Sugar's 'Tiny Beautiful Things'
For The Review, Tidings
Portland Center Stage at The Armory brings the critically acclaimed adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's "Tiny Beautiful Things" to debut in the author's hometown.
Adapted by Nia Vardalos (writer and star of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"), co-created by Vardalos, Thomas Kail (director of "Hamilton") and Marshall Heyman, and directed by Rose Riordan, "Tiny Beautiful Things" explores the time Cheryl Strayed spent as the anonymous advice columnist behind "Dear Sugar," and the honest, intimate connection she forged with her readers.
Dana Green takes on the role of Sugar, joined by Leif Norby, Lisa Renee Pitts, and Brian Michael Smith who play the letter writers.
"It's faithful in text, but dramatized in an ingenious way that allows us to hear from Sugar's readers," said Riordan. "The letters to Sugar are a glimpse into the soul of America in the middle of the night. Sugar's insightful responses are just the remedy we all need."
Strayed, who was involved in the process to adapt the script for its world premiere in New York, spoke of her excitement to have the show produced in her hometown.
"I'm so touched by it. It's really, really moving to me and I'm deeply grateful," Strayed said. "I'm particularly excited that it's at Portland Center Stage at The Armory, where I have seen so many beautiful, powerful plays."
A celebration of the simple beauty of being human, this funny and deeply touching exploration of resilience is based on Cheryl Strayed's journey as the anonymous advice columnist for "Dear Sugar."
Over the years, thousands of people turned to Sugar for words of wisdom, compassion, and hope.
At first unsure of herself, Sugar finds a way to weave her own life experiences together with the deep yearning and heartrending questions from her readers.
Strayed began writing the "Dear Sugar" column anonymously in 2010 for the literary website The Rumpus.
In 2012, she revealed herself as the author and a collection of the letters and her responses was published under the title, "Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar."
The book became a bestseller and, in 2013, Heyman shared the book with Kail who reached out to Vardalos about its potential for a stage adaptation. They approached Strayed to get the rights and began work on the script, working with Strayed throughout the process.
The play had its world premiere at The Public Theater in New York in 2016, starring Vardalos and directed by Kail, and played to sold-out houses in an extended run.
The New York Times made it a Critic's Pick, noting that "Tiny Beautiful Things is about the endangered art of listening to — and really hearing and responding to — other people ... it works beautifully as a sustained theatrical exercise in empathy."
"Tiny Beautiful Things" opens Feb. 23 and continues through March 31 on the U.S. Bank Main Stage at The Armory, 128 N.W. 11th Ave., Portland OR 97209. Showtimes are Tuesday through Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. and Thursday noon matinees.
The play is recommended for ages 16 and up and contains mature language and adult situations.
Regular tickets range from $25 to $82 and are on sale now. Tickets may be purchased at pcs.org or by calling the box office at 503-445-3700 or in person at the box office, 128 N.W. 11th Ave., Portland OR 97209.