The Playbill Vault Remembers Tony Nominee Philip Seymour Hoffman

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05 Feb 2014

Renowned stage and screen actor Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away Feb. 2 at the age of 46. The Playbill Vault looks back at his performances on the Broadway stage.

Mr. Hoffman made his Broadway debut in Sam Shepard's True West, about the strained relationship between Austin, a screenwriter, and his drifter brother Lee. Directed by Matthew Warchus, the play opened on Broadway March 9, 2000, two decades after it was written. Hoffman and John C. Reilly alternated the lead roles of Austin and Lee, with Robert LuPone and Celia Weston completing the cast.

The production was a critical and commercial success. It routinely filled 90-100 percent of its seats and broke box-office records at the Circle in the Square Theatre. Ben Brantley raved about the cast and the "pitch-perfect direction" of Warchus. In his review for the New York Times, he wrote: "To see both versions of the current True West...is to enrich deeply your experience of just what good actors can do with the limited instruments known as the human body and voice."

Though director Warchus had asked the Tony Administration Committee to consider Hoffman and Reilly as a single unit for Tony nominations (much like Side Show's conjoined twins Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner), the Committee ruled that the two actors would be considered individually. When the 2000 Tony nominations were announced, Hoffman and Reilly received separate nominations for Best Actor in a Play.

Read the True West Playbill here.

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