News & Reviews for "American Hero"

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The Star-Ledger
February 14, 2018

"Great theater"

"Explosive...haunting and wonderful"
 

New drama 'American Hero' thrills in final minutes at George Street Playhouse: review

“American Hero” comes to the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick with high expectations. It’s the second play of a planned trilogy by Christopher Demos-Brown; George Street presented the first play, “American Son,” last year, and it was absolutely riveting. At opening night for “American Hero,” George Street artistic director David Saint (also the play’s director) announced that “American Son” will open on Broadway in November.

I didn’t find “American Hero” — which has actually been presented previously, elsewhere, with a different title, “Fear Up Harsh” — quite as powerful as “American Son.” But it’s still a first-rate play, approaching Demos-Brown’s stated topic for his trilogy — American injustice — from a different angle.

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Q on Stage
February 16, 2018

"A searing domestic 'Apocalypse Now'...a truly memorable experience"

"A wellspring of intellect and emotion"
 

George Street Playhouse’s “American Hero”

George Street Playhouse’s latest production is Christopher Demos-Brown’s “American Hero” and it is a searing domestic ‘Apocalypse Now,’ about privilege, honor, honesty, and how our country treats of veterans. And it is a truly memorable experience...

...Demos-Brown’s play, under David Saint’s direction, taps into a wellspring of intellect and emotion and the cognitive dissonance that war creates. At the time this play was selected, there was not a game of brinksmanship going on between the Oval Office and North Korea, yet now we find ourselves facing a situation that may require the very same kind of pyrrhic nobility this country asks of all of our veterans, from the Revolutionary War to present conflicts, including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and more. 

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NJArts.net
February 11, 2018

"A first-rate play...hold on to your seats"
 

Christopher Demos-Brown offers another look at injustice in ‘American Hero’

“American Hero” comes to the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick with high expectations. It’s the second play of a planned trilogy by Christopher Demos-Brown; George Street presented the first play, “American Son,” last year, and it was absolutely riveting. At opening night for “American Hero,” George Street artistic director David Saint (also the play’s director) announced that “American Son” will open on Broadway in November.

I didn’t find “American Hero” — which has actually been presented previously, elsewhere, with a different title, “Fear Up Harsh” — quite as powerful as “American Son.” But it’s still a first-rate play, approaching Demos-Brown’s stated topic for his trilogy — American injustice — from a different angle.

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New Jersey Stage
February 8, 2018

"George Street has found an emerging voice that truly has something to say."

"You will leave the theatre knowing that you saw something amazing."

"This play is an absolute must-see...one of the best plays I've seen in the past decade."
 

REVIEW: 'American Hero' at George Street Playhouse

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) — One of the best plays last year in New Jersey was American Son by Christopher Demos-Brown at George Street Playhouse.  He returns with American Hero - the second in what will be a trilogy of plays exploring American injustice.  From the explosive opening scene until to the end one thing is clear - George Street has found an emerging voice that truly has something to say.

American Son is a powerful tale about the post-war lives of a pair of veterans: Rob (played by Armand Schultz) and Mary (played by Laiona Michelle).  The former was a marine who saved a half dozen people.  The latter saved his life...

...This play is an absolute must see.  Honestly, it was one of the best plays I’ve seen in the past decade.

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Let's Go to the Theater
February 9, 2018

"Dynamic...hard-hitting."

"An unforgettable theatrical experience."
 

‘American Hero’ A Dynamic and Hard-Hitting Look at Injustice

The George Street Playhouse continues their current season with a dynamic play titled America Hero. Written by Christopher Demos-Brown, American Hero is at times terrifying and hard-hitting, but a theatrical experience well worth going to see. There are combat scenes that might be difficult for some to watch. However, they are needed to tell a story of two heroes of a battle that takes place post 9/11 in a Middle Eastern location. Both are members of the U.S. military who distinguish themselves by acts of valor. But only one receives the Medal of Honor.

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The Princeton Packet/TimeOFF
February 7, 2018

"A 'must-see' drama that packs a punch."

"This is a play that will have you in its grip from beginning to end."
 

STAGE REVIEW: 'American Hero' at George Street Playhouse

When George Street Playhouse presented Christopher Demos-Brown’s "American Son" last year, I said it would rock your foundation. Demos-Brown returns with another “must-see” drama that packs a punch. "American Hero," at George Street through Feb. 25, is riveting, upsetting, provocative and yes, entertaining.

This is the second in what will be a trilogy of plays that explores conflicts within the American psyche. In this production’s program, Demos-Brown answers a question about what drive his plays: “I like when people with vastly different experiences and points of view are forced to confront each other. I like deeply flawed people struggling to be noble.”

