Review: ‘American Hero’ is a crowd pleaser at the all-new Detroit Public Theatre

DETROIT — “American Hero” premiered at the new Detroit Public Theatre inside the Max M. Fisher Music Center.  The play takes place at a franchise sub shop in the Oakland Park Mall.  It opens with a girl, Sheri, played by Lisa Michaels, who is applying for a job at the sandwich shop.  Bob, the franchise owner and manager, played by Lynch R. Travis, watches her fill out the application and announces that she is hired.  Ted, played by Milan Malisic, and Jamie, Maggie Meyer is also hired.

Bob then explains the rules and regulations to the three of them.  He also assigns them their jobs:  baser, finisher and wrapper.  Sheri is the baser, which introduces the sandwiches, Ted is the finisher which adds the meat, cheese, onions tomatoes and lettuce upon request.  Jamie is the wrapper, who wraps the finished sandwich.  Bob holds the stop watch, as they practice making the sub sandwiches in less than 20 seconds.

Sheri, the teenager,  is often tired as she works another job at Del Taco until four in the morning, then starts work at seven a.m. at the sub shop.  Ted was a former banker with an MBA forced to take this job as he was laid off and out of work for a year.  Sexy Jamie is a divorced mother who is caught in the middle of a custody battle if she doesn’t have a job, and therefore will lose her kids.

Bob, who is never around, leaves the three sandwich artists on their own to fend for themselves.  Soon they run out of bread, meat, cheese, and soda.  What are they to do?  Sheri decides to call corporate and is told to stay open.  How, you ask?  Soon, the calamity begins.  With some creativity and ingenuity, the team decides on a plan to reinvent themselves and the sub shop.

The play is written by Bess Wohl and the show runs one hour and 40 minutes without an intermission.

Sarah Winkler and Courtney Burkett are co-artistic directors and founders of the Detroit Public Theatre.  Burkett is a life-long metro-area resident, while Winkler is from New York.  Together with their expertise, they have created a masterpiece, in my opinion.  Their mission is to produce world-class plays and programs in the heart of Midtown’s thriving cultural district.  There are three other plays rounding out the 2015-2016 season.

“American Hero” runs from October 28, 2015 through November 22, 2015.  Ticket prices are $35-$45 and are available now online at www.detroitpublictheatre.org, by phone at (313) 576-5111 or in person a the Detroit Symphony Orchestra box office.

Overall Rating:  A

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