Two actresses fill a hole in ‘Donuts’
Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co., Royal George Cabaret Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St., Chicago
8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through Nov. 25
$50, $40 for students and seniors
(773) 704-6000; www.ticketmaster.com
Updated: November 7, 2012 2:38PM
You can expect arresting performances from two north suburban natives in Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co.’s remount of “Superior Donuts” at the Royal George Cabaret Theatre.
Northbrook native Millie Hurley plays Officer Randy. Norridge native Pat Musker is Hurley’s understudy.
Unlike most understudies, Musker knows she will definitely be performing at least once a week. That’s because Hurley is understudying Molly Regan’s role in “Good People” at Steppenwolf Theatre. She has to check in at Steppenwolf before each performance, watch the show three times a week and be within a reasonable distance during every performance just in case she’s needed.
Fortunately, the two theaters are conveniently located across the street from each other and, because of Steppenwolf’s heavier performance schedule, Hurley will only definitely miss one “Superior Donuts” performance a week.
Being assured that she will be onstage at least one time a week is “a lot better than that unknown,” Musker laughingly acknowledged. “There’s a lot of work that goes into being an understudy so the big payoff is actually getting to go on, and knowing it ahead of time is wonderful.”
Both actresses are relishing the chance to play the policewoman in Tracy Letts’ play about an older anti-war activist who owns a donut shop in Uptown and the way his life changes when he hires a young African-American man.
Hurley played Officer Randy in Mary-Arrchie’s original staging of the show at its home space, Angel Island, as well as at a remount at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. Musker was her understudy then, too.
“I just love that play. I just love doing that role,” Hurley enthusiastically declared. That’s why she was willing to do a complex juggling act to be in the Royal George staging.
Hurley described Officer Randy as “a good cop. I think she really cares about the people on the street because Officer James and I have been on that beat quite a while as partners. I think she’s a little tired and probably looking forward to retirement in five or six years.”
The actor said that a small monologue which the character has in the middle of the play “is very telling.” It speaks of her growing up the only girl in a houseful of brothers and a father because her mother died of cancer when she was in her teens.
“I think she’s pretty lonely,” Hurley said. “I think she’s tried to have some relationships but with her schedule I think she may be overpowered.”
Musker considers Officer Randy, “tough, no-nonsense. She does her job, loves police work — her family’s been in it for years. But also kind of lonely and would like to have somebody to share her life with.”
Musker thinks it’s a great part. “I like the fact that you get to see her come around,” the actor said. “When she starts out, she’s very tough. You see her try to flirt with Arthur [the donut shop owner] as much as she can and he’ll allow it. They’ve been out of the loop so much that they’ve forgotten how to do that dance.”
Hurley is enamored of the role for a couple of reasons. “The minute you put that police belt on with the gun, it feels very powerful,” she said. “You realize your physical strength and it’s kind of enlightening.” In addition, “The way this role is written, I pretty much love all my lines. I have some of the best zingers.”