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History News Network
February 6, 2018

"Blistering. It shakes you to your core."

"It is one of the best plays or movies about war I have ever seen."

"It will make your soul shudder."
 

When Is a War Hero Not a War Hero? (Play Review)

Rob Wellman has won the Congressional Medal of Honor. He won it for saving the lives of several men in a fierce battle in Iraq. Rob was wounded in the action and gets around in a wheel chair. He runs a successful business and lives with his proud daughter, Shaun, who wants to be in the military herself and has applied to the U.S. Air Force Academy. The only step left in the awarding of the Medal of Honor is some paperwork and then the presentation at the White House by the President. Wherever Rob goes, he is treated like a national icon and, although paralyzed from the waist down, he is proud of himself.

Should he be? One night his old friend Mary, a rough and ready black lesbian soldier, who helped save his life in Iraq when he was wounded, arrives unannounced at his house and spends most of the night talking about the good old days of the war. Life has not been very good to her since she came back from Iraq. Her girlfriend left her, she does not have a good job in the army and it seems that while war buddy Rob is American royalty, she is not. Mary, the black woman, was a hero, too, wasn’t she?

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Asbury Park Press/Gannett NJ
February 6, 2018

"'Hero' hits its marks"

"'American Hero' is a meditation on faith, family, country, bravery, sacrifice, honor — and the things we tell ourselves to make the machinery work — that achieves its objective with edgy energy."
 

George Street drama exposes Hero behind the hoopla

The Congressional Medal of Honor is that rarest of honors, while the Purple Heart is the stuff of mass-produced warehouse overstock, suggests one soldier to another in “American Hero.” But in the Christopher Demos-Brown play on stage now at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, the exalted medal becomes little more than a Band-aid for a festering wound that threatens to devastate several lives at once.

The second entry in a trilogy that keynoted with last season’s “American Son” — a play that will be making its way to Broadway later this year — the drama landed at George Street’s interim home on the Cook College campus during a weekend in which the nation seemed to fracture anew over questions of objective truth, obligations of duty and obfuscating motives.

It’s a lot of big-picture conflict for a human-sized play to compete with — but “Hero” hits its marks, in its study of a celebrated war veteran whose hidden backstory claims collateral damage that includes, but is hardly limited to, the facts of what happened back there in Iraq.

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Out In Jersey
February 6, 2018

 "The best, most powerful work George Street has presented in many years, and I urge you to see it."
 

“American Hero” examines the nature of heroism

George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick presents American Hero by Christopher Demos-Brown, author of last season’s hit American Son. American Hero is the best, most powerful work George Street has presented in many years, and I urge you to see it.

The second play in a proposed “American” trilogy, American Hero does not go into the motivations for going to war, nor whether it is right or wrong to wage war. The focus instead is on the nature of heroism: how America creates its military heroes; how it views and treats those heroes; and the effect being proclaimed a war hero has on an individual.

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BroadwayWorld.com
February 5, 2018

 "Drama at its finest. See it!"

"A compelling theatrical piece that will open up essential conversations."
 

BWW Review: AMERICAN HERO at GSP-Drama at its Finest

American Hero is now being performed at George Street Playhouse (GSP) through February 25. The play by Christopher Demos-Brown is the second in his trilogy that focuses on injustice in America. Demos-Brown's first play in the series, American Son, was produced by GSP last season and will open on Broadway this year. American Herofeatures meticulous direction by the Playhouse's Artistic Director, David Saint and has a splendid cast. This is drama at it's finest. See it!

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TAPinto.net
February 5, 2018

"Thought-provoking...riveting production."
 

‘American Hero’ pulses with tension, clashing emotions at George Street

Armand Schultz as Rob is to receive a medal of honor for his heroic actions during the Iraq war. Although he lost the use of his legs, he made it home to be with his daughter, who will soon go to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Kally Duling as the daughter has the sass for the part, although by the end of the play you can see her perspective changing.

This is all due to Mary, played with vigor by Lainona Michelle. We learn that she saved Rob, who was injured during the fighting. But a later scene shows Rob interrogating an Iraqi woman in what must be water boarding.  And there are questions about those actions.

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Scene on Stage
February 5, 2018

Contrasting premieres at New Jersey Regionals: “The Outsider” and “American Hero

There are heroes and then there are heroes. That seeming incongruity is brought home with searing clarity in Christopher Demos-Brown’s “American Hero,” running through February 25 at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick...

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Curtain Up
February 4, 2018

"Cleverly constructed and emotionally gripping."


CurtainUp NJ Review: American Hero

American Hero is the second play of a trilogy by Christopher Demos-Brown whose intentions is to explore "American injustice." The favorably received American Son, the first of the trilogy to premiere last season at the George Street Playhouse, is scheduled for a Broadway production next Fall. In that play, an estranged mixed-race couple attempt to get police officers to tell them what happened to their college bound son. 

