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This show closed on March 17, 2019

About True West

Opposites attack in Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play about two brothers with more in common than they think. Holed up in their mother’s California house, lowlife Lee (Ethan Hawke) and screenwriter Austin (Paul Dano) wrestle with big issues—and each other. Order vs. chaos. Art vs. commerce. Typewriter vs. toaster...Shepard’s rip-roaring classic returns to Broadway, gleefully detonating our misguided myths of family, identity and the American Dream.

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Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano play brothers at the heart of Sam Shepard’s story of sibling rivalry and the pursuit of the American Dream. It’s been five years since they’ve seen each other, but Austin and Lee are finally reunited at their mother’s California home in “True West.” Austin, a Hollywood screenwriter, is house sitting and busy at work on his next screenplay, while Lee, a drifter, is distracting him.

When movie producer Saul Kimmer comes by the home to meet with Austin about his latest project, Austin asks Lee to get lost. But, when Lee arrives back home later that night before the meeting has ended, he hits it off with Saul, and the two make plans to go golfing — without Austin. Austin is jealous when Saul greenlights a story for the big screen by Lee, and tensions quickly erupt. Directed by James Macdonald, the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of the classic American drama explores the boundaries of family and friendship.

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What To Watch For

  • Stars Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano also co-starred in the 2004 film “Taking Lives”; and Hawke directed Dano in a 2007 Off-Broadway production of Jonathan Marc Sherman’s “Things We Want.”
  • “True West” was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1983.
  • The 2000 Broadway production of “True West” starred Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly — alternating in the lead roles.
  • “True West” is one of what has come to be known as Sam Shepard’s “Family Trilogy” of plays, which also includes “Curse of the Starving Class” (1976) and the Pulitzer-winning “Buried Child” (1979).

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Run Time

2hr (with one 15 intermission)

Start Date

End Date


Recommended for ages 12+.

As embodied by a brilliant Ethan Hawke and a tightly wired Paul Dano, sibling rivalry has seldom felt this ominous.
The New York Times
A gradual, grinning descent towards chaos. It lurks and menaces. It goes for the kill. It’s funny and nasty, debauched yet dramatically laser-focused.
New York Magazine
True West is rock and roll theater.

American Airlines Theatre

227 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036

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