By: Robert E Martin

With Pit & Balcony’s regional premier of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Lett’s socio-comedy Superior Donuts over the weekend of March 19-21st audiences were treated to a much-needed reprieve from social isolation with a contemporary tale from the city of Chicago, where a long-standing locally owned family donut shop faces an uncertain future not only due to the appearance of a brand spanking new recently opened Starbucks across the street; but more importantly, because of the personal malaise and sense of spiritual bankruptcy its beleaguered owner is experiencing.

Through this timely narrative of crime-laden cities and gentrification we are also treated to a cast of characters that breathe life into this abyss of desperation through the sense of hope each is able to instill within the other to form a congregation able to visualize pathways to a better future - and that, dear readers, is the essence of what makes Superior Donuts such a special theatrical experience.

With the focus of the action upon the two central characters of the shop-owner Arthur, who was convincingly portrayed by actor William Campbell; and inspired newcomer Isaiah Crawford as Franco - the energetic yet equally troubled young African-American assistance Arthur hires to give him assistance at the donut shop, we witness the two weave together a bond whereby each is able to see solutions to one another’s problems, even as they dismiss one another because of their respected ill-seated weaknesses.

To augment the evolving dialectic that carries throughout the play between these two characters, we are treated to a host of other uniquely iconic personalities who commonly frequent Super Donuts and lend their own singular insights into the ingredients of this tale that give Super Donuts such a special flavor.

Especially notable were veteran actor William Kircher as Max Tarasov - a neighborhood business-owner who possesses a particularly politically incorrect demeanor yet completely non-maliciously has a way to incisively cut through to the meat of the topic; and Jahari Essex, who as police officer James Bailey maintains a nonplussed and cool demeanor, saving the barbs for deadpan delivery.

Equally notable were Mary Spadafore as Lady Boyle, a homeless lady who savors the flavor of Superior’s donuts while using the wisdom of her acidic yet prescient tongue sparingly; and Katie MacLean-Peters who as Officer Randy Osteen delivers an equally laconic levity to the irony of her observations.

As Pit & Balcony’s first Black director, Glecia Tatum should feel proud to have served up such a smorgasbord of talent with a meticulous sense of guidance to detail, delivery, staging and visualization of this contemporary American tale of challenges and hope.

Review Magazine


Season 89 Sponsors

Art Sample

Barrett

Bronners

Sponsor covenant

Frankenmuth Insurance

F.P. Horak

Garber

Glastender

Nexteer

exp Realty

Serra

Sugar Shack Donuts

Tri-Star Trust

United Financial Credit Union

WSGW

Zehnders

 

Additional Funding Generously Provided By

Sponsor saginawArts

Sponsor MCACA

Sponsor NEA

Sponsor hemlock

Sponsor summer