University News

University Theatre Presents "August: Osage County" April 20-23

April 19, 2011

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University's University Theatre will present Tracy Letts' comic drama "August: Osage County" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 20-Saturday, April 23 in Western's Hainline Theatre.

The play, which earned a 2008 Tony Award, first awarded playwright and actor Tracy Letts a 2007 Pulitzer Prize. This play premiered in 2007 at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, where Letts has been an ensemble member since 2002. It also played on Broadway and London's National Theatre.

"August: Osage County" is set in modern day, middle-class Oklahoma and centers on the Weston family, whose members tend to make each other miserable. When the head of the household mysteriously vanishes, the family gathers together to support, and attack, one another.

"The play has the zip and humor of classic television situation comedy and the absorbing narrative propulsion of a juicy soap opera," Charles Isherwood of the New York Times wrote after it opened at the Imperial Theatre. "The text is rich with compelling characters and scintillating criticism of the modern American family."

Carolyn Blackinton, associate professor of theatre, is directing the play, while also playing the role of Violet (due to illness of the casted actor). Blackinton, who has been a professional actor for more than 17 years, appears by permission of the Actors' Equity Association (AEA).

The cast includes the following:
Craig Fisher (Berryton, KS), a third-year Master of Fine Arts (MFA) student (playing Beverly);
Erin Clark (Port Byron, IL), senior, theatre major (Barbara);
Nathan Bush (Frankfort, KY), first-year MFA student (Bill);
Erin Norlie (Chesterfield, MO), junior, theatre major (Jean);
Maggie Ellsworth (River Forest, IL), first-year MFA student (Ivy);
Lily Blouin (Anchorage, AK), senior, musical theatre major (Karen);
Chad Tallon (Essex, IL), third-year MFA student (Charlie);
Jennifer "Jay" Sushka (Bloomington, IL), senior, theatre major (Mattie Fay);
Ethan Knight (McHenry, IL), sophomore, theatre major (Little Charles);
Michelle Limon (Chicago, IL), senior, theatre major (Johnna);
Rick Sheski (West Bend, WI), first-year MFA student (Steve); and
Nate Curlott (Long Grove, IA), freshman, theatre major (Sheriff).

Cost is $15 for the public, $13 for seniors 62 and older and youth, and free to WIU students with a valid University ID. Tickets are available at the Hainline box office, (309) 298-2900, weekdays from noon-5 p.m., or online at

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