The producers of August: Osage County, which won Chicago playwright Tracy Letts a Pulitzer Prize, have announced casting for the show’s touring edition. Oscar winner Estelle Parsons will play Violet Weston, drugged-out matriarch of an Oklahoma family–the role Deanna Dunagan created in the play’s world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre. Dunagan repeated the role when the show moved to Broadway–winning a best-actress Tony–and then London. Parsons took it over from Dunagan on Broadway; last month, she was replaced by Phylicia Rashad.
Parsons has previously appeared in Chicago in a number of shows, including the black comedy Miss Margarida’s Way at the old Goodman studio in 1982, Your Home in the West (1991) and Talking Heads (1992) at Steppenwolf, and Splinter Group’s 1996 Buckets o’ Beckett festival. The touring August features a number of other actors with strong Chicago credentials, including Shannon Cochran (in the role created by Steppenwolf’s Amy Morton), Steve Key, Jeff Still, and Bryn Magnus. It’s being directed by Steppenwolf member Anna D. Shapiro, who directed the original and Broadway productions, and won a Tony for best direction.
The show will play here at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, February 2-12. Meanwhile, the New York production is still running at the Music Box Theatre. On June 6, it played its 640th performance, surpassing two long-running Tony winners, A Man for All Seasons and Auntie Mame. However, it still has a ways to go before it surpasses the record of 3,224 performances for a non-musical play set by Life With Father.