Dysfunctional Family Is Healthy at B.O.; August Has $3 Million Advance

News   Dysfunctional Family Is Healthy at B.O.; August Has $3 Million Advance Jeffrey Richards, producer of Broadway's critical and audience sensation, August: Osage County, told Variety the Steppenwolf Theatre Company production at the Imperial Theatre has a $2.5 million advance — more, if you add group sales.

Deanna Dunagan (seated) and Amy Morton in August: Osage County.
Deanna Dunagan (seated) and Amy Morton in August: Osage County.

"We went from an advance of less than $300,000 before we opened to now nearly $2.5 million," Richards told the trade paper. "That's one of the largest advances of a straight play in recent history — and it's playing in one of the largest houses."

The paper quoted Richards saying that with group sales, the advance box office take is more than $3 million. The limited run of the Steppenwolf production is scheduled through March 9, 2008, at the Imperial.

There is no official talk of an extension for the work. It was always announced as a 16-week limited run.

Playwright Tracy Letts (Bug, Killer Joe) is making his Broadway debut with the three-act, large-cast, 3-1/2-hour family drama about three generations of an Oklahoma clan feasting on each other in their family manse. Booze, drugs, sex, secrets and taboos spike the darkly funny drama, which offers New York a taste of the ensemble acting for which Chicago's Steppenwolf is acclaimed.

Letts is a Pulitzer Prize finalist (for Man From Nebraska), and come spring 2008 he's expected to be a serious contender for the Pulitzer for August. August: Osage County opened Dec. 4 after previews from Oct. 30 (and following a break due to the stagehands strike on Broadway).

All but two cast members from Anna D. Shapiro's summer Chicago staging made the leap to Broadway.

To accommodate the length of the performance, show times are Tuesday-Friday at 7:30 PM, Saturday at 8 PM, Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM and Sunday at 3 PM.

The Imperial Theatre is located in Manhattan at 245 W. 45th Street. Tickets are available by calling (212) 239-6200 or by visiting www.telecharge.com.

For more information visit www.steppenwolf.org, or visit www.AugustonBroadway.com.

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Steppenwolf Theatre Company's world premiere of August: Osage County opened July 8, 2007, after previews from June 28. It closed Aug. 26.

The staging played at the Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre.

Pulitzer Prize finalist Tracy Letts became a Steppenwolf ensemble member in 2002 and was recently named an artistic associate. He has appeared at Steppenwolf in Betrayal, The Pillowman, Last of the Boys, The Pain and the Itch, The Dresser, Homebody/Kabul, The Dazzle, Glengarry Glen Ross (also Dublin and Toronto), Three Days of Rain, Road to Nirvana, Picasso at the Lapin Agile and the Steppenwolf for Young Adults production of The Glass Menagerie.

Director Shapiro is an ensemble member at Steppenwolf, where her directing credits include The Unmentionables by Bruce Norris (also at Yale Rep), the world premiere of Bruce Norris' The Pain and the Itch (also in New York), Robert Anderson's I Never Sang for My Father, the world premiere of Tracy Letts' Man from Nebraska, Until We Find Each Other by Brooke Berman, Purple Heart by Bruce Norris (also in Galway, Ireland), The Drawer Boy by Michael Healey, the world premiere of The Ordinary Yearning of Miriam Buddwing by Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros, Warren Leight's Side Man (also in Ireland, Australia and Vail, Colorado), Richard Greenberg's Three Days of Rain and the world premiere of Bruce Norris' The Infidel.

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