For WaterTower Theatre's first local production of August: Osage County, the Pulitzer-winning drama by Tracy Letts, director René Moreno sticks with the star of his acclaimed 2011 Oklahoma City production, longtime Dallas actress Pam Dougherty, in the lead as matriarch Violet Weston.
She co-starred in 2009 as "Big Edie" in WaterTower's local premiere of the musical Grey Gardens, was featured last fall in Dallas Theater Center's To Kill a Mockingbird and made many critics' year-end "best" lists for her performance last year in Roads to Home, Theatre Three's entry in the citywide Horton Foote festival.
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The Osage County cast: Cliff Stephens as Beverly Weston; Sherry Jo Ward as Barbara Fordham; James Crawford as Bill Fordham; Ruby Westfall as Jean Fordham; Kristin McCollum as Ivy Weston; Jessica Cavanagh as Karen Weston; Nancy A. Sherrard as Mattie Fae Aiken; Tom Lenaghen as Charlie Aiken; Clay Yocum as Little Charles Aiken; Sasha Truman-McGonnell as Johnna Monevata; Chris Hury as Steve Heidebrecht; and Stan Graner as Sheriff Deon Gilbeau.
Ward, Lenaghen, Truman-McGonnell and Hury will be making their WaterTower debuts, though they've been seen on other stages. Hury played the title role in Shakespeare Dallas' Cyrano last summer. Crawford, a drama professor at SMU, has acted at Dallas Theater Center and was most recently seen at WaterTower as half of the two-actor comedy Shooting Star last summer. Stephens acts frequently for One-Thirty Productions. Sherrard has worked at WaterTower, WingSpan, Stage West and Contemporary Theatre of Dallas. Westfall, the youngest member of the Osage County cast, was in WaterTower's recent production of Spring Awakening.
Letts' play, set in a large Oklahoma house in the dead of summer, finds the Weston clan coming together after the disappearance of the family's patriarch, a once-famous poet. As alcohol is consumed and ugly truths revealed, mother Violet, a pill-popping monster, is forced to confront her troubled offspring. This dark, hilarious and disturbing play won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play the same year. The national tour of Osage County came to the Winspear Opera House in January 2010, starring Estelle Parsons as Violet.
The creative team for the WaterTower production includes set designer Rodney Dobbs, costumer Barbara Cox, lighting designer Jason S. Foster, props master Georgana Jinks and stage manager Heidi Shen.
August: Osage County opens in previews Friday, March 30; pay-what-you-can performance is Sunday, April 1; and official opening is Monday, April 2, running through Sunday, April 22. For tickets, call 972-450-6232.