True West

Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer finalist and Tony-nominated play “True West” is a Cain and Abel story of brotherly love and sibling rivalry set against the Dreams of the American West. Successful screenwriter Austin settles in to housesit his mother’s desert home to write his next screenplay, while his brother Lee, an alcoholic drifter, arrives to rob the neighborhood. A hysterically twisted story unfolds as the estranged brothers torment each other until they are forced to collaborate on a screenplay for Austin’s producer with the promise of a huge Hollywood payday. Ultimately reversing roles and finding themselves inside the other’s shoes, the two brothers discover that this town ain’t big enough for the both of them …

  • "This is the single greatest piece of live theater I have ever seen."
    - Broadway World
  • "Arizona Theatre Company’s production of Sam Shepard’s 'True West' is a powerful, poignant portrayal of family dysfunction and sibling rivalry punctuated with laugh-out-loud humor."
    - Arizona Daily Star
  • "'True West' is a triumph of acting and storytelling."
    - Broadway World
  • "Come for the energy (and the laughs) but stay for the artistic insight … 'True West' is the best ATC effort of the entire 2023-2024 season."
  • "Grade: A ... A fine ATC production introduces two superb actors ... Couple these rich performances with Jenn Thompson’s sharp staging and a superlative production is the result."
    - Curtain Up Phoenix

The run time of True West is approximately 2 hours, including one intermission. For more information about our venues, click here.

Critics Are Raving!

BroadwayWorld Review: True West at Arizona Theatre Company

Originally published by Broadway World. True West explodes onstage at Arizona Theatre Company. This is the single greatest piece of live theater I have ever seen. True West is the story of two estranged siblings forced to interact while one of them house-sits for their mother. Written by Sam Shepard and directed by Jenn Thompson, True West is a triumph of acting and storytelling. []

Powerful acting, set elevate Arizona Theatre Company’s “True West”

Originally Published by the Arizona Daily Star. Arizona Theatre Company’s production of Sam Shepard’s True West is a powerful, poignant portrayal of family dysfunction and sibling rivalry punctuated with laugh-out-loud humor … The physicality of the actors — they fall, slip, slide and smash things — is exceptional. Director Jenn Thompson has the twosome effectively use the entire stage and the carefully curated props. []

Sam Shepard’s True West Truly Ignites the ATC Stage with Equal Parts Violence and Humor in the Company’s Best Show of the Season

Originally published by Come for the energy (and the laughs) but stay for the artistic insight, that’s my advice when it comes to seeing Arizona Theatre Company’s bristling smack-down production of Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated True West. []

About the Playwright

Sam Shepard has been described by New York Magazine as “the greatest American playwright of his generation,” a description earned as a result of several successful works he created. Gruff, gritty, and bold, Shepard’s work stands out amongst the peers of his time. “He was Tarantino, before Tarantino,” said Kasser Family Artistic Director Matt August. It’s almost hard to believe that this was not always the path for him. Born in 1943, Shepard was the first of three children in what would become a dysfunctional family unit. His father, a former bomber pilot in World War II and an army officer Continue Reading …

About the Play

Consider the American Dream. Consider the promise that hard work breeds success. Nothing is off the table. As long as you are willing to put in the hours to make it happen, the world is at your fingertips. So, you put your head down and you get to work. You do the best you can to optimize your chances of achieving your goals. You go to a good school. You put yourself out there. You network with the right crowd. Greatness is on the horizon. Then suddenly, your sibling, with practically no effort whatsoever, swoops in, tries their hand, and wins. Poof. Your ambition crumbles and now you start from square one. Continue Reading …

True West Cast

True West Creatives

On the Stage

First Day Meet & Greet

In the Rehearsal Room

Three Things to Know About True West:

  1. True West was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1983.
  2. True West was produced by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 1982, with then fairly unknown actors Gary Sinise (who also directed the production) and John Malkovich playing the leads. A television movie of the stage play, featuring Sinise and Malkovich, aired on American Playhouse in January 1984, and launched the careers of both Gary Sinise and John Malkovich. 
  3. Shepard wrote 44 plays and earned 10 Obie awards for writing and directing.

Click to See Performance Dates

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