“Superior Donuts” is a departure for noted playwright Tracy Letts, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his family-dysfunction drama “August: Osage County.”

For one thing, if you don’t count a couple of thugs, its characters are nicer to each other than the “Osage” crowd, even though they squabble. And though the characters aren’t without suffering, “Superior Donuts” is not without hope.

I’m a pushover for tales that at least hint at redemption, so this comedy-drama, which opened Friday in the Omaha Community Playhouse’s small Howard Drew Theatre, resonated with me.

I liked the story, centered on an unusual friendship between doughnut shop owner Arthur (Kevin Barratt), the son of Polish immigrants, and Franco (Aaron Winston), his young, brash, cheerful and refreshingly optimistic African-American employee.

I also liked director Susan Baer Collins’ production, apart from tiny missteps at Thursday’s preview (stumbles over lines that momentarily slowed pacing and a couple of misbehaving props).

The mix of characters is quirky and interesting, but realistic, thanks to a talented cast. Barratt’s Arthur is a befuddled and tentative man who is more comfortable remembering life as it used to be. The actor especially shines as he reflects on the past in a series of well-delivered soliloquies.

As Franco, Winston lights up the stage in his Playhouse debut. His character is tough, savvy and super energetic (sometimes teetering on manic) but displays an endearing vulnerability.

The two play off each other perfectly: Franco pushes Arthur to start a potential romance with Randy, a shy neighborhood police officer played by the always enjoyable Julie Fitzgerald Ryan. Scenes between the awkward Arthur and Randy are among the play’s best. Arthur, meanwhile, helps Franco when he needs it the most.

Mark Thornburg as Max Tarasov, who owns the store next to Arthur’s, deserves mention for his unwavering Russian dialect. He and Jon Shaw, who plays Kiril Ivakin, also spoke actual Russian.

A subplot about Franco and a loan shark, however, resulted in the play’s best moment: a perfectly orchestrated, roll-on-the-floor fight scene. My mind knew that even the tiniest movement was choreographed by fight director Jens Rasmussen, but my emotions believed that Arthur was battling Franco’s tormentor Luther (Playhouse first-timer Jeremy Estill) to the bloody end, right down to the carefully timed ejection of Arthur’s shoe.

Letts’ funny script is sometimes predictable and a bit improbable (I wondered, for instance, how 21-year-old Franco would know about the Lindbergh baby). And it’s not kid-friendly — a large, written vulgarity is one of the first things you see when you enter the intimate theater.

But attention to detail from top to bottom — apparent in the acting, the fight scene, Matthew D. Hamel’s doughnut shop set (featuring old-time diner counter stools and a real pastry case), Lindsay Pape’s costumes and Aja M. Jackson’s lighting, especially during the soliloquies — makes this show a winner.