AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY to Play Mesa Arts Center, 1/31-2/9

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY to Play Mesa Arts Center, 1/31-2/9

Think fast....your alcoholic father has vanished, your mother is a paranoid pill popper, and the remaining family members have sunk into a depth of dysfunction of epic proportions and harbor shady little secrets--where are you? No, not immersed in another Real Housewives episode in any given city--but you are at the Mesa Arts Center as Mesa Encore Theatre proudly presents one of the best pieces of American dramatic theatre in a decade, August: Osage County! Written by the 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts, this epic Tony Award Best Play storms the stage at the Mesa Arts Center, located at 1 East Main Street, from Jan 31 through February 9. Tickets can be obtained by visiting or by calling the box office at 480-644-6500.

Directed by Arizona's own Phillip Fazio, August: Osage County presents a bleak, yet insightful vision of the American family through this hilarious and harrowing tale of life, death, and familial strife--sure to shake audiences to their core! When the Weston family unexpectedly reunites after Dad disappears, this Oklahoma family explodes in a maelstrom of repressed truths. August: Osage County unflinchingly-and uproariously-exposes the dark underbelly of a scathingly splintered family as they simmer behind closed doors. You might not find yourself familial strife--sure to shake audiences to their core! When the Weston family unexpectedly wishing you were a member of the Weston clan, but you'll likely recognize something of your own family in them!

Director Fazio says of his production, "I couldn't be more excited about directing August: Osage County for Mesa Encore Theatre. I have been dying to direct this play ever since I caught a preview performance on Broadway in November 2007. To finally get the opportunity to tackle this magnificent play with such a brilliant ensemble of actors is truly a dream come true!" Fazio continues "August: Osage County is that rare combination of a riveting drama and laugh-out- loud comedy-a unique and powerful piece of theatre that leaves the audience spellbound. I have no doubt that this play will go down as one of the great American classics such as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and A Long Day's Journey Into Night."

Appearing as the unflinchingly uproarious Violet Weston, is actress Shari Watts-who was named by the Phoenix New Times as the 2011 Best Actress of the Year for her portrayal of Big Edie in Tempe Little Theater's production of Grey Gardens: The Musical. Watts has also appeared in Our Town at Phoenix Theatre, Sons of the Prophet with Stray Cat Theatre, and A Devil Inside with Nearly Naked Theatre.

Director Fazio's credits span New York, Arizona, Massachusetts, California, and Washington. His NYC Directing Credits include Super Ben! (Think Theater Project), Leslie and Ben Save the World! (Think Theater Project), The Real Life (Identity Theater Company), and Gay Camp (Fringe NYC and Duplex Cabaret). Fazio was also Assistant Director for the Mark Taper Forum production of Pippin (Directed by Tony Award Nominee Jeff Calhoun). His Mesa Encore Theatre Directing credits are: Next to Normal, Spring Awakening, Proof, Rent, West Side Story, Cabaret, and The Last Five Years. Other Arizona Directing credits include Ragtime (Theater Works), Alice in Wonderland (Phoenix Theatre Cookie Company), The Quiltmaker's Gift (Phoenix Theatre Cookie Company), Smokey Joe's Cafe (Black Theatre Troupe), and Grey Gardens (Tempe Little Theatre). Fazio holds a BFA in Musical Theatre/Directing from The Boston Conservatory and was an Artist in Residence at Phoenix Theatre from 2005-2008. He is a proud member of the Actor's Equity Association and Lincoln Center Theatre Director's Lab.

Pictured: Christi Sweeney, Shari Watts, and Brenda Jean Foley. Photo by Sarah Rodgers.

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