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Chicago On Broadway

By Suzy Evans in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 4, 2009 5:00PM

2009_10_Steady_Rain.jpg Last week was a big week for Chicago plays on Broadway. Steppenwolf’s Superior Donuts opened at The Music Box Theatre, the same venue where August: Osage County recently closed. Keith Huff’s A Steady Rain, which ran at Chicago Dramatists last year, opened at Gerald Shoenfeld Theater, and Brighton Beach Memoirs, helmed by Chicago director-of-the-moment David Cromer, began previews Friday.

Superior Donuts received generally positive reviews, but we didn’t find any raves. Times critic Charles Isherwood called it “a warm bath of a play,” and more than one critic said elements were “formulaic.” However, apparently its sitcom-esque nature lends a welcomed comfortable feel, and we actually want to see the show after watching the video on the Times website.

The A-list actors dominated all the press leading up to the opening of A Steady Rain and after reading celebrity-obsessed critic Ben Brantley’s review, we still aren’t quite sure what the play’s about. (Just read his review of Julia Roberts in Three Days of Rain. He even finds a reason to mention her again in this review: Both plays have “Rain” in the title.) While Huff might not be getting deserved or undeserved praise, his play broke all box office records for the highest weekly gross of a non-musical on Broadway. For the week ended September 20, the show grossed $1,167,954.

Just off his run directing and starring in The Hypocrites Our Town Off-Broadway, Cromer made his Broadway directing debut on Friday night with the first preview of Brighton Beach Memoirs. The Neil Simon play is paired with Broadway Bound, also by Simon and directed by Cromer, starting previews November 16. Reviews aren't out yet, but we’re thinking good thoughts for Cromer!