August: Osage County | Cadillac Palace Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

August: Osage County New Review (Theater and Comedy) The Short List (Theater) Recommended Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Feb. 14 2010

If you were blown away by the original Steppenwolf production of Tracy Letts’s Pulitzer Prize-winner, there are a few things you'll have to get used to about this touring version. First and foremost: No Deanna Dunagan. And no Dunagan-esque pyrotechnics, either. Estelle Parsons doesn't attempt to match the hellfire ferocity her predecessor brought to the role of hopped-up Oklahoma matriarch Violet Weston. Except when she's protecting her stash of downers, Parsons's Violet is slower, quieter, more apt to let a bit of viciousness just slip off her tongue than howl it out. The drawback to her approach is that this Violet comes off as more of a garden-variety junkie than the Medusa Dunagan created; she doesn't invite the rage her daughters direct at her or motivate the catfight that's a centerpiece of the action. She's more lost, and--weirdly--more loving. The substitutions in other roles ring striking variations, as well. But Letts's grand melodrama remains an exhausting hoot--halfway between Greek tragedy and an episode of The Big Valley. --Tony Adler

Price: $22.50-$122.50



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