Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents its first ever revival of the play that launched the company onto the national scene in 1982, True West, directed by ensemble member Randall Arney. Through the lens of a new generation of Steppenwolf artists, the 2019 production stars ensemble members Jon Michael Hill and Namir Smallwood. Joining Hill and Smallwood are ensemble member and original cast member Francis Guinan and celebrated Chicago actor Jacqueline Williams.
Steppenwolf’s original production of True West opened in 1982 with then fairly unknown actors Jeff Perry (Austin) and John Malkovich (Lee) playing the leads, alongside ensemble members Francis Guinan (Saul) and Laurie Metcalf (Mom), directed by Gary Sinise. With Sam Shepard’s approval, Steppenwolf’s production transferred to Off-Broadway, where it opened at Cherry Lane Theatre in October 1982 with Gary Sinise taking on the role of ‘Austin.’ The show closed on August 4, 1984 after 762 performances. A television movie of the stage play, featuring Sinise and Malkovich, aired on the PBS series “American Playhouse” in January 1984.
In this raw and sardonic interpretation of the classic American story, the characters maybe the same, but the context is now vastly different. Hill & Smallwood come raucously alive on stage, reaching through the noise into our hearts and minds. Funny, yes. But also poignant and painful, the story of sibling rivalry is universal. In fact, True West was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1983.
True West is now playing through August 25 at Steppenwolf Theare, 1650 N. Halsted St.
Tickets are available here.
The Local Tourist tickets for two for the opening night performance courtesy of Steppenwolf Theatre.
Photos: Michael Brozilow