In American Hero, an Iraqi war veteran/hero is being prepped to receive the Medal of Honor the armed forces’ highest commendation three years after an act of bravery that has left him unable to walk. Hero is the story of a U.S. Marine Captain "Rob" Wellman (Armand Schultz), a divorcee confined to a wheelchair who lives at home with Shawn (Kally Duling) his 17 year-old daughter. In a family with a long military history, Shawn is anticipating attending the Air Force Academy following high school graduation. 

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The Times of Trenton
February 16, 2018

Theater: Christopher Demos-Brown's 'American Hero' at The George Street Playhouse

Playwright Christopher Demos-Brown, whose searing drama "American Son" was a hit during George Street Playhouse's 2016-2017 season, revealed that the inspiration for his latest play, "American Hero," now onstage through February 25 at George Street Playhouse's interim New Brunswick home located off Route One, was inspired by an autobiographical shock.

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News 12 New Jersey
February 2, 2018

VIDEO: Play set during the Iraq War opens at George Street Playhouse

NEW BRUNSWICK - A new play set during the Iraq War opened at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick Friday.

The play, "American Hero," is about a battlefield betrayal. It's the story of two soldiers, one who is paralyzed in an attack and another who is the woman who saved his life.

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The Princeton Packet/TimeOFF
February 2, 2018

Made in America: Heroism, race and war are explored in a new drama at George Street Playhouse

Last year, George Street Playhouse staged Christopher Demos-Brown’s play “American Son,” in which an estranged couple, a black mother and a white father, head to a police station after their son has been detained without any explanation.

The show received raved reviews and is scheduled for a Broadway run later this year. As they were working on the production, Demos-Brown and David Saint, George Street’s artistic director, talked about the play Demos-Brown was working on. That play is “American Hero,” which George Street is staging through Feb. 25, and the collaboration isn't done there.

“I said, 'You should write a third play and then you could call it an American Trilogy," Saint says. "And he said 'That's a great idea,' because then they can publish all three plays in one volume. So we're commissioning him to write a third play after this. So I sort of knew then that I'd probably be doing 'American Hero' this year and I'm very excited now that we're in the midst of it.”

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The Star-Ledger
January 27, 2018

This drama asks 'What makes an American Hero?' on New Brunswick stage

Christopher Demos-Brown's "American Hero" — at the George Street Playhouse Jan. 30 to Feb. 25 — centers on an Iraqi war veteran but it's not a play about war. Instead, it's about heroes, asking how we define them, why they're important and if they reflect us and our actual values. 

"I find heroism a very tricky notion," Demos-Brown said in an interview with NJ Advance Media. "It's so easy to manipulate."

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WBGO
January 25, 2018

LISTEN: The Stars of GSP's "American Hero" Ask Where Do You Stand?

American Hero, the latest production at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, temporarily located at 103 College Farm Road, is sure to put audience members on an emotional rollercoaster. 

Two of the stars of the powerful play, Laiona Michelle and Armand Schultz, came to the WBGO studios in Newark to speak with News Director Doug Doyle. 

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Asbury Park Press
January 25, 2018

George Street Playhouse presents American Hero

“I hate it,” Charlie Brown once said, “when there are two sides to a story,” and on that basis, Charlie might be flummoxed by Christopher Demos-Brown’s new play, “American Hero.”

The show, which examines not two but multiple facets of heroism and patriotism, will be presented at the George Street Playhouse on the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick from Jan. 30 through Feb. 25.

“American Son,” the first play in what is to be a trilogy by this writer, was well received at George Street last season.

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Broadway World
January 24, 2018

BWW Interview: Armand Schultz in AMERICAN HERO at GSP 1/30 to 2/25

In American Hero, an Iraq war hero's perfect life starts to unravel when a fellow veteran seeking justice shows up threatening to expose a hidden past. From the author of last season's American Son, this raw, gritty drama shines a light on how America honors its veterans, the corrupting effect of awards and commendations, and questions what it truly means to be a hero. American Hero joins American Son and a yet-to-be titled new work to create a trilogy of plays exploring American injustice. American Hero is the recipient of the Steinberg Award Citation from the American Theatre Critics Association.

Broadwayworld.com had the pleasure of interviewing ArmandSchultz who plays Rob in American Hero.

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Two of the stars of GSP's production of "American Hero", Armand Schultz and Laiona Michelle, talk to WBGO's Doug Doyle about their roles in the powerful play.

Armand Schultz from GSP's production of "American Hero" talks to WCTC's Bert Baron.