Cathie Drakulich, director of Chicago Heights’ Drama Group’s production of “Superior Donuts,” couldn’t wait to take a bite out of acclaimed Chicagoland-based author Tracy Letts play for both herself and the actors she cast.
“I love the way Tracy Letts deals with neighborhood communities and flushing out these characters to seem like real people,” she said. “When I saw this show, I instantly felt ‘I know these people.’ I can tell you in my life what their names would’ve been. They’re so life-like and so authentic, and I think it’s an actor’s dream to flush out characters that are so well-written.”
Running Feb. 15 through 24 at Drama Group’s Studio Theatre, “Donuts” tells the story of Arthur, an aging former activist and owner of a donut shop in Chicago’s eclectic Uptown neighborhood, who finds new meaning in his life when he befriends and employs Franco, an ambitious but struggling teenager.
“Donuts” was penned by Pulitzer Prize winning, Chicago-based writer and performer Tracy Letts. The play made its debut at his home base, Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, in 2008 and made its way to Broadway a year later, where thesp Jon Michael Hill received a Tony nomination for his role as Franco.
“It’s a wonderful story about community and the power of redemption,” Drakulich said. “Through their friendship, (Arthur and Franco) basically save each other … the story is filled with so much promise and good intentions.”
Leading Drama Group’s production of “Donuts” are Chuck Cairns from Park Forest as Arthur and Cameron Mosberry from Flossmoor as Franco. They are joined onstage by Desiree Chapleau from Chicago Heights as Randy, the neighborhood police officer, James Kenjorski from Chicago as shop regular Luther, Paul E. Milord from Lansing as regular Max and Beecher’s Karen Cassin as a neighborhood bag lady.
“The cast is marvelous,” Drakulich said. “We lucked out. They’re just phenomenal.”
Tickets for Drama Group’s production of “Donuts are two for $12 in conjunction with their “Community Outreach” program, which is being held throughout their current season. Attendees are encouraged to bring perishable food items to the performance, which will be donated to an area food pantry.
Next up for Drama Group is a production of the musical “The Wiz,” scheduled to run May 3 through 5 at Bloom Theatre, 101 W. 10th St., Chicago Heights.