BROADWAY RECALL: Letts Review

BROADWAY-RECALL-Letts-Review-20010101Welcome to BROADWAY RECALL, a bi-monthly column where BroadwayWorld.com's Chief Theatre Critic, Michael Dale, delves into the archives and explores the stories behind the well-known and the not so well-known videos and photographs of Broadway's past. Look for BROADWAY RECALL every other Saturday.

Playwright/actors like Noel Coward, George M. Cohan and Charles Ludlum were known for appearing in their own works, but it's not as frequent to see a well-known playwright appear in a piece by someone else.  In recent years Broadway has seen Michael Christofer in A View From The Bridge and Harvey Fierstein in A Catered Affair, and now Tracy Letts tackles the tempestuous role of George opposite Amy Morton's Martha in the Edward Albee classic, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

The production originated in 2010 at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where Letts has spent many years as an ensemble member and associate artist.  Here's a clip from when it first opened two years ago.

 

Of course, in New York Tracy Letts is more known for his writing than his acting, particularly after the Broadway premiere of August: Osage County.

Superior Donuts did not enjoy the same success on Broadway as its predecessor, but it proved to be a heartfelt drama about the friendship between a former hippie and a brash young writer, set in a fading neighborhood evolving into the sameness of gentrification.

 

New Yorkers first got a taste of Tracy Letts back in 1994, with the 29th Street Rep's production of Killer Joe.  This brutal drama/dark comedy about a screwed-up family, a life insurance policy and a hit man has been produced all over the country and was recently made into a motion picture.

 

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Michael Dale After 20-odd years singing, dancing and acting in dinner theatres, summer stocks and the ever-popular audience participation murder mysteries (try improvising with audiences after they?ve had two hours of open bar), Michael Dale segued his theatrical ambitions into playwriting. The buildings which once housed the 5 Off-Off Broadway plays he penned have all been destroyed or turned into a Starbucks, but his name remains the answer to the trivia question, "Who wrote the official play of Babe Ruth's 100th Birthday?" He served as Artistic Director for The Play's The Thing Theatre Company, helping to bring free live theatre to underserved communities, and dabbled a bit in stage managing and in directing cabaret shows before answering the call (it was an email, actually) to become BroadwayWorld.com's first Chief Theatre Critic. While not attending shows Michael can be seen at Citi Field pleading for the Mets to stop imploding. Likes: Strong book musicals and ambitious new works. Dislikes: Unprepared celebrities making their stage acting debuts by starring on Broadway and weak bullpens.