Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre has announced that longtime ensemble member Randall Arney will direct the company's summer 2019 revival of Sam Shepard's True West. Shepard's play was first produced at Steppenwolf in 1982, starring Jeff Perry (Austin) and John Malkovich (Lee), alongside Francis Guinan and Laurie Metcalf, and directed by Gary Sinise. The play returns to Steppenwolf for the first time in this upcoming production, starring Jon Michael Hill (Austin) and Namir Smallwood (Lee). Performances are set to run from July 5-August 18, 2019 in the Downstairs Theatre.
Arney joined Steppenwolf in 1984 in the midst of the first real wave of national attention that came from the company's productions of Balm in Gilead and the original True West. After the success of Steppenwolf's initial production of True West, later that year, the company remounted the show at the Apollo Theater Chicago for an extended run before it transferred to New York. For the Apollo run, Arney joined the True West cast as Saul alongside Perry and Malkovich.
The play is described as follows: "This American classic traces the sometimes violent and always volatile relationship of Austin and Lee, estranged brothers who find themselves trapped together in their mother's empty house with not much more than a typewriter and a set of golf clubs. In its first Steppenwolf revival, we re-imagine Shepard's masterpiece through the eyes of our new generation of Steppenwolf artists, with a little help from those who came before."
True West opened on Broadway in 2000, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly, who alternated the roles of Austin and Lee. Roundabout Theatre Company will open the play's first Broadway revival this winter starring Paul Dano (Austin) and Ethan Hawke (Lee).