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Sam Shepard’s classic drama of sibling rivalry, True West, will return to Broadway next season, starring Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano as the conflicted brothers who come together at the California home of their mother after a five-year estrangement.
James Macdonald will direct the revival for Roundabout Theatre Company, starting previews Dec. 27 at the American Airlines Theatre, with opening night set for Jan. 24.
First produced in 1980, the Pulitzer Prize-shortlisted play unfolds against a mythic American landscape suspended between the desert frontier and the seductive dream factory of Hollywood. Dano will play screenwriter Austin, with Hawke as his lowlife brother Lee; they square off over bitter differences while revealing more in common than either of them cares to admit.
True West previously was produced on Broadway in 2000, with Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly alternating in the lead roles, earning Tony nominations for both actors. The play’s definitive production, however, was a 1982 Steppenwolf Theatre Company staging that starred then-emerging actors John Malkovich and Gary Sinise.
Other actors who have appeared in the play over the years include Peter Coyote, Tommy Lee Jones, Peter Boyle, James Belushi, Dennis Quaid, Randy Quaid, Bruce Willis, Bob Hoskins, Antony Sher and Mark Rylance.
Hawke’s artistic relationship with Shepard began when he appeared in a Steppenwolf production of the playwright’s Buried Child. In 2010, he directed an off-Broadway revival of Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind, garnering rave reviews. Hawke also directed Dano off-Broadway in Jonathan Mark Sherman’s Things We Want.
At Sundance earlier this year, both actors premiered new work as directors to strong reviews: Dano with his debut feature Wildlife, starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal; and Hawke with his fourth stint behind the camera, Blaze, a bio-drama of country musician Blaze Foley starring Ben Dickey.
A Tony nominee in 2007 for Tom Stoppard’s three-part epic, The Coast of Utopia, Hawke last appeared on Broadway in the title role in a 2013 production of Macbeth. Dano made his Broadway debut at age 11 in a Roundabout revival of A Month in the Country that starred Helen Mirren; his last Broadway appearance was in the 2010 premiere of John Guare’s A Free Man of Color.
Macdonald was represented earlier this season with a Broadway transfer of his Royal Court production of Lucy Kirkwood’s The Children.
True West will play a limited engagement, with additional cast and creative team to be announced. The production joins a previously announced revival of the classic Cole Porter musical Kiss Me, Kate on Roundabout’s 2018-19 season lineup, set to star Tony winner Kelli O’Hara.
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