The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis Presents AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY March 19th - April 7th

Broadway World Interview with Director Amelia Acosta Powell and Actor Astrid Van Wieren

By: Mar. 01, 2024
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis Presents AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY March 19th - April 7th
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The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis closes its current season with a production of Tray Letts’ tragicomedy AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. Performances begin on March 19th and the show runs through April 7th on the main stage in the Loretto-Hilton Center. AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is a winner of 5 Tony Awards, including Best Play, and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The dark comedy examines the dysfunctional dynamics of the Weston Family when they return home for a funeral. Broadway World had the opportunity to sit down with Director Amelia Acosta Powell and Broadway’s Astrid Van Wieren who plays Mattie Faye Aiken to talk about The Rep’s upcoming production. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis Presents AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY March 19th - April 7th

Photo: Top Right Astrid Van Wieren; Bottom Right Amelia Acosta Powell

Amelia Acosta Powell told Broadway world how excited she is to be back in St. Louis directing AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. She was a former Assistant Artistic Director at The St. Louis Rep and is the current Impact Producer for The Actors’ Theatre of Louisville. She said, “This play became an instant American Classic in the tradition of Eugene O’Neill and Edward Albee when it premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago,” She commented on how beautifully written this piece is.  She said, “Tracy Letts is an absolute genius, and his writing is stunning.” Powell continued that his play is rooted in the universal truths about what makes it hard to be a part of a family.  

Astrid Van Wieren is returning to St. Louis as a performer for a second time to join the cast of AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. She recalled how charmed she was by the city a couple of decades ago when performing here with a children’s theatre group. She shared that she was extremely excited to return and remembered the magnificent St. Louis Art Museum in Forest Park. She agreed with Powell when she was asked about the epic nature of AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. She said, “The thing about theatre is that we see ourselves in art.”  She continued, “The Weston Family is a complicated, fractured, broken family with a lot of secrets, and they are fascinating people.” Her character, Mattie Faye, harbors a big secret and is a big part of the Weston family’s baggage.  

This isn’t the first time that Van Wieren has played a supporting role that is central to a story. She originated the role of Beulah in the Broadway smash COME FROM AWAY. Beulah represented the heart and soul of the residents of Gander, Newfoundland, where many travelers found themselves stranded when the U.S. airspace was closed following the attacks on September 11th. She recounted her experiences when starring in COME FROM AWAY, sharing that theatre can break down walls and heal hearts. While the genres of the two shows are vastly different, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY also leaves its audiences changed.  

Powell talked about how much Van Wieren and the rest of the cast bring to their roles. “Oh, this cast,” she exclaimed, “I am the luckiest kid in show business getting to work with all of these veteran professionals.” Actor and playwright Ellen McLaughlin is playing the role of Violet. Powell said, “she is an amazing actor.”  She also told Broadway World that St. Louis’ Joneal Joplin, will be playing the family patriarch Beverly in his 102nd show at The Rep.  

“Hearing Joneal inhabit the role of Beverly during the readings of the play was just amazing,” said Van Wieren, “He is fantastic!” She talked about how amazing it is to work among a large cast of 13 talented professionals. Joining McLaughlin, Joplin and Van Wieren in the cast are Clarie Karpen (as Ivy Weston),  Alan Knoll (as Charlie Aiken), Shyla Lefner (as Johnna Monevata), Michael James Reed (as Bill Fordham), Henny Russell (as Barbara Fordham), Brian Slaten (as Steve Heidebrecht), Isa Venere (as Jean Fordham,) David Wassilak (as Sherrif Deon Gibeau), Sean Wiberg (as Little Charles Aiken), and Yvonne Woods (as Karen Weston.)  

Both Powell and Van Wieren agree that people will relate, in some way, to the Weston family. Van Wieren says, “I think you leave AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY thinking about your own family.” She laughed, “Maybe thinking, thank God my family is not like that!” Powell, said, “Even though we see cruelty and pain in this family, there is love and they desperately need each other.”  Both think that this play may make you want to reach out and break down some walls. Powell agreed that people will want to see this production because they will see elements of themselves.  

Tickets for The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ production of AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY can be purchased by clicking the link below. For additional information please visit repstl.org.  




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