‘Superior Donuts’ at Metropolis
Richard Cotovsky and Preston Tate, Jr., in Mary-Arrchie Theatre's "Superior Donuts," openng at Metropolis.
Mary-Arrchie Theatre, Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights
7:30 p.m., July 17-19 and July 23-26
Tickets are $25
Call (847) 577-2121, visit www.metropolisarts.com or see www.mary-arrchie.com
Updated: July 10, 2012 9:45PM
“I don’t think I sell one donut in the play,” said Richard Cotovsky. “I give away a few, but I don’t sell one donut.”
Cotovsky, the artistic director of the Mary-Arrchie Theatre, is discussing his role in “Superior Donuts,” coming to the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. Written by Tracy Letts, the serious comedy about standing up to what life has to offer, premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre in 2008, and in 2009, moved to Broadway for a limited run.
Set in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood within earshot of the Wilson Avenue El station, “Superior Donuts” examines the lives and dreams of a handful of locals who hang out in a failing business, including plays the shop’s owner Arthur Przybyszewski, a leftover radical from the ’60s, and his modern, energetic, yet troubled African-American assistant, Franco Weeks, who has strong ideas about healthy eating.
Cotovsky noted that back in the 1980s, there was a donut shop right under the El tracks on Broadway just north of Wilson, in the heart of Uptown. An inspiration, perhaps?
“I don’t think this actual donut shop ever existed, but it probably wouldn’t have been a bad idea,” he suggested.
“Superior Donuts” is part of the Best Of Chicago Series, a new series at Metropolis that brings shows originally produced in Chicago by independent theaters to Arlington Heights. “Superior Donuts” ran from March-May of this year at Mary-Arrchie Theatre in Chicago. It was nominated for four Jeff Awards, including best production and best actor.
Joining the acting ensemble of nine cast members will be 60 donuts on stage.
“The ones that get eaten are fresh,” said Cotovsky. “Donuts are funny things, they don’t go bad, they just get hard. They kind of preserve themselves. So you can make a donut last a long time, if you just have to look at it.”
Cotovsky said there will be a variety of donuts in the production.
“A cinnamon donut is mentioned but most of them will be chocolate cake with chocolate frosting — that’s my favorite.”
The production is directed by Matt Miller and will feature most of the cast of the recent Mary-Arrchie production including Cotovsky and Preston Tate, Jr., as Franco Weeks.
Cotovsky originated the role of Arthur in a 2008 Steppenwolf Theatre workshop production, and remembers those early days.
“Tracy Letts was involved with ‘August: Osage County’ in New York, right up until rehearsals started,” he said. “The day of the first read-through of ‘Superior Donuts’ was the day he got the Pulitzer Prize for ‘Osage County.’ ”
Cotovsky, a Chicago native and Jeff Award winner, has been the artistic director at Mary-Arrchie Theatres for the past 26 years.
“Superior Donuts” ran at the Mary-Arrchie Theatre for 12 weeks with mostly sold-out shows. It comes to Arlington Heights thanks to Metropolis artistic director Robin Hughes, who acted in the 2005 Mary-Arrchie production of “Sea Marks.”
“We went to see Robin’s production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Metropolis,” said Cotovsky. “After the show we talked about what if we brought a show out to the ’burbs and let them have a taste of what is going on in the city.”
So now they will — chocolate, with chocolate frosting.