Regular readers will recall that, despite the title of my blog, I do make occasional forays into non-musical theater. By recent count, in fact, my musicals-to-plays ratio for Broadway theater was about 3 to 1.
One recent play that I found particularly captivating was Tracy Letts' multiple award-winning August: Osage County. Despite the play's formidable length (3 hours and 20 minutes), I was so taken by the show that I went back to see it again. Twice. Once to see Tony winner Deanna Dunagan, who was out the first time I saw the play, and again to see Estelle Parsons. Despite knowing all the show's many surprises ahead of time, I still found the play stunning, and appreciated the many differences among the equally masterful performances from Dunagan, Parsons, and understudy Susanne Marley.
Now comes news that the Broadway production of August, alas, is closing. The show, which currently stars Phylicia Rashad, will play its last performance at New York's Music Box Theater on Sunday, June 28th. The show will have played 648 performances and 18 previews, putting it past other such successful plays as Doubt, Master Class, and Six Degrees of Separation. August has long since recouped its $2.5 million initial investment, a year ago, in fact. The show's grosses have been declining pretty steadily since peaking at about $600,000 in early 2008, and lately have been coming in a bit closer to $200,000. Even so, it's likely that the investors have made a tidy profit for themselves. That's quite a feat when you're talking about a three-hour-plus, star-less drama.
What's more, the movie version of August: Osage County is currently under development towards a projected 2011 opening. And the national tour, which will star Estelle Parsons, launches later this year, with a stop at Boston's Colonial Theater in May 2010. You can bet that I'll be seeing it again.