The current Hot Summer Nights | Theatre Raleigh production of dramatist and screenwriter Tracy Letts’ prize-winning 2007 dark comedy, “August: Osage County,” is a scorcher, with New York television soap-opera star and two-time Emmy Award® winner Dorothy Lyman generating much of the heat as Violet Weston, the irascible pill-popping matriarch of a disintegrating Oklahoma family that could put the D in dysfunctional. Violet has become addicted to pain killers while battling mouth cancer. She is physically fragile, but ferocious and determined to rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Two-time Emmy Award® winner Dorothy Lyman will star in Hot Summer Nights | Theatre’s Raleigh stellar production of “August: Osage County,” award-winning 47-year-old playwright and screenwriter Tracy Letts’ 2007 dark comedy about a dysfunctional Oklahoma family, on Nov. 29-Dec. 2 and Dec. 6-9. The 65-year-old Minneapolis, MN native is probably best known for her performances as Gwen Frame in “Another World” (1976-1980, 1989) and as Opal Sue Gardner in “All My Children” (1981-83).
The current Hot Summer Nights | Theatre Raleigh presentation of “Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins” by Stephen Temperley is a real knee-slapper, starring Lisa Jolley as Jenkins and Jonas Cohen as her long-suffering and increasingly concerned piano accompanist, teacher, and friend Cosmé McMoon, who becomes more and more fearful that one day soon Mrs. J will discover that the joke is on her! But Florence Foster Jenkins is inexplicably oblivious to the smothered laughs and stifled snorts of her audiences.
Hot Summer Nights | Theatre Raleigh will end its sizzling Summer of Hits with its second annual summer-season-ending musical revue, “Oh What a Night! II,” directed and choreographed by Broadway star and Raleigh native Lauren Kennedy, on Aug. 31-Sept. 2 in the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh, NC.
Avenue Q is a sometimes-raunchy but always-sweet musical. While Hot Summer Nights’ production nails the sweet part, it often glazes over the raunchy bits. Yes, there is a sex scene involving nude puppets, a scene that the cast enacts with gusto, but much of the show’s raunchiness is delivered in a way that softens the blow. Swear words are mumbled and vulgar actions are hidden, as if director Richard Roland had doubts about whether or not Raleigh was ready for the show.