Monday, June 29, 2009

August: Osage County - And Then They're Gone

August: Osage County - And Then They're Gone

Call it a day of theatrical symmetry.

Exactly two years to the day after Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre premiered Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning August: Osage County at its Downstairs Theatre, the show closed at the Music Box Theatre. Directed by Anna D. Shapiro, the play enjoyed 648 performances on Broadway.

My dear friend Kevin Daly at Theatre Aficianado At Large was there for the closing performance, which had its own surprise before it even began. Kevin looked at the board next to the ticket counter and saw that Rondi Reed was back for the final performance. It wasn't long before he was tweeting about it to let the whole world know.

Meanwhile, back at Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theatre last evening, Bridget Carpenter's Up was enjoying its opening night. This is the latest play to be helmed by Shapiro and it features her husband Ian Barford (the original Little Charles from August: Osage County) in the lead. Other noteworthy alums from August: Osage County were on hand, including Tony winner Deanna Dunagan (the original Violet Weston) and Francis Guinan (the original Charlie Aiken). Both were clearly thrilled to hear that Reed had returned for that final performance. Guinan will return to the Steppenwolf stage in Fake beginning in September.

While dignitaries like Illinois Governor Pat Quinn were on hand to witness the troupe's latest treasure, the symmetry of Steppenwolf's sweet serendipitous Sunday in New York and Chicago rounded out with actor Jon Michael Hill of Lett's Superior Donuts being in the Windy City house. While I can't say whether he'll be part of the transfer to Broadway this fall, I expect great things from this incredible young talent and believe Great White Way audiences will celebrate his name sometime soon.

And once again thanks to Steppenwolf, I'll have bragging rights not unlike those when I was among the first to see August: Osage County nearly two years ago.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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