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Broadway's 'August: Osage County' to close on June 28 (updated)

June 17, 2009 |  7:08 pm


After more than 600 performances, five Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize, Tracy Letts' "August: Osage County" is set to close on Broadway after a nearly 20-month run. The epic three-and-a-half-hour drama about a highly dysfunctional family in rural Oklahoma will play its last performance at the Music Box Theatre on June 28.

The production had only recently added Phylicia Rashad in the lead role of Violet Weston, the wealthy pill-popping matriarch who makes life hell for her grown children. The actress, who began her run in late May, took over the character from Estelle Parsons and Tony winner Deanna Dunagan.

Produced by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, "August" had its world premiere in Chicago in 2007. The Chicago Tribune's Chris Jones wrote at the time that "Letts has penned a major, not-to-be-missed new American work that eulogizes the perversely nurturing dysfunction of family life on the Plains."

The play opened on Broadway in December 2007 at the Imperial Theatre and went on to win Tonys for play, actress, featured actress (Rondi Reed), direction (Anna Shapiro) and scenic design (Todd Rosenthal). The production moved to the Music Box in April 2008. A national tour of "August," starring Parsons, kicks off in Denver in July. The tour will play at L.A.'s Ahmanson Theatre from Sept. 8 to Oct. 18.

Last year, Times theater critic Charles McNulty wrote that the play contains "strands of a half-dozen domestic classics (from 'Long Day's Journey Into Night' to 'Buried Child') refracted through a pop sensibility that's as comfortable with parody as it is with soap opera."

-- David Ng

(This version of the story updates the play dates at the Ahmanson Theatre.)

Photo: A scene from the Broadway production of "August: Osage County." Credit: Joan Marcus