McKean Bites Into Superior Donuts, Letts' New Broadway Play, Starting Sept. 16

News   McKean Bites Into Superior Donuts, Letts' New Broadway Play, Starting Sept. 16
 
Change is tapping at the door of a Northside Chicago doughnut shop in Tracy Letts' Superior Donuts — the writer's first play produced since August: Osage County — starring Michael McKean as a stuck proprietor of the title shop. Broadway previews begin Sept. 16.

Jon Michael Hill and Cliff Chamberlain in the Steppenwolf Theatre run of Superior Donuts
Jon Michael Hill and Cliff Chamberlain in the Steppenwolf Theatre run of Superior Donuts Photo by Michael Brosilow

The seriocomic play got its world premiere in summer 2008 under the direction of Tina Landau (Broadway's Bells Are Ringing, Off-Broadway's Space and Dream True) at Steppenwolf Theatre Company's home in Chicago. The Windy City cast and production team come to Broadway intact. Opening night at the Music Box (where August played) will be Oct. 1.

Letts, who won the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize for Drama for August: Osage County, has revised and refined his new play since its premiere. The small-scale workplace play was nominated for the Joseph Jefferson Award for its premiere run at Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theatre, the same venue where eventual Tony winner August was born in 2007.

In the new play, "Arthur Przybyszewski owns a decrepit donut shop in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. Franco Wicks, a black teenager who is his only employee, wants to change the shop for the better. This provocative comedy, set in the heart of one of Chicago's most diverse communities, explores the challenges of embracing the past and the redemptive power of friendship."

Arthur, a former Vietnam activist, is reluctant to change. "It's like he's locked himself inside a cryogenic chamber — walled himself off from the rest of the world," McKean, a Broadway veteran of Hairspray and The Homecoming, told Playbill magazine.

The Superior Donuts cast includes Steppenwolf ensemble members Jon Michael Hill as Franco, Yasen Peyankov and James Vincent Meredith with Jane Alderman, Kate Buddeke, Cliff Chamberlain, Michael Garvey and Robert Maffia. Letts (whose plays include Killer Joe and Bug) and Landau are both ensemble members of Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

McKean was most recently on Broadway in the 2007 revival of The Homecoming. He is also widely known for his film and TV work, notably in "Laverne & Shirley," "This Is Spinal Tap," "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind."

The production team includes scenic designer James Schuette, costume designer Ana Kuzmanic, lighting designer Christopher Akerlind and sound designers Rob Milburn & Michael Bodeen.

The Steppenwolf production of Superior Donuts is produced on Broadway by Jeffrey Richards, Jean Doumanian, Jerry Frankel, Awaken Entertainment, Debra Black, Chase Mishkin, Karmichelle Productions/Robert G. Bartner, Carole & Barry Kaye/Irv Welzer, Andrew Asnes, Rebecca Gold, Kathleen K. Johnson, George Kaufman, Charlie McAteer, Terry Schnuck, Michael Gardner/David Jaroslowicz, Roy Gottlieb/Raise The Roof Two, Dena Hammerstein/Pam Pariseau, and Stewart F. Lane/Bonnie Comley.

The Music Theatre is located at 239 W. 45th Street. Superior Donuts will play Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday-Saturday at 8 PM, Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM, and Sunday at 3 PM. Tickets for Superior Donuts are on sale through Telecharge.com or by calling (212) 239-6200.

Jon Michael Hill and Michael McKean in <i>Superior Donuts</i> at Steppenwolf Theatre in 2008
Jon Michael Hill and Michael McKean in Superior Donuts at Steppenwolf Theatre in 2008 Photo by Michael Brosilow
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