Photo Flash: Sam Shepard's TRUE WEST Comes to Gloucester Stage

Gloucester Stage Company continues its 39th season of professional theater with Sam Shepard's modern American classic, True West from August 17 through September 8 at Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. Directed by Joe Short, True West explores the explosive conflict between two brothers: Austin, the successful family man; and Lee, the nomadic drifter and petty thief.

Set in the kitchen of their mother's home 40 miles east of Los Angeles, these sons of a desert-dwelling alcoholic and a suburban wanderer clash over a film script. Austin, the achiever, is working on a screenplay he has sold to producer Sal Kimmer when his brother Lee drops in. Lee pitches his own idea for a movie to Kimmer, who then wants Austin to junk his bleak, modern love story and write Lee's trashy Western tale. The conflict between the brothers creates a heated situation in which their roles as successful family man and nomadic drifter are somehow reversed, and each man finds himself admitting that he had somehow always wished he were in the other's shoes. The cast features GSC veterans Nael Nacer as Lee; Mark Cohen as film producer Sal Kimmer and Marya Lowry as Mom and GSC newcomer Alexander Platt as Austin.

True West had its world premiere on July 10, 1980 at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, where Mr. Shepard was the resident playwright. The world premiere was directed by Robert Woodruff and featured Peter Coyote (Austin) and Jim Haynie (Lee). On December 23, 1980, it opened at Joseph Papp's Public Theater in New York City, starring Tommy Lee Jones (Austin) and Peter Boyle (Lee). In 1982, it was revived at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago featuring then-unknown actors Gary Sinise (who also directed the production) and John Malkovich.

The Steppenwolf production transferred to the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York where it enjoyed a run of 762 performances. After Sinise and Malkovich left the production, the leads roles were played by a variety of well-known actors including Jim Belushi, Erik Estrada, Gary Cole, Dennis Quaid and Randy Quaid. On March 2, 2000, a Broadway revival of True West opened at the Circle on the Square Theatre featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly, who alternated playing the lead roles. This critically acclaimed production earned Tony Award nominations for best actor (for both Hoffman and Reilly), best director, and best play.

Sam Shepard's True West runs from August 17 through September 8 at Gloucester Stage. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Following the 2 pm performances on Sunday, August 26 and Sunday, September 2, audiences are invited to free post-show discussions with the artists from True West. Single ticket prices are $35 to $45 with discounts available for Preview Performances, Cape Ann Residents, Senior Citizens and Patrons 18 years old and under. In addition to regular reserved tickets, Pay What You Wish tickets are available for the Saturday, August 18 matinee at 2 pm. Pay What You Wish tickets can only be purchased day of show at the door. All performances are held at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. For more information about Gloucester Stage, or to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 978-281-4433 or visit

Photo Credit: by Gary Ng

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