Tag Archives: August Osage County

“August: Osage County” in The Grand Rapids Press

Here it is – The Grand Rapids Press review of August: Osage County! They give it 3.5 out of 4 stars.

Review: ‘August: Osage County’ thoughtfully mixes wrenching story of family with doses of hilarity’

Published: Friday, May 18, 2012, 7:10 AM<

Actors’ Theatre performs “August: Osage County” by Tracy Letts at a final dress rehearsal Wednesday, May 16, at Spectrum Theater. (Photo credit: Katie Greene | MLive.com)

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — It’s hard to imagine a family more messed up than the Westons of Osage County, Oklahoma. For over three hours, a full house at Spectrum Theatre Thursday night absorbed the blow by blow of a loony mother, a quiet father, and their three unhappy, angry daughters as the family gathers one more time.

Sounds dark, and “August: Osage County” is pitch dark at times. Yet you don’t leave feeling depressed, but rather thoughtful, and so enthralled it’s a shock when the house lights come on. Actors’ Theatre’s production was masterful, a disturbing and wrenching story leavened by great doses of hilarity and wit.


Read the rest of the review and see more photos of the show by Katie Greene on www.mlive.com.

Get tickets and more information about August: Osage County at www.atgr.org or check out our Facebook page.

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“August: Osage County” Opens Tonight!

August: Osage County by Tracy Letts

August: Osage County by Tracy Letts
May 17-26, 2012

Dad has vanished… Mom is addicted to prescription pills… Three sisters, each harboring shady secrets… The large Weston family comes together when Dad disappears, and the homestead explodes in a storm of repressed truths and unsettling secrets. August: Osage County unflinchingly—and uproariously—exposes a Midwestern American family…and its dark side!

Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Please Note:  Performances for this production have a scheduled curtain of 7PM rather than the normally scheduled 8PM performance time.

“…flat out, no asterisks and without qualifications, the most exiting new American play Broadway has seen in years!”
-The New York Times

“…a blast of truth and sin”
-Chicago Tribune

“Letts brings to the task of demolition, not just the wrecker’s ball but the joker’s mask.”
-The Guardian (London)

Jean Reed Bahle (Violet Weston)

Jean Reed Bahle Photo

Jean has been involved with the arts in West Michigan for over 30 years; primarily as an actor, director and teacher. Jean is also a free-lance talent in radio, TV and Industrial films. She has conducted numerous workshops in acting and writing in area schools and various non-profits. Jean has taught theatre courses at GRCC, Aquinas and since 1994 has served in the theatre department at Hope College. Her stage works includes Circle Theatre, Civic Theatre, Hope Summer Repertory and most prominently with Actors’ Theatre; where she has garnered Grand Awards for both acting and directing. Favorite roles include Lettice in Lettice and Lovage at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Phyllis in Follies at Circle Theatre and Queen Elizabeth in Elizabeth Rex at Actors’ Theatre. She has also been a devising team member for Actors’ ethnographies Seven Passage: The Stories of Gay Christians and last seasons Lines: the Lived Experience of Race. Last year she was honored as the recipient of Actors’ Theatre’s Spotlight Award.

Dave Benson (Sheriff Deon Gilbeau)

Dave Benson Photo

Dave is appearing in his first show at Actors’ Theatre. Around 1981, Dave was cast in Our Town with the GRJC players and was directed by some guy named Fred Sebulske.  After a long absence from the stage, he was pulled back in recently when he was cast as Editor Webb in Civic Theater’s production of Our Town.  Since then he has been cast in Charlotte’s Web and Harvey, both at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre.

Jim Chervenka (Charlie Aiken)

Jim Chervenka Photo

Jim is making his debut performance at Actors’ Theatre. Jim’s “Acting career” has been closely related with Misters Sebulske and Dreher. Jim worked with Fred Sebulske at Circle Theatre in Jimmy Shine and 6RmsRivVu. He then was enticed by Paul Dreher to stage manage for him with parts in The Night of the Iguana andSummer and Smoke at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. Paul also put Jim on stage at Civic in both A Streetcar Named Desire and Mr. Roberts when other actors dropped out of these productions last minute. Jim has also been seen in Heritage Theatre Group’s productions of The Lady’s Not for BurningMirandelina and The Fantasticks. August: Osage County marks Jim’s first production since his retirement as the Technical Director for the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre.

