Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Saturday, February 24

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Dancing About Architecture F Yeah Tour in Chicago »

Theatre Tue Jul 01 2008

Review: Superior Donuts

Superior Donuts, the new Tracy Letts play now running at Steppenwolf, has all the components of a fine piece of theatre. Fine acting chops, yes. A stunning set design that appears vividly, crisply real. Yet something is strangely lacking.

The story centers on a Polish donut storeowner's struggle to hold onto the past and resist the temptation to sell his store to a very persistent Russian who dreams of opening the electronics emporium of the neighborhood. The setting is Uptown, in the present, yet there's something distinctly retro about this story. The female cop who lusts after the protagonist feels reminiscently Hill Street Blues. And the donut lady — the shop’s one consistent customer — is funny but in a predictable way, like a character on the hit '70s T.V. show "Alice."

What’s missing in this play is some emotional bravery. The first act develops nicely, and the juicy dialogue (“Is Anyone Paying Attention in America?”) is entertaining. Yet there’s not a character like Deanna Dugan from Letts’s superior play, August Osage Country, that swept the audience into her tidal wave of debilitation and psychotic derangement. What we have here is a man that Letts slowly exposes as weak and ultimately uninteresting. Even when he sticks up for himself in the fight scene (the most compelling scene of the play), you can’t help but feel sorry for him. It’s a universal story of what happens to someone when they let their life pass them by yet this story fails to stir the audience or provide a resolution. And Franco (Jon Michael Hill), the African American co-worker who gets maimed by the bookie thugs and has his Great American novel torn to shreds, feels clichéd.

GB store

Ken GreenAuthor Profile Page / July 2, 2008 9:25 AM

Like a character on "Alice"? OH, Tracey Letts takes a big hit...

But seriously, is it worth spending the $40-something bucks? If it's sitcom/TV cliche stuff, I don't think I want to see it.

GB store

Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


An Angry White Guy
AREA Chicago
ArchitectureChicago Plus
Arts Engagement Exchange
The Art Letter
Art or Idiocy?
Art Slant Chicago
Art Talk Chicago
Bad at Sports
Bite and Smile
Brian Dickie of COT
Bridgeport International
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chainsaw Calligraphy
Chicago Art Blog
Chicago Art Department
Chicago Art Examiner
Chicago Art Journal
Chicago Artists Resource
Chicago Art Map
Chicago Art Review
Chicago Classical Music
Chicago Comedy Examiner
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Daily Views
Chicago Film Examiner
Chicago Film Archives
Chicago Gallery News
Chicago Uncommon
Contemporary Art Space
Co-op Image Group
Co-Prosperity Sphere
Chicago Urban Art Society
Creative Control
Devening Projects
DIY Film
The Exhibition Agency
The Flatiron Project
F newsmagazine
The Gallery Crawl...
Galerie F
The Gaudy God
Happy Dog Gallery
Homeroom Chicago
I, Homunculus
Hyde Park Artcenter Blog
Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
Julius Caesar
Kasia Kay Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rob Kozlowski
Lookingglass Theatre Blog
Lumpen Blog
Mess Hall
Neoteric Art
Not If But When
Noun and Verb
On Film
On the Make
Peanut Gallery
Peregrine Program
The Poor Choices Show
Pop Up Art Loop
The Post Family
The Recycled Film
Reversible Eye
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Roots & Culture Gallery
The Seen
Sisterman Vintage
Site of Big Shoulders
Sixty Inches From Center
Soleil's To-Do's
Sometimes Store
Stop Go Stop
Storefront Rebellion
TOC Blog
Theater for the Future
Theatre in Chicago
The Franklin
The Mission
The Theater Loop
Thomas Robertello Gallery
Time Tells Tony Wight Gallery
Uncommon Photographers
The Unscene Chicago
The Visualist
Western Exhibitions
What's Going On?
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
You, Me, Them, Everybody
Zg Gallery

GB store



A/C on Flickr

Join the A/C Flickr Pool.

About A/C

A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Nancy Bishop,
A/C staff inbox:



A/C Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15