I saw Superior Donuts twice in three days. It was that good. The first time, I was totally absorbed in the moving story of Arthur and Franco, two unlikely friends. The second, I wanted to see the craft of the actors, the production company and the renowned playwright, Tracy Letts. Both times, I was fascinated by the power and presence of Superior Donuts.
The remount the Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co. hit production of Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts’ Jeff Award Nominated production is perfect. It is organic––every part of the play fits together, complimenting the others seamlessly. We have entered the gritty Superior Donuts shop and are witness to the friendship, tension, intrigue (both romantic and ruthless), anger, disappointment, humor, regret, thoughtfulness…the list goes on, the story unfolds.
Returning for his role of thoughtful, troubled Arthur Przybyszewski is Mary-Arrchie founding member and Artistic Director, Richard Cotovsky who was part of the creative process from the beginning and played the role at the Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. Also returning in his complex, sympathetic role as Franco Wicks is Preston Tate, Jr. who earned a Jeff Award for Best Actor as well as the Denzel Washington Award for Most Promising Actor at the 2012 Black Theatre Alliance Awards. When they step onto the set, they, like all the members of this remarkably fine cast, totally inhabit their characters.
How fortunate we are to be able to see the supporting cast also reprising their roles: Millie Hurley and Bradford Stevens play believable, lovable and somewhat comical cops. Paige Smith and Bryan Kelly play Russians who change from slimy stereotypical to heroic and gentle before our incredulous eyes. Karl Potthoff and Christopher Borek have mastered the art of menacing. And Joanna Maclay managed to play the somewhat-daft-but-sometimes-wise woman with sensitivity and credibility.
None of this could happen without the production team for Superior Donuts including: Jenniffer Thuysing & Bob Groth (Scenic Design), Stefin Seberl (Costume Design), Matthew Gawryk (Lighting Designer), Joe Court (Sound Designer), Katherine Greenleaf (Props Design), David Woolley (Fight Design), Jim Stevens (Assistant Director), Alison Barnes (Assistant Stage Manager), Jennifer McLendon (Stage Manager) and Carlo Garcia (Producing Director).
Through Greg Rothman’s excellent photos, the chemistry of the characters is evident and electric. Feast your eyes on his powerful shots throughout this review. It’s a “virtual preview of coming attractions.”
So what’s it about? The joy of friendship. The meaning of family. Learning from one another. Helping one another. The importance of saving art. The joy of beating a thug at his own game. The true meaning of courage. The rewards of patience and love.
I can not say this too emphatically or more sincerely: Don’t miss this extraordinary evening of theater. Twice held over, be sure to add it to your Holiday Season before it closes on New Year's Eve, December 31, 2012!
Title: SUPERIOR DONUTS
Playwright: Tracy Letts
Director: Matt Miller
Richard Cotovsky (Arthur Przybyszewski) and Preston Tate, Jr. (Franco Wicks) with Christopher Borek, (Kevin Magee) Millie Hurley (Randy), Bryan Kelly (Kiril), Joanna Maclay (Lady Boyle), Karl Potthoff (Luther), Paige Smith (Max) and Bradford Stevens (James).
Location: The Royal George Cabaret Theatre,1641 N. Halsted St.,Chicago
Dates: Until December 31, 2012
Curtain Times: Wednesdays, Thursday & Fridays at 8 pm; Saturdays at 3 & 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm
Tickets: $50. $10 discount for students/seniors.Tickets are currently on sale at the Royal George Box Office by calling (312) 988-9000 or in person during business hours (Wednesdays – Saturdays from 12 pm to 6 pm or until curtain on performance days).
Tickets are also available through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com.
For additional information, including special “day of” discounts, please call Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co. at (773) 704-6000.