Estelle Parsons Will Play Violet in August National Tour

By Kenneth Jones
21 Jan 2009

August: Osage County star Estelle Parsons.
August: Osage County star Estelle Parsons.
Photo by Joan Marcus

The national tour of August: Osage County, the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play about a dysfunctional Oklahoma family, will star Estelle Parsons as a pill-poppin' grandmother when it launches in Denver in summer 2009.

Academy Award winner Parsons currently plays that monstrous matriarch, Violet, at Broadway's Music Box. The tour launches July 24 at Denver's Ellie Caukins Opera House and plays to Aug. 8 before moving to San Francisco's Curran Theatre Aug. 11-Sept. 6. Chicago's Oriental Theatre will also host the play, Feb. 2-14, 2010. Other engagements will be announced shortly.

Parsons joined the Broadway company in June 2008, taking over for Tony winner Deanna Dunagan, who went on to play the role in London.

Parsons made her Broadway debut in Happy Hunting. Since then, she has either starred in or directed over 25 productions. Most notably, she has been nominated for the Tony Award for her performances in The Seven Descents of Myrtle, And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little, Miss Margarida's Way and Mornings at Seven.

Her first film role was in "Ladybug, Ladybug." Her performance in "Bonnie & Clyde" won her an Academy Award, and she was nominated again the following year for her work in "Rachel, Rachel." Other film performances include "Don't Drink the Water," "I Walk the Line," "I Never Sang for My Father," "Watermelon Man," "For Pete's Sake," "Dick Tracy," "Boys on the Side" and "Looking for Richard."



On television, Parsons notably played the mother of "Roseanne" on the hit sitcom.

In addition to teaching acting at Columbia and Yale, Parsons served as the artistic director of the Actors' Studio between 1996 and 2001.

Written by 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winner Tracy Letts (Superior Donuts, Man From Nebraska, Killer Joe, Bug), August: Osage County is billed as a "grand and gripping new play [that] tells the story of the Westons, a large extended clan that comes together at their rural Oklahoma homestead after the alcoholic patriarch disappears. Forced to confront unspoken truths and astonishing secrets, the family must also contend with Violet, a pill-popping, deeply unsettled woman at the center of the storm."

August: Osage County is produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jean Doumanian, Steve Traxler and Jerry Frankel. Anna D. Shapiro directs and won a Tony for her work.