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True West (Broadway)

From 278 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Funny, Intense, Great writing

About the show

Opposites attack in this Pulitzer Prize-nominated play about two brothers with more in common than they think. Sam Shepard’s rip-roaring classic returns to Broadway with Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano. More…

Holed up in their mother’s California house, screenwriter Austin (Paul Dano) and lowlife Lee (Ethan Hawke) wrestle with big issues—and each other. Order vs. chaos. Art vs. commerce. Typewriter vs. toaster. Shepard’s drama gleefully detonates our misguided myths of family, identity, and the American Dream.


Member Reviews (278)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Absorbing, Funny, Intense, Great writing
76
Avg Score

90
Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing, Riveting, Entertaining

See it if You want to see two exciting actors take on these classic roles and electrify the stage. Hard to take your eyes off them.

Don't see it if You don’t like mental gymnastics. Lots of dialogue and lots of personalities on display on that stage.

55
Banal, Fluffy, Slow, Overrated, Dated

See it if You want to see Hawke or dano. Very dated . If you like Sam Shepard.

Don't see it if Lighting was awful sat in row l and lights hit actors so you could not see their faces..terrible direction..

80
Intense, Great acting, Compelling, Hard to watch, Dizzying

See it if you want to see a truly remarkable performance from Ethan Hawke.

Don't see it if watching a really accurate depiction of a manipulative narcissistic person will be too much for you.

77
Disappointing, Great writing, Funny, Intense, Great acting

See it if you want to see Dano & (especially) Hawke sink their teeth into an oddly toothless revival of Shepard's searing, provocative seriocomedy.

Don't see it if you're looking for the definitive production of this great play. [The plodding direction undermines the menace & urgency in Shepard's work.]

83
Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Intense, Dizzying

See it if you enjoy family dramas with some edge to them. Dano and Hawke are terrific.

Don't see it if you don’t like thrillers...or comedies... The tone is confused. Each act is like a different play.

69
Near hollywood sketchy brother convinces movie producer his vision of a western is superior to his conventional brother's; mock fight to death of brothers ensues; uneven, unconvinced this is great american play about domestication of the west

See it if hilarious portrayal toxic masculinity/sibling rivalry; satirizes Hollywood favoring movies about "bad boys"; Ethan Hawke strong as sociopath

Don't see it if unoriginal commentary on death of West; brothers' role reversal too pat; unbalanced as Dano weak counterpart to Hawke

82
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Great writing, Edgy

See it if Shepard sorts out inverse-sibling rivalry in two acts and Hawke chews scenery in one. Fun to watch Hawke relish his assigned acting duties.

Don't see it if Marvelous Mum Marylouise Burke is onstage far too briefly, but memorably.

91
Edgy, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging, Masterful

See it if You want to witness how chemistry between Ethan Hawks and Paul Dano, raise the suspense & humor in this Sam Shepard classic to a new level.

Don't see it if You avoid dramas about family conflict. Abhor violence and crime. Do not like edgy satire and surprise.

Also This production by Roundabout kept me mesmerized from beginning to end... Read more Read less

84
Absorbing, Funny, Tense, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you are fans of Shepard, Hawke and/or Dano; you enjoy crazy, dysfunctional family dynamics as well as good chemistry among the actors.

Don't see it if you dislike over the top family relationships; messy kitchens or the smell of toast drive you crazy; you don't like dark humor.

Also The cameo by Marylouise Burke is well worth the wait. As always, she i... Read more Read less

82
Absorbing, Riveting, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining

See it if you want to see Ethan Hawke in a standout performance. Paul Dano also delivers. Fast-paced and entertaining throughout.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a family drama.

80
Grand acting, Excellent direction, Skirting indulgence, Slightly dated but still classic

See it if Ethan Hawke: you’ve never imagined line readings as he can deliver. Mad, scary & endearing. Pau Dano: coiled emotions adroitly portrayed.

Don't see it if An over-the-top Cain & Abel story with physical violence that’s unclear in its final intention. Kind of a thrill ride; see it for the acting

85
Great acting, Absorbing, Funny, Intense, Entertaining

See it if love Shepard's work, amazing performances especially by Hawke, love humor with a dark side

Don't see it if don't want expectations (like working harder gets you ahead) turned upside down, don't want macho male brother fighting or alcohol abuse

Also Despite stronger showing by the Dano character, 2nd half does drag a l... Read more Read less

72
Excellent performance in a not great script

See it if If you like Sam Shepard, but this story doesn’t have the depth that Buried Child has. Great performances, especially by Paul Dano.

Don't see it if The plot doesn’t make a lot of sense. It is very contrived. It’s also fairly dark, so if you are looking for an uplifting story, skip it.

80
Absorbing, Edgy, Intense

See it if You like serious but fun, tough yet tender, twists and turns, super acting. Not realistic but truthful. Ethan Hawke excellent. Great set.

Don't see it if Violence upsets you. Basically a two person play (although 4 characters). Not a typical plot, little joy. Intense.

Also The lighting is superb. One of Shepard’s better plays.

70
Funny, Great writing, Raunchy, Intense, Edgy

See it if You love Ethan Hawk and sam shepherd plays and love to see brothers fight

Don't see it if you don't want to see violence

75
Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Slow, Quirky

See it if You're interested in sibling rivalries. You're willing to wait until the end for it to be funny.

Don't see it if You don't like shows with a lot of anger and violence.

78
Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if You enjoy well written plays with great characters. Hawke and Dano give outstanding performances. Wilmes and Burke are fun to watch.

Don't see it if You are disinterested in a play about sibling rivalry and a dysfunctional family.

81
Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Confusing

See it if