Tracy Letts, best known for his 2007 Broadway debut “August: Osage County,” is back on Broadway with his latest offering, “Superior Donuts.” The comedy-drama opened last night, October 1, at the city’s Music Box Theatre after two weeks of previews.
The Tina Landau-directed play runs two hours and fifteen minutes, which includes a 15-minute intermission. The plot follows the relationship of stagnant-but-lovable donut shop owner Arthur Przybyszewski (played by Michael McKean) and young upstart Franco Wicks (Jon Michael Hill, in his Broadway debut), as well as a cast of other colorful characters against the backdrop of Uptown Chicago.
The play is booked into an open-ended run at the Music Box, which previously housed Letts’ blockbuster “Osage County” up to its closing in June. Since previews for “Superior Donuts” began September 16, attendance has been steady at about 80 percent capacity for the 998-seat theater. However, its box office gross has been relatively low — just over $261,000 — with attendees paying an average of just $40 per ticket, though select premium tickets top out at $250 apiece.
Most critics have compared “Superior Donuts” to a sitcom, both in terms of its pace and occasional predictability of plot. But overall response has been positive, with praise directed at Letts’ restraint and grace in writing, as well as the ease given to the production by its director and actors.
The long-term draw for “Donuts” is a toss-up. Critics have been kind, but audiences’ demand for anything less than the over-the-top “Osage” remains to be seen.
“Superior Donuts” follows the usual Broadway scheduling with evening performances on Tuesday at 7 p.m., and Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. Matinees are Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Music Box Theatre is located at 239 West 45th Street. More details about “Superior Donuts” are available on the production’s official Web site.
Opening Night: ‘Superior Donuts’
|Variety||David Rooney||“The writing is often formulaic and the conclusion contrived, but ‘Superior Donuts’ is a soulful play, full of humor and humanity.”|
|New York Times||Charles Isherwood||“…a warm bath of a play that will leave Broadway audiences with satisfied smiles rather than rattled nerves.”|
|The Los Angeles Times||Charles McNulty||“… character centered, socially and politically alert, and, for all the formulaic plotting, brightly entertaining and even occasionally surprising.”|
|USA Today||Elysa Gardner||“No one who has studied Letts’ writing could say that the guy doesn’t have a heart, but he has never worn it on his sleeve as unabashedly as he does here.”|
|Newsday||Linda Winer||“…a sentimental, safely old-fashioned, surprisingly creaky rescue-fantasy and urban soaper.”|
|TheaterMania.com||Dan Bacalzo||“This engaging play is a kinder, gentler work that is full of hope and the possibilities for human connection.”|