A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing veteran actress Phylicia Rashad at Sardi’s, where she talked about how excited she was to be in rehearsals for the role of Violet Weston, the matriarch in the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play “August: Osage County,” playing on Broadway at The Music Box Theatre on West 45th Street.

I had never seen this drama, written by Tracy Letts, until this past Thursday, and I completely understand why Rashad was excited to be offered this role. The character of Violet is a raw, insulting woman who speaks her mind regardless of what the subject is or who is she addressing. No one is safe when Violet is in the room. Now, part of her snappy personality is blamed on her being a pain pill-popping addict, but the other side of this character is simply her blatant belief in stating the truth, no matter what the consequences.

Violet’s character has such an emotional range, and when she comes out raw, she is painfully raw. Violet will shock you and cause you to burst out laughing until you’re in tears. I know that’s what happened to me and to the audience members directly around me. What makes Violet stand out also is that her fellow characters are either just as snappy as she is–like her oldest daughter Barbara (amusingly played by Amy Morton),who will go back at her word for word–or they are timid and easily offended, like her daughter Ivy (marvelously portrayed by Sally Murphy). Violet seems to verbally chew Ivy up and spit her out.

Violet is someone who comes from a family that simply doesn’t show any regard for other people’s feelings. Case in point, her sister Mattie Fae (captivatingly delivered by Elizabeth Ashley). What makes this play entertaining and easily a Tony winner is that it shows family dysfunction at its highest level. I mean, I’ve known dysfunctional families and I’ve seen families with some dysfunction in plays, but this family takes dysfunction to a poignant extreme. The harsh verbal attacks that they wage on each other are wild and absolutely hilarious.

Rashad fits perfectly in with this brilliant cast. She is delightful, entertaining and amusing in the role of Violet. Although she is the only African-American on the stage, her color is not an issue in this production at all. She is simply dynamic in the role. Yes, she is cussing. Yes, she is verbally bashing everyone. But this character is also very truthful–in fact, painfully truthful. And though she tries to put up a strong front, her character is frightened of being alone and frightened of life.

I can’t express how funny this play is. These characters are some of the rawest you will ever see on a Broadway stage. Bravo to this phenomenal cast, which also includes John Cullum, Frank Wood, Anne Berkowitz, Mariann Mayberry, Guy Boyd, Michael Milligan, Kimberly Guerrero, Brian Kerwin and Troy West. And kudos to director Anna D. Shapiro for guiding and enabling this riveting cast to brilliantly work off each other and have their performances perfectly click from the opening lines to the last word spoken. For tickets, call (212) 239-6200.