DUNWOODY, Ga. — Dunwoody’s Stage Door Theater will host a performance of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “August: Osage County” August 17-28.
The play tackles heavy topics and themes, focusing on addiction, trauma, and recovery. The showrunners have partnered with Dunwoody-based Atlanta Recovery Place to raise funds with the performance to support addiction recovery treatment in the Dunwoody and greater Atlanta communities.
Kennesaw-based Greenlight Acting Studios has teamed up with the Living Room Theater to bring a star-studded cast to the production. Audiences will recognize actors such as Alpha Trivette, Rebecca Coon, Drew Waters and Erin Bethea, who starred in such works as ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Ozark’ and ‘New Life’.
Bethea is also one of the co-producers of the upcoming rendition of “August: Osage County.” She said the idea of putting on a show amid the continued prevalence of COVID-19 was daunting, but the pandemic has just made the themes of the play more relevant than ever.
“One of the central themes of ‘August: Osage County’ is isolation and how isolation breeds mental health issues and addiction issues,” Bethea said. “It felt like there might not have been a more fitting and interesting time in history to tackle a play with a subject like this. It’s about family trauma and isolation and what we have all lived with for the past few years.
Co-producer and actress Michelle Neil said the themes resonated with her because she was a recovered alcoholic. It seemed important to him to partner with a local recovery organization to let the public know that support is available for those struggling with addiction – and thankfully the showrunners found Atlanta Recovery Place less than half a year away. mile from the theater.
Cody Davis, director of business development for the drug addiction organization, also said the timing of the partnership was right. He said mental health and addiction are matters of national concern right now, and the Georgia legislature recently passed a bill to improve access to mental health care.
“It couldn’t have been better timing,” Davis said. “The fact that they were doing this at a local theater just down the street from our establishment, it made sense.”
Stage Door Players have hired Willie E. Jones, III as their new artistic director as the group prepares to reopen its doors after being closed since last March.
Atlanta Recovery Place focuses on treating people who suffer from substance abuse. Its treatment programs aim to uncover the underlying causes of addiction, such as trauma and mental health disorders, and help patients overcome them. The organization does not limit who can receive care there, and Davis said about half of his patients are Dunwoody residents.
Although “August: Osage County” was made into a movie in 2013, Bethea said audiences will have a much different experience seeing the show live. She said the play was much more humorous and lighthearted than her adaptation, despite its dark themes. She said the feeling of coming together in person with a community to see the play only fuels her positivity.
“There’s tons of healing that happens through laughter,” Bethea said. “You know, when people are gathered in a room and they’re enjoying something, even if they’re squirming around in their seats while they’re enjoying it.”
The Stage Door Theater is located at 5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road. Tickets are available for purchase online at augustosagecounty.com/tickets.
Reach Jake Drukman at 770-847-8334. Follow him on Twitter @DrukmanJake.