Tracy Letts: August 's Family Guy

How Tracy Letts, little-known actor, became Tracy Letts, America's most exciting new playwright

Matthew Gilson for TIME

Tracy Letts backstage at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre.

August: Osage county--a lacerating, 3 hr. 20 min. play about one of the meanest, most dysfunctional families ever put onstage--is not much of an advertisement for filial love. Yet when it came time to cast the small but crucial role of the family patriarch--who appears in just one scene, then commits suicide--playwright Tracy Letts did something only a very brave son would do: he let his father play the role.

Dennis Letts, a former college professor turned character actor, appeared in the world-premiere production last year at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre. Then, just before it was to transfer to Broadway, he received...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!