Question: When do alcoholism, addiction, divorce, disappearance, suicide, incest, child abuse, child molestation and early death make for family entertainment?
The answer is August: Osage County by Tracy Letts. Family entertainment because it’s about a (I hope) fictional family, the disturbed and disturbing Weston family of Oklahoma, and the play was called “sensationally entertaining” by the New York Times. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for best play of 2008. The early death is the play’s run: The last performance will be Sunday, June 28th.
It now stars Phylicia Rashad as the pill-popping matriarch Violet Weston in a close to impossible role. Rashad is best known for “The Cosby Show,” but has become something of a fixture on Broadway, winning a Tony for her performance in the production of “A Raisin In The Sun” that also starred Sean Combs.
“August: Osage County” will have a life after Broadway, when it goes on a national tour:
Denver, Colorado (The Ellie Caulkins Opera House), July 24 to August 8, 2009
San Francisco, California (Curran Theatre), August 11 to September 6, 2009
Los Angeles, California (Ahmanson Theatre), September 8 to October 18
Portland Oregon (Keller Auditorium), October 20 to October 25, 2009
Seattle, Washington (Paramount Theatre), October 27 – November 1, 2009
Toronto, Ontario (Canon Theatre), November 5 – November 15, 2009