Paul Dreher (Beverly Weston)

Paul Dreher Photo

Paul is returning to the stage for the first time in many years. Since retiring from his position as the Managing Artistic Director of the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, a position he held for thirty-nine years, Paul has enjoyed working with most of the community and college theatres in the area.  He has directed and/or designed lighting for Circle Theatre, Jewish Theatre, Heritage Theatre, GR Community College, Calvin College, Aquinas College and Civic Theatre.

Cassandra Caye (Karen Weston)

Cassandra Caye Photo

Cassandra (CiCi) is the winner of three Grand Awards and has been seen as Roxie in Chicago, Claudia in NINE,  Hope Cladwell inUrinetown, Guinevere in Camelot, Rosialia in West Side Story, Daisy Hilton (joined at the hip with hero and sister Ellie) inSideshow, Jeannie in Fat Pig, and Dot in Sunday in the Park with George.  A professional actor and singer, she keeps busy with film roles, modeling, voice-over work, and obtaining her birth doula certification.

Lauren Greer (Johnna Monevata)

Lauren Greer Photo

Lauren was last seen at Actors’ in the 2011 production of Opus and is grateful for the chance to help tell this story. She is a graduate of the theatre program at Aquinas College, and has been acting and designing locally for the past few years. Lauren is an avid tea drinker and chocolate eater.

Teri Kuhlman (Mattie Fae Aiken)

Teri Kuhlman Photo

Teri was last seen at Actors’ as the Bearded Lady in Side Show(2007) and as Mama in Kiss of the Spider Woman (2006).  Over the past seven years Teri has had the pleasure of participating in several other Grand Rapids theater productions. In 2005, she was awarded the Grand Rapids Civics, Kopka Award, for “new comer of the year” where she most recently played Mrs. Gibbs in Our Town(2010). Other credits include Mrs. Jones in Circle Theatre’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (2011), and Vashti in Esther: The Musical with Jewish Theater (2009).  She majored in Theater at Kalamazoo College and today enjoys a successful career as the Director of Human Resources for Infrastructure Alternatives in Rockford.

Andrew J. McClelland (“Little” Charles Aiken)

Andrew McClelland Photo

Andrew is thrilled and honored to be making his first appearance at Actors’ Theatre. His recent theatre credits include AntigoneThe Wednesday WarsHamlet, Sense and SensibilityArcadia (for which he received a Grand Award Nomination) at Calvin College and Milosevic at the Hague at the Joakiminterfest in Kragujevac, Serbia. Andrew is graduating from Calvin College this year with a B.A. in Theater. He is going to continue acting and perhaps pursuing a Masters Degree in Performance.

Amy Osborn (Barbara Fordham)

Amy Osborn Photo

Amy was recently seen as an ensemble member of Actors’ production of Next Fall playing, Arlene. Other recent credits include Circle Theatre’s Funny Money and Noises Off and Construction Zone Productions’ Women and Wallace. She first worked with director Fred Sebulske in 1984 and last worked with him 12 years ago in Actors’ production of Sideman.  Amy has been nominated for seven Grand Awards and has won three times for her work in The Heiress (Civic), Kimberly Akimbo (Actors’) and Noises Off(Circle).

Lizzy Sulkowski (Jean Fordham)

Lizzy Sulkowski PhotoLizzy is a graduate of Aquinas College with a degree in Theatre. Past credits include: Arabian Nights, The Misanthrope, Dimly Perceived Threats to the System, Hecuba, Esperanza Rising, Rising Sun/Rising Moon, Life is a Dream, Matt & Ben, Goodnight Desdemona/Goodmorning Juliet, all at Aquinas College. Past community credits include: Mirandolina, Noises Off!, The Little Dog Laughed, Distracted and Women and Wallace.

Steve Taber (Bill Fordham)

Steve Taber Photo

Steve is a charter member of Actors’ Theatre, having appeared in the first season production of Whose Life is it Anyway?  His favorite Actors’ shows are Fifth of JulyRecklessAll in the Timing,Our Country’s GoodA Man of No ImportanceAgnes of God(Which he wasn’t in but saw three times.) and both productions ofAssassins. (One of which earned him a Grand Award Nomination.) He has directed Actors’ Productions of Lone StarTomfoolery,Brown Red YellowT-Bone and Weasel and co-directed Tent Meeting with Fred Sebulske.

