Superior Donuts

by Ben Ellentuck
Superior Donuts made me smile. It also made me laugh; quite a bit, in fact. It made me happy and sad and completely in awe of playwright Tracy Letts’ ability to manipulate my emotions so deftly. Ironically, it did not make me particularly hungry.

Arthur owns a depressing donut shop, Superior Donuts, where two cops and a delightfully tipsy woman, known as “Lady,” are the regulars (and possibly the only customers). Everyone is a little bit lonely. On the morning after Arthur’s shop has been vandalized, one energetic, charismatic, and most of all, broke 21-year-old, Franco Wicks (read an interview here), arrives looking for a job. Both Arthur and Franco have their share of past troubles: Arthur is a pessimistic draft- dodging former-hippie with a recently-deceased ex-wife and a daughter far away. Franco is looking for some fast cash to pay off a large debt. 
The actors make Letts’ carefully honed script come alive. The dynamic between Franco and Arthur becomes nothing short of brilliant as they form a tight father-son bond over the course of the play. 

Superior Donuts is truly effective and affecting. I laughed many times, almost cried (I probably would’ve if I were a crier) and was truly touched by the ending. Plus, it made me smile. And to get a person to smile is a beautiful thing. 

HOW TO SEE THE SHOW:  $29.50 Student Rush • Music Box Theatre, 239 W. 45th St.