York. In Detroit we visit the denizens of middle-class Middle America living where the recession, collapsing economy and massive unemployment has redefined The American Dream. For one couple (David Schwimmer and Amy Ryan), a layoff and new dreams of building a business have left them far more economically challenged then they were years prior. They feel this downgrade acutely when a rootless pair of former addicts (Darren Pettie and Sarah Sokolovic) moves in next door. Enlightenment about their predicament and about the changing neighborhood comes courtesy of a longtime resident who's seen it all (two-time Tony winner John Cullum). (Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42 St., btwn. 9th & 10th Aves. Info/tickets.)

Wednesday, September 19
GO (FREE)→ Peter and the Starcatcher continues its love of the mustache by offering a "Stache" of free tickets to mustachioed audience members. The first 100 people to show up at the Brooks Atkinson box office with a mustache (real or fake) will get one free ticket to the show. Matthew Saldivar (who plays Black Stache) will then pick three of his favorite mustaches to win some special prizes, including a backstage tour. Cease your shaving now! (Ticket distribution begins at 10 AM, Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 W. 47th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave. Info.)

Thursday, September 20
OPENING→ Jake Gyllenhaal stars in the premiere of Nick Payne's dark comedy If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet. Gyllenhaal plays the estranged uncle to an overweight teen, Anna (Annie Funke), who is being bullied in school. When Anna's parents, including her pre-occupied father (Tony winner Brían F. O'Byrne) and helicopter mother (Michelle Gomez), fail to help Anna, it's up to her uncle to fix her problems — for better or for worse. (Through Nov. 25, Laura Pels Theatre, 111 W. 46th St., btwn. 6th & 7th Aves. Info/tickets.)

Friday, September 21
PREVIEWS→ The story of Broadway's golden couple, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, is dramatized in Jeffrey Hatcher's Ten Chimneys. The play is set in the pair's Wisconsin compound (named Ten Chimneys) as they ready themselves for an upcoming production of Uncle Vanya. There, the audience gets a peek inside this storied romance (and meets some more interesting players, including a then-up-and-coming actress named Uta Hagen). Starring Byron Jennings as Lunt and Carolyn McCormick as Fontanne. Officially opens Sept. 30. (Theatre at St. Clement's, 423 W. 46th St., btwn. 9th & 10th Aves. Click here for Playbill Club discount preview tickets.)

Blake Ross is the editor of Playbill magazine. Follow her on Twitter @PlaybillBlake.

Watch highlights from Peter and the Starcatcher: