Miami theater this week: Brotherly love, family dysfunction, and tasty pastries

Brothers Beckett

By David Michael Sirois. Through April 3 at the Alliance Theatre Lab, 6766 Main St., Miami Lakes; 305-259-0418; Tickets cost $15 to $20.

Kevin and Brad Beckett are brothers, roommates, and the best of pals. But when Yale graduate Kevin decides to propose to his longtime long-distance girlfriend, jobless slacker Brad's world gets turned upside down. Just before Kevin's girl arrives for a weeklong visit, Brad does everything he can to prevent his brother from moving out of their bachelor pad and upsetting the order of things. Written by and starring New World School of the Arts grad and Alliance Lab Theatre alumnus David Sirois, Brothers Beckett is a dark and funny play in the vein of Seinfeld and The Odd Couple. It's a hilarious, irreverent, and sentimental look at family, friendship, and the challenges of growing up.

August: Osage County

By Tracy Letts. Through April 3 at Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-444-9293; Tickets cost $42 to $50.

Nominated for seven Tony Awards and winner of five, including best play, as well as Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and New York Drama Critics awards, August: Osage County is an epic tale of the Westons, a large family forced to come together at its pastoral Oklahoma homestead after the booze-hound patriarch disappears. At the center of the action is Violet, the 65-year-old family matriarch who pops pills, including antidepressants and narcotics, and in her drug-addled states confronts relatives with their dark and astonishing secrets. Written by 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning Tracy Letts (Superior Donuts, Man From Nebraska, Killer Joe, Bug), August: Osage County gets topnotch treatment at Actors' Playhouse, where David Arisco directs and Annette Miller stars as Violet.

Superior Donuts

By Tracy Letts. Through April 10 at GableStage at the Biltmore, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; 305-445-1119; Tickets cost $37.50 to 47.50

Written and presented in a kind of '70s sitcom vibe, Superior Donuts is a satisfyingly saccharine comedy that explores the power of friendship. Arthur Przybyszewski is an aging, white, ponytailed proprietor of a doughnut shop on Chicago's North Side. His store is dilapidated and empty, save for the homeless lady who comes around every other day for free doughnuts and coffee. He's worn down, and his life has recently hit some rough waters. Not until young African-American Franco Wicks walks into Arthur's shop looking for a job do we see some life enter the world-weary hippie. Franco is everything Arthur isn't — young, energetic, charismatic, ambitious, and filled with new ideas and dreams. But he also has a few secrets. Witty banter, colorful characters, and deft social commentary make Superior Donuts an entertaining evening of theater.

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Chris Joseph