Neil P. Trevisan (Steve Heidebrecht)

Neil Trevisan Photo

Neil has been seen in past Actors’ Theatre productions as Molina inKiss of the Spider Woman, Frank N Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Jeffrey in Jeffrey, Whizzer in Falsettos, a news paper reporter in Floyd Collins and Charles Guiteau in Assassins (2005). Other favorite local theatre credits include: Bert Healy in Annie at Circle Theatre and Captain Hook in Peter Pan at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. When he’s not on stage, Neil is a hairdresser at Nona’s Salon in Eastown.

Michelle Urbane (Ivy Weston)

Michelle Urbane Photo

Michelle was last seen on stage with Actors’ Theatre as Helen in Fat Pig (2007). Her directing credits with Actors’ Theatre include: The Sweetest Swing in Baseball and Mr. Marmalade. Other area directing credits include: For Better for GRCC Players, Steel Magnolias for Circle Theatre and The Awesome 80’s Prom for the.theatre.project. She has also worked on stage with Circle Theatre, Mason Street Warehouse, The Heritage Theatre Group, Ransom Note Entertainment, and KMR Diversity Theatre.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.atgr.org

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Actors’ “August: Osage County” in On the Town

Check out this article by Joanne Bailey that was published by On the Town:

Actors’ closes out its season with the powerful ‘August: Osage County’

Joanne N. Bailey-Boorsma | On-the-Town By Joanne N. Bailey-Boorsma | On-the-Town 

All in a row: Cassandra Caye, Shelly Urbane, Amy Osborn, and Jean Reed Bahle. Photo credit: Stephanie Larson

Some of the great plays of the last century (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Death of a Salesman) are epic productions where everyone leaves entertained but rethinking their values. Surprisingly, all of these stories are about families in crisis. It’s a favorite subject of playwrights because, while family forges our beliefs, it also tests them when things are tough. This month, Actors’ Theatre’s latest production,August: Osage County, looks It’s summer in Oklahoma and poet Beverly Weston has disappeared. When his adult daughters come home to help their seriously ill mother, Violet, find him, they instead discover themselves at the mercy of their mother’s slick tongue, stash of painkillers, and arsenal of family secrets.

When August: Osage County premiered at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, it captivated audiences, critics, and performers. After it opened on Broadway and in London, the play also had subsequent premieres in India, Israel, and other countries. It won both a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for Best Play in 2008 and Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Even with a run time of three and a half hours, Tracy Letts’s 2007 drama of Southern-fried familial dysfunction went by in one lightning-fast jolt of pure theatrical electricity.”

It’s the same feeling that director Fred Sebulske had after seeing it in New York. “I turned to my friend and told him that I could watch that all over again,” he said.

Sebulske feels that audiences and as well as performers are drawn to the show because its conflicts (and its comedy) are universal. “It’s a very powerful piece about family and how the things that parents have done have impacted their children,” Sebulske continued. “I’m amazed that this is a very funny play, even though we’re dealing with a serious subject. It’s got great wit and humor. It truly is an epic piece of theater.”

Actors’ Theatre presents August: Osage County May 17—26. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursday—Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 20. Performances are at Spectrum Theater, 160 Fountain St. NE. For more information, call 234-3946 or visit www.actorstheatregrandrapids.org

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Up Next – “August: Osage County”

Actors' Theatre

Opening on May 17th at Actors’ Theatre is the Pulitzer Prize winning play August: Osage County. Charles Isherwood of the New York Times had this to say about it:

“August” is probably the most exciting new American play Broadway has seen in years. Oh, forget probably: It is, flat-out, no asterisks and without qualifications, the most exciting new American play Broadway has seen in years.

(Read the rest of the review on nytimes.com)

Meet the Playwright and Director:

Tracy Letts, Playwright

Tracy Letts has been a Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble member since 2002. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for August: Osage County, which played on Broadway for over a year, following a sold-out run at Steppenwolf in 2007. August also enjoyed a sold-out engagement at London’s National Theatre and a U.S. National Tour in summer 2009. Other accolades include five Tony Awards (including Best Play), an Olivier Award and six Jeff Awards (including Best Play). Mr. Letts is also the author of Superior Donuts, which had its world premiere at Steppenwolf in 2008 and opened on Broadway in 2009; Man from Nebraska, which was produced at Steppenwolf in 2003 and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize; Killer Joe, which has been produced in Chicago, London and New York; and Bug, which has played in New York, Chicago and London. He has appeared at Steppenwolf in Betrayal, The Pillowman, Last of the Boys, The Pain and the Itch, The Dresser, Homebody/Kabul, The Dazzle, Glengarry Glen Ross (also in Dublin and Toronto), Three Days of Rain, Road to Nirvana, Picasso at the Lapin Agile and the Steppenwolf for Young Adults production of The Glass Menagerie. He recently appeared in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, directed by ensemble member Amy Morton.

Fred Sebulske, Director

August: Osage County marks Fred’s 57th directed production for Actors’ Theatre. Among his many awards and accolades, he is the recipient of 10 Grand Awards for outstanding direction, the Norma Brink Lifetime Achievement Award and the Arts Council Arts Award.

Fred is the founder of Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids.

Learn more and get your tickets at www.atgr.org!

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Auditions for “August: Osage County” This Weekend!

Director: Fred Sebulske
13 (6 Men/7 Woman)
Audition Dates:
March 24-25, 2012 – 2PM-5PM1, Spectrum Theater
Production Dates:
May 17-26, 2012
Dad has vanished… Mom is addicted to prescription pills… Three sisters, each harboring shady secrets… The large Weston family comes together when Dad disappears, and the homestead explodes in a storm of repressed truths and unsettling secrets. August: Osage County unflinchingly—and uproariously—exposes a Midwestern American family…and it’s dark side! Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
[Explore August:Osage...]

Script Perusal

Scripts will be available for checkout from the Actors’ Theatre Business office. A $10 deposit is required upon checkout. Scripts may also be available for purchase at fine area book stores, including Schuler Books and Music. Scripts may be checked out for a period no longer than 4 days and must be returned by noon on the Friday before the first audition dates for the production.

Beverly Weston (60’s-70’s)- Patriarch of the Weston family. Alcoholic and former poet.

Violet Weston (60’s-70’s) – Matriarch of the Weston family. Addicted to several prescription drugs.

Barbara Fordham (40’s-50’s) The Oldest daughter of the Weston Family, age 46. Mother of Jean and wife of Bill.

Ivy Weston (40’s) Middle daughter of the Weston family, age 44. The only daughter to stay in Oklahoma, she teaches at the local college.

Karen Weston (30’s-40’s) Youngest daughter in the Weston family.

Bill Fordham (40’s-50’s) Barbara’s estranged husband and Jean’s father. A college professor who is sleeping with one of his students.

Jean Fordham – Bill and Barbara’s 14-year-old daughter. She smokes pot and cigarettes, is a vegetarian and loves old movies.

Steve Heidebrecht – (50’s) Karen’s fiancé. A businessman in Florida (or possibly a Middle East arms dealer).

Mattie Fae Aiken (50’s-60’s) – Violet’s sister, Charlie’s wife and Little Charles’ mother.

Charlie Aiken (50’s-60’s) Husband of Mattie and the presumed father of Little Charles.

Little Charles (30’s-40’s) – His mother calls him a “screw-up”, which may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. He is secretly having an affair with his “cousin” Ivy.

Johnna Monevata (20’s-30’s) – Cheyenne Indian woman whom Beverly hires before he disappears.

Sheriff Deon Gilbeau (40’s-50’s) High-school classmate and former boyfriend of Barbara’s.


1Auditions begin at the time posted but may end earlier than posted, per the director’s discretion. We therefore recommend that you arrive as close to the starting time as possible. If you are unable to attend at this time, please call Actors’ Theatre at (616) 234-3968. We may be able to arrange an appointment time to accommodate you.

Statement of Inclusive Casting

As part of its mission of inclusion and in order to receive benefit from the rich diversity of our community, Actors’ Theatre is committed to casting all productions without bias towards race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or political affiliation. Productions will be cast accordingly. Except when necessary to the intent or message of the work, Actors’ Theatre and its artistic staff will cast productions, for all roles, without regard for race and, whenever possible, gender.

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