By Kenneth Jones
19 May 2009
|Photo by Michael Brosilow|
The small-scale 2008 workplace play by Pulitzer Prize winner Letts was nominated for the Joseph Jefferson Award for its summer 2008 world-premiere run at Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theatre, the same venue where eventual Pulitzer Prize winner and Tony Award winner August was born a year earlier.
Casting for Broadway has not been announced. The producers officially announced their intentions on May 19.
Making her non-musical Broadway directing debut, Steppenwolf ensemble member Tina Landau (Space, Dream True and Steppenwolf's spring production of The Tempest) will again direct the play about a run-down uptown Chicago donut shop. Her 2008 production of Superior Donuts starred Michael McKean (Broadway's Hairspray and The Homecoming, TV's "Laverne & Shirley," Hollywood's "A Mighty Wind") as the shop's proprietor.
Here's how the New York producers characterize Superior Donuts: "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 comedy-drama, 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."
Letts received the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama (and the Tony Award for Best Play) for his critically-acclaimed play August: Osage County, currently playing on Broadway at The Music Box Theatre.
Letts is also the author of Man from Nebraska, which was produced at Steppenwolf in 2003 and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize; Killer Joe, which has been produced in Chicago, London and New York; and Bug, which has played in New York, Chicago and London.
Ensemble member Landau directed Steppenwolf's 2007 production of The Diary of Anne Frank. Other Steppenwolf directing credits include Cherry Orchard, The Time of Your Life (also Seattle Rep, A.C.T.), Theatrical Essays, Maria Arndt, The Ballad of Little Jo, The Berlin Circle, Time to Burn, and her own play, Space (also at The Public Theater, Mark Taper Forum).
Superior Donuts was developed as part of Steppenwolf's New Plays Initiative. Through this initiative, the company maintains ongoing relationships with writers of international prominence and rigorously discovers and supports the work of early and mid-career playwrights.
"Committed to the principle of ensemble performance through the collaboration of a company of actors," directors and playwrights, Steppenwolf Theatre Company's mission is "to advance the vitality and diversity of American theatre by nurturing artists, encouraging repeatable creative relationships and contributing new works to the national canon."
The company, formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, is dedicated to "perpetuating an ethic of mutual respect and the development of artists through on-going group work."