Sunday, June 28, 2009

Goodbye to August on Broadway

As a tribute to this afternoon's final Broadway performance of August: Osage County, I wanted to list my favorite lines from Tracy Letts' play. Unfortunately, I can't find my copy. Someday I'd like to have enough bookshelves to display all of my books - but that day won't be today.

Instead, here's a Steppenwolf Theatre Company video with cast members Jeff Perry, Francis Guinan, Amy Morton and Mariann Mayberry, who talk about bringing a new play from Chicago to New York without any "movie stars."

You can find more videos on the Steppenwolf site, including all the Tony acceptance speeches from Letts, Deanna Dunagan, Rondi Reed, set designer Todd Rosenthal and director Anna D. Shapiro.

Also, the American Theatre Wing's Working in the Theatre program has a great hourlong video featuring a panel discussion with Morton, Perry and Reed.

And if you didn't get a chance to see the play on Broadway or in Chicago, you can catch up with it on tour. There'll be a different cast but the same memorable characters and witty, insightful dialog.

Finally, I can't say goodbye to August on Broadway without sharing Rondi Reed's Tony acceptance speech. I've talked with her twice and Reed, currently playing Madame Morrible in Wicked, is a genuinely warm and friendly person. Definitely a Gratuitous Violins favorite.

One of my favorite scenes happens early on, when her character, Mattie Fae Aiken, is sitting on the couch with Guinan, who plays her husband, Charlie. I was laughing hysterically. Like the great actors they are, they made their banter look so natural, so real.

When I met Reed at the stage door afterward, I mentioned that scene and she told me how much it helped that she and Guinan had known each other and worked together for years.

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