Playwright Tracy Letts had fun with sharply drawn urban characters in his Chicago-based comedy-drama Superior Donuts, opening March 21 at the Village Theatre Guild in Glen Ellyn. But he also explored notions of hope versus hopelessness across different generations, races and visions of the American Dream. Tickets for the March 21 through April 13 run are available by calling 630-469-8230.
Superior Donuts is set in a run-down donut shop in Chicago’s slowly gentrifying Uptown neighborhood. The proprietor is Arthur Przybyszewski, an aging hippie draft dodger who has lost all fight, played by Peter Simon of the village of Manhattan. When he hires young Franco Wicks, a hustling African-American assistant portrayed by Cameron Moseberry of Chicago, he finds himself challenged to add music, healthy foods and a trendier atmosphere. Despite differences, their unlikely relationship grows.
Max Tarasov, a Russian immigrant who wants to buy Arthur’s shop to expand his video store next door, is played by Rob Reinalda of Mt. Prospect. Cornelius Henderson of Chicago plays Officer James Bailey, a beat cop who is a donut regular. Debbie Roberts of Lockport plays Officer Randy Osteen, also a beat cop who happens to have a crush on Arthur. Lynn Walsh of Highland Park portrays Lady Boyle, a homeless woman with a drinking problem.
Other colorful characters include a couple of Irish-American thugs, Luther Flynn played by Bill Hyland of Glen Ellyn and Kevin Magee played by Charley Kennett of Brookfield. Rounding out the cast is Max’s nephew Kiril Ivakin, a Russian strongman played by Serghei Gobjila of Des Plaines.
Director Judy DiVita of Naperville noted that Superior Donuts is a significant departure from Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize/Tony Award winning August: Osage County. But like its predecessor, Superior Donuts also received its debut at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre before opening on Broadway in 2009 to much acclaim.
The production team is headed by producer and business manager Renata Allelujka of Downers Grove and stage managed by Linda Rodemaker of Naperville. Katie Pucillo of Algonquin is fight choreographer.
Mike Huth of LaGrange Park designed the set, and Kimberlee Puccio of Naperville chairs the decorating crew. Steven Merkel of Downers Grove heads set construction and handles photography for social media and publicity. Lighting design is by Jim VandeVelde of Villa Park, and the lighting crew is chaired by Barb Burghardt of Elmhurst. Craig Gustafson of Lombard is in charge of sound.
Other crew positions include Ginger Terlep of Naperville working with props, Lynn Walsh of Highland Park coordinating costumes, and Robert Lundin and Lee McFadden, both of Glen Ellyn, in charge of publicity. Anita Vigilante of Elmhurst handles graphic design, and Kathy Cornell of Glen Ellyn writes program copy. The Star Board is by Sue Benner of Wheaton. Maggie Fredricks of Glen Ellyn is in charge tickets, and Lisa Savegnago of Carol Stream heads the house/hospitality crew.
Friday and Saturday performances from March 21 through April 13 are at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Tickets are $18. The Village Theatre Guild is located near the northwest corner of Park Blvd. and Butterfield Rd. in Glen Ellyn. For reservations call 630-469-8230 or visit the VTG website at www.villagetheatreguild.org.