Meryl Streep played ‘August: Osage’ matriarch on screen, but who played her onstage?
The character: Violet Weston, the emotionally abusive matriarch of a sprawling Oklahoma family.
Who played her onstage: Deanna Dunagan originated the role in the Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production in Chicago in 2007, eventually winning a Tony Award on Broadway. She later appeared in the London and Australia productions of the Tracy Letts play. Estelle Parsons played Violet in the U.S. national tour, which came to the Ahmanson Theatre in L.A. in 2009. (Claire Folger / Associated Press; Joan Marcus / Associated Press)
The character: Sister Aloysius, a Bronx nun who is convinced that a priest has sexually abused an altar boy.
Who played her onstage: Cherry Jones originated the role off-Broadway in 2004 at the Manhattan Theatre Club and later won a Tony Award on Broadway. She also starred in the national tour of the John Patrick Shanley play, which came to the Ahmanson Theatre in L.A. Jones was succeeded on Broadway by Eileen Atkins. In the play’s local premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse, Sister Aloysius was played by Linda Hunt. (Miramax Film; Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
The character: Donna, a free-spirited woman who lives on a Greek island and whose daughter is on a search for her biological father.
Who played her onstage: Siobhan McCarthy first played the role in the London production of the Abba musical. In the U.S. version, which played in L.A. before heading to Broadway, the role was played by Louise Pitre (above right). (Peter Mountain / Universal Pictures; Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)
The characters: Hannah Pitt, Ethel Rosenberg, the Rabbi and more. The principle cast members each take on multiple roles in the original Tony Kushner play and in the HBO television adaptation, directed by Mike Nichols.
Who played her onstage: Kathleen Chalfant (shown kneeling) played many of the same roles -- and some different ones, too -- in the Kushner play when it premiered at the Mark Taper Forum in L.A. in 1990, as well as when it opened on Broadway three years later. (Stephen Goldblatt / HBO; Craig Lucas / Center Theatre Group)
The character: Kate, the oldest of five unmarried sisters living together in a rural Irish town during the 1930s.
Who played her onstage: The Southern California premiere of the play, written by Brian Friel, took place at South Coast Repertory in 1994, with Megan Cole (seated) playing Kate. The play debuted in 1990 in Dublin and opened on Broadway a year later, with Rosaleen Linehan playing the role of Kate. (Jonathan Hession / Sony Pictures Classics; Ron Stone / South Coast Repertory)
The character: Lee, a high-spirited beautician who travels to Florida with her two sons to help her ailing father and sister.
Who played her onstage: A 1994 production in Los Angeles starred Jean Smart as Lee. The production, which co-starred Mary Steenburgen, took place at the Tiffany Theatre in West Hollywood. (Smart recently co-starred with Streep in the 2012 movie “Hope Springs.”) The play, by the late Scott McPherson, was produced at Playwrights Horizons in New York in 1992 with a different cast that included Lisa Emery as Lee. (Phil Caruso / Miramax Films; Richard Haro / Los Angeles Times)
The character: Susan Traherne, a former British spy who is bored with her married life after World War II.
Who played her onstage: Kate Nelligan originated the role in David Hare’s play when it premiered at Britain’s National Theatre in 1978. She went on to play the role in New York, first at the Public Theater and then on Broadway. (20th Century Fox)
The character: The Witch, a morally ambiguous sorceress who undergoes a miraculous physical transformation.
Who played her onstage: Vanessa Williams (pictured right) played the Witch in the 2002 Broadway revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical, which had a tryout run at the Ahmanson Theatre. The role was first played on Broadway by Bernadette Peters in 1987. (Peter Mountain / Disney; Joan Marcus / Associated Press)