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August: Osage County


August: Osage County
Peoria Players
March 10-11 & 16-171 at 7:30 pm, and March 12 & 18 at 2:30 pm

What do you get when you cross an exhilarating award winning tragic comedy with an A-list local cast?  Peoria Players spring offering, August: Osage County.  This promises to be one of the highlights of 2017 local theatre. 

August: Osage County tells the dark, sometimes comical, but deeply touching story of the strong willed women of the Weston family, whose lives have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.  Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play made its Broadway debut in December 2007 after premiering at Chicago’s legendary Steppenwolf Theatre earlier that year.  It continued with a successful international run and was the winner of five Tony Awards in 2008, including Best Play.

The play is as ferociously funny as it is woundingly sad.  When the Weston family comes together unexpectedly after the patriarch Beverly, expertly portrayed by Doug Day, disappears, their crumbling (figuratively, but in some senses literally) Oklahoma home erupts with suppressed truths and troubling family secrets. This current family tragedy forces the family to confront deep-seated issues that in many ways mirror the challenges – good and bad – faced by the contemporary American family.  Time Magazine reported that August: Osage County “deserves a seat at the dinner table with the great American family plays”.

After the play appeared on Broadway, the New York Times wrote that it contained “the zip and zingy humor of a classic television situation comedy and the absorbing narrative propulsion of a juicy soap opera.”  Violet, the Weston family matriarch (Helen Engelbrecht), and eldest daughter Barbara (Wendi Fleming) carry much of the ‘juicy soap opera’ narrative, while Aunt Mattie Fae (Cheri Beever) and Uncle Charlie (Doug Orear) skillfully handle the bulk of the ‘zip and zingy humor.’ 

The remaining sisters, Ivy (Liz Jockisch) and Karen (Kayla Pulliam), bring their own problems and secrets to the already crowded dysfunctional Weston family table. 

Also appearing are Eddie Urish (Bill), Austin Travis (Steve), RJ Closen (Little Charles), Taylor Greer (Johnna), Gwyneth Mitchell (Jean) and Richard Smith (Deon Gilbeau).

I imagine that, in some way, any of these characters may remind you of your sister, your brother, your mother or your father.  Not literally, but there’s something very true, both in what Mr. Letts has written about, and in the characters this talented cast and directing team have created for you for the Peoria Players’ production.  

This anxiously awaited production is presented in three acts with one intermission. It contains adult themes and language. 

 The production dates are March 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18 at 7:30 pm, and March 12 and 19 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $14 for adults and $9 for those 20 and younger.  For reservations, please call the Peoria Players box office at (309) 688-4473 or visit  Visit Peoria Players Theatre and peek through the shuttered windows of the Weston family!  

Posted on March 7, 2017