Pulitzer Prize & TONY Award Winning Playwright Tracy Letts’ ‘Killer Joe’ Will Come to Broadway Under the Direction of TONY Award Winner Pam MacKinnon
Producers of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the winner of the 2013 Tony® Award for Best Revival, are pleased to announce that Tracy Letts’ Killer Joe will be heading to Broadway for the first time. The Broadway premiere of Killer Joe will reunite Pam MacKinnon, winner of the 2013 Tony® Award for Best Director of a Play (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) and Tracy Letts, winner of the 2013 Tony® Award for Best Actor (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?). The production is slated to hit Broadway in 2014.
Letts and MacKinnon said the following about the upcoming production and working together once more, this time as director and playwright:
“I’m thrilled so soon after Woolf to be working with Tracy Letts, this time as director to writer on his all-American fever dream of a play, Killer Joe. He is a true actors’ playwright.”
– Pam MacKinnon
“Killer Joe provides a lot of red meat for the theatre. Pam MacKinnon is the perfect director to shepherd a group of actors who share a certain blood lust.”
– Tracy Letts
Killer Joe will be produced by Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel, who were part of the producing team behind Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as well as Tracy Letts’ plays Superior Donuts and the Pulitzer® Prize and Tony® Award winner, August: Osage County.
Further details about this production will be announced at a later date.
Killer Joe begins when Chris Smith – a 22-year old drug dealer – finds himself in serious debt to the wrong people. He devises a lethal plan that will solve all of his problems, enlisting the help of his father and step-mother. They hire Killer Joe – a police detective turned contract killer – to get the job done right, igniting a series of events that lead to a memorably shocking climax.
“It’s an astonishing piece of work, not only for the skill of its craftsmanship but for the kinks and depths of characterization that Letts has created for his bizarre tale.”
– Richard Christiansen, The Chicago Tribune
“Although the characters seldom invite your sympathy in any traditional way, you are utterly engaged by them. Killer Joe has the enjoyable hairpin turns of the standard mystery thriller, but it’s the skewed, shifting relationships that keep you hooked”
– Ben Brantley, The New York Times
“A brilliant play!”
– Michael Billington, The Guardian
Killer Joe made its world premiere at the tiny yet prestigious Lab space of Evanston, Illinois’ NEXT Theatre in 1993. After drawing sellout crowds for eight months, the play opened off-off-Broadway at New York’s 29th Street Repertory Theatre in October, 1994. During that same year, the original cast brought the play to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Opening in the small Traverse Theatre, the production received tremendous audience and critical approval and sold out all 12 of its performances before ultimately winning a Fringe First Award, given each year to the best new works of the festival.
This acclaim attracted the attention of Dominic Dromgoole, the Artistic Director of London’s 105-seat Bush Theatre, one of London’s top fringe houses. Opening in the London pub-and-performance space in January 1995, Killer Joe proved an immediate hit with London playgoers and British critics, who compared it to Jacobean tragedy and the Kitchen-Sink school of drama. A transfer to the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End soon followed, where the production ran for an impressive four months and ultimately won the Time Out Award for Best Play of 1995. After its success in London, Killer Joe was brought back to New York by off-Broadway’s Soho Playhouse in 1998. One of the surprise hits of the season, Killer Joe received a Drama Desk nomination for Best Revival of a Play.
The play was produced by countless regional theater companies in the subsequent decade before Tracy Letts adapted his play into a movie in 2012, directed by Academy Award winner William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist).
Since its debut in 1993, Killer Joe has been produced in at least 15 countries in 12 different languages.
Tracy Letts (Playwright) is the author of Bug (also screenplay), Man from Nebraska (Pulitzer finalist), August: Osage County (Pulitzer® Prize, Tony® Award for Best Play), Superior Donuts and an adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters. He won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor for his debut Broadway performance as George in the Tony Award-winning revival of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, which premiered at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre. He joined the Steppenwolf ensemble in 2002, where he starred in American Buffalo, Betrayal, The Pillowman, Last of the Boys, The Pain and the Itch, The Dresser, Homebody/Kabul, The Dazzle, Glengarry Glen Ross (also Dublin and Toronto), Three Days of Rain, many others. Other productions include: Orson’s Shadow (Barrow Street Theatre, NY); Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Alliance Theatre, Atlanta); The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (A Red Orchid Theatre); Conquest of the South Pole (Famous Door); Bouncers (the Next Lab). TV and film: Guinevere, U.S. Marshals, Profiler, Prison Break, Seinfeld, Home Improvement, many others.
Pam MacKinnon (Director) won the 2013 Tony® Award for Best Director for her work on the Tony Award winning revival of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? This season, she will mount the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Broadway revival of Donald Margulie’s Pulitzer Prize winning play Dinner With Friends and the Manhattan Theatre Club’s When We Were Young and Unafraid, starring Cherry Jones. Her other recent productions include premieres of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer® Prize winning Clybourne Park (Tony Award nomination); Rachel Axler’s Smudge (Women’s Project); and Cusi Cram’s A Lifetime Burning (Primary Stages); as well as Shakespeare’s Othello (Shakespeare Santa Cruz); and Gina Gionfriddo’s Becky Shaw (South Coast Rep). She is a longtime interpreter of the plays of Edward Albee, having directed A Delicate Balance (Arena Stage); The Goat or, Who’s Sylvia? (Alley Theatre and Vienna’s English Theatre); and The Play About the Baby (Philadelphia Theatre and Goodman Theatre); as well as premieres of At Home at the Zoo (formerly called Peter and Jerry at Hartford Stage and Second Stage); and Occupant (Signature Theatre).Additional recent work includes premieres of Roberto Aguire Sacasa’s Good Boys and True (Steppenwolf Theatre); Itamar Moses’ The Four of Us (Manhattan Theatre Club and Old Globe); Richard Greenberg’s Our Mother’s Brief Affair (South Coast Rep); Jason Grote’s Maria/Stuart (Woolly Mammoth); Itamar Moses’ Bach at Leipzig (NYTW and Milwaukee Rep); Sheri Wilner’s Father Joy (Contemporary American Theatre Festival and Summer Play Festival); as well as productions of Bruce Norris’ The Unmentionables (Woolly Mammoth); Richard Dresser’s Below the Belt (ACT-Seattle); and David Mamet’s Romance (Goodman Theatre). She is a Drama League and Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab alumna and an Affiliated Artist with the New York downtown company Clubbed Thumb.