Superior Donuts – Theater Review
Arthur Przybyszewski owns a decrepit donut shop in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. Franco Wicks, a black teenager who is his only employee, wants to change the shop for the better. This provocative comedy, set in the heart of one of Chicago’s most diverse communities, explores the challenges of embracing the past and the redemptive power of friendship.
Superior Donuts has Michael McKean as Arthur and a young man who I had not heard of, but who I’m sure we will be hearing more of because he’s very talented, who’s name is Jon Michael Hill. The story is about an over age hippy, who’s depressed and is running the last donut store in the West Side of Chicago and not very profitably or happily. The show opens with a break in, a broken window. We meet assorted characters including a Russian who owns the DVD store next store who wants to buy the place, several police officers, one who is a Trekie and at some point shows up dressed as Captain Kirk and his partner who has a crush on Arthur. The first half is genuinely funny and genuinely heart warming. The second half doesn’t really know what to do. This makes you understand that almost any production can make a first act work and it is the second act that’s tough. And this play is a perfect example of that. On another note the play is written by the same author, Tracy Lett, who one a Pulitzer for August: Osage County and I must admit, I like Superior Donuts much better. I thought it was much less manipulative and much more fun to be at, but the second act is iffy. Three stars.