When True West goes west in the L.A. Theatre Works production, it stars Tony nominee Alfred Molina, Charlotte Rae and two Steppenwolf heavyweights, Gary Cole and Frances Guinan. True West, directed by Steppenwolf's Eric Simonson (Work Song, The Song of Jacob Zulu), plays July 24-29 at the Skirball Cultural Center. The production will be taped for later broadcast on Santa Monica College's KCRW 89.9FM and for sale on the L.A. Theatre Works homepage.
Revived on Broadway in 2000 with Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly, True West, a modern Cain and Abel tale, sets the preppie screenwriter Austin against his drifter brother, Lee, completely altering each character by the end of the play. Other plays by Shepard include Simpatico (recently filmed by director Matthew Warchus), Cowboys, Seduced, A Lie of the Mind and Curse of the Starving Class. 1978's Buried Child won the Pulitzer Prize.
Molina, who plays Austin, won a 1998 Drama Desk Award and was nominated for the Tony Award as Yvan in Art. Other credits include a Theatre World Award-winning turn in Molly Sweeney for the Roundabout Theatre and London productions of Serious Money, Speed-the-Plow, Night of the Iguana and Taming of the Shrew.
Rae's many TV appearances include "Diff'rent Strokes," "The Facts of Life" and "Murder, She Wrote." Her theatrical credits include Mammy Yokum in Li'l Abner, Three Wishes For Jamie, The Beauty Part, Pickwick and the recent Paper Mill Playhouse staging of Pippin. Rae will play Mom.
Cole, who stars as Lee, is a veteran of both the Remains Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, where he recently played Gene in Side Man. His film credits include "The Brady Bunch" and the cult comedy "Office Space." Guinian, who plays Saul Kimmer, co-starred with John Mahoney in the Geffen Playhouse's production of The Weir. At Steppenwolf, he has performed in Skylight, The Libertine, Coyote Ugly, A Lesson from Aloes and Awake and Sing!. In New York, his credits include The Grapes of Wrath, Balm in Gilead, True West and And a Nightingale Sang.
Simonson will direct Lois Smith in Mother Courage at Steppenwolf Theatre Company this fall and Anna Christie at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre in 2002.
Tickets are $34-$38. Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. For reservations, call (310) 827-0889.
All TheatreWorks theatre productions are recorded for future broadcast on Santa Monica College's KCRW 89.9FM and are sold on the L.A. Theatre Works homepage at http://www.latw.org. In the past 11 years, productions have won several awards including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Gold and Silver Awards, three Sony Awards, the Writer's Guild of America's Best Comedy Award and the 1999 Audie Award for Best Dramatic Production from the Audio Publishers Association. Their recording of The Prisoner of Second Avenue, featuring Richard Dreyfuss and Mason, was recently nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Comedy Album.
— By Christine Ehren