Thursday, June 12, 2008

August: Coming To A County Near You

August: Coming To A County Near You

It's official!

Tracy Letts' August: Osage County is set to tour beginning just a little over one year from now.

The first stop for the tour will be at San Francisco's Curran Theatre, beginning -- appropriately enough -- in August 2009 (August 11, to be precise). Other tour stops will be announced soon.

While the touring cast of August: Osage County has yet to be announced, many key cast changes are set to occur on Broadway after Sunday afternoon's matinee performance, which dovetails with the 2008 Tony Awards. The show, of course, is the overwhelming favorite to win "Best Play," and as I've stated previously, there are likely to be other key award winners from the production including, I hope, a couple key folks set to depart.

Chief among them are the amazing Deanna Dunagan and Rondi Reed, who portray sisters Violet Weston and Mattie Fae Aiken, respectively. Don't be surprised to see either of these outstanding actresses taking Tonys home with them to Chicago come Sunday -- just don't expect to see them in the show come Tuesday. June 17 marks the first performance in which Dunagan will be succeeded by Academy Award winner Estelle Parsons, while Reed will be replaced by Steppenwolf ensemble member Molly Regan, who most recently was appearing in the Chicago troupe's production of Dead Man's Cell Phone.

Regan last appeared in the 1992 Broadway revival of The Crucible. If you're not familiar with Regan, I can tell you that she was "wonderfully sardonic" in Dead Man's Cell Phone, and I adored her in Steppenwolf's 2006 production of Love Song in which she played Francis Guinan's loveable, lovely wife and Ian Barford's sister.

Speaking of Guinan and Barford -- and coming full circle -- they'll also be exiting August: Osage County come Sunday. Guinan's superb performance as Mattie Fae's husband Charlie will be followed by Robert Foxworth (best known for television's sudsy "Falcon Crest"), while Barford's Little Charles will be portrayed come Tuesday by Steppenwolf ensemble member Jim True-Frost (best known for HBO's "The Wire").

I last caught Foxworth around 2003 in the touring production of Proof as he offered an intelligent take on a genius father who went mad. As for True-Frost, I saw him, interestingly enough, under Amy Morton's taut direction in the 2006 Steppenwolf production of The Pillowman (which also starred none other than Tracy Letts); at the time, I saluted True-Frost's "right mix of indignation and fear" in his portrayal of Katurian Katurian Katurian.

As if all those departures aren't enough, a fifth original cast member from the original Chicago incarnation is set to bid farewell. Steppenwolf co-founder Jeff Perry's Bill Fordham will now be played by Tony-winning actor Frank Wood (Side Man).

Of course, with the onslaught of Tonys that August: Osage County is expected to enjoy, it's likely that the production just might last on Broadway well beyond August. Not bad for a little ensemble piece that was initially set for a limited run.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
SOB's 2008 Tony Picks - Who Will Win (June 10, 2008)
SOB's 2008 Tony Picks - Part III (June 6, 2008)
SOB's 2008 Tony Picks - Part II (June 5, 2008)
SOB's 2008 Tony Picks - Part I (June 4, 2008)
SOB's Best Of 2007-08: Best New Plays (May 30, 2008)
More August Honors (May 19, 2008)
Whoopi! Tony Eligibility And More Handicapping (May 9, 2008)
An August Award (April 7, 2008)
Today's The Day ... Or Maybe Not (April 7, 2008)
Producer's Perspective Is Sneak Peek (March 24, 2008)
Fantasy Casting Calls (February 26, 2008)
Dennis Letts - RIP (February 24, 2008)
August: Osage County (The SOB Revisit) (February 20, 2008)
August: Osage County Will Extend Again, Moving To Music Box (February 15, 2008)
Is It Just Me, Or... (Part III) (January 22, 2008)
Hot, Hot, Hot August Just Got Longer (January 14, 2008)
SOB's 7 Singular Sensations Of '07 - #1: Deanna Dunagan (December 31, 2007)
SOB's 7 Singular Sensations Of '07 - #3: Amy Morton (December 29, 2007)
ModFab: The Jury Is In (December 28, 2007)
August: Best Time Of The Year (December 15, 2007)
Sorkin "No Tracy Letts" (December 14, 2007)
More Than One Critic Letts August Esteem Show (December 5, 2007)
August Heat Fires Up December Opening (December 4, 2007)
Cold Opening Possible For August: Osage County? (November 16, 2007)
Finally, Back To The Table (November 14, 2007)
Add August To The List? (November 14, 2007)
An August Work (October 30, 2007)
Steppenwolf Letts "Juicy" August Move Forward (September 15, 2007)
This October, Letts' "August" Begins On Broadway (August 22, 2007)
August: Osage County (The SOB Review) (August 19, 2007)

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At 12 June, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

Wouldn't it have made more sense to keep the original cast together for a few months after the Tony awards, especially if it does as well as expected? Or is the thinking that it's not really a summer tourist show, so it doesn't matter? I'm sure it'll be just as great with the new cast members, but it seems sad in a way that they couldn't have kept the original actors for another month. Maybe that's not how these things work, I don't know.

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger SarahB said...

You have to realize that the original cast members have been with it since Chicago. Some of them have other obligations. Some of them are just ready to go home.

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

I know, I just think it's a little sad that they won't get to take a victory lap, so to speak.

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, Most of the actors from August: Osage County live, and typically work, in Chicago. Their engagement was originally intended to be a relatively brief limited run.

Then it was extended, and extended again, and then it moved next door to the Imperial and became an open-ended run.

Most of these fine actors have been with the show for a year already. I don't begrudge them the opportunity to finally go home.

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger Joseph Gomez said...

The show speaks for itself: there's no way it can really suffer. It's too good. I'm very happy for the commercial success of a great literary piece. Plus, it's always interesting to see other actor's interpretations. Minus Helena B. Carter in the Sweeney movie.

Oops... did I say that out loud? :-)

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Joseph, I agree completely. The fact that this show is specifically not star driven will enable it to live long.

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger Theatre Aficionado at Large said...

Can you only imagine the fascinating actors and actresses - both renown and unsung - that will have the opportunities to play these roles? I mean, my God. I love it.


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