August: Osage County

At the center of many of America’s greatest plays is a wonderfully, wickedly dysfunctional family. Think Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Eugene O’Neill — all these icons of the American stage wrote about gene pools that were seriously compromised.

In 2007, Tracy Letts added to the canon with what may be one of the most vicious versions of the failed American family yet, August: Osage County. The 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning story tells what happens to a family fraught with suicide, incest and drug addiction as three generations come together to mourn the death of the family patriarch.

In 2007, The New York Times said, “August is probably the most exciting new American play Broadway has seen in years.” Part of the attraction is that while the family is behaving horribly, they are also excruciatingly funny. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Through March 31. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. For information, call 713-220-5700 or visit www.alleytheatre.org. $21 to $70.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Feb. 18. Continues through March 13, 2011

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Lee Williams