Six interesting tidbits about the hit show
October 10-27 at Shea’s 710 Main
Produced by Road Less Traveled Productions
1) Synopsis: In Uptown Chicago, Arthur Przybyszewski owns a run-down doughnut shop he inherited from his immigrant father. His sole employee, Franco Wicks, a young African-American teenager, has visions of improving the shop and helps Arthur attract the attention of a female cop.
2) Though some critics decried the play’s bent toward sitcom, CBS embraced it by creating an actual sitcom, which starred Judd Hirsch and Jermaine Fowler as Arthur and Franco, and ran for two seasons in 2017-18.
3) In an interview with late Steppenwolf artistic director Martha Lavey, playwright Tracy Letts said of the spark for Superior Donuts, “I’ve lived in Chicago for twenty-two years now, which is longer than I lived in Oklahoma. All of my plays previous to Superior Donuts have been set in the Plains. [Pulitzer-Prize-winning] August: Osage County was such a catharsis for me and my family that I felt a real need to put that part of the country behind me for now. I wanted to explore my current home.
4) Starring Michael McKean and Jon Michael Hill, Superior Donuts premiered at Steppenwolf in 2008, then moved the cast to Broadway in 2009. Though the New York run was brief—just three months—the show nonetheless made a big showing at major regional theaters.
5) This is the second production of Superior Donuts for Road Less Traveled Productions, which had a sell-out hit of the show in its Market Arcade space in 2011. Steve Jakiel reprises Arthur in this iteration, and Jake Hayes plays Franco, who was played by Barry Williams in 2011.
6) What they said: “This is most definitely Letts in a mild, even slightly sentimental mode, although he has such a penchant for dark edges that even his comic work comes with physical and emotional injury.”– Steven Oxman, Variety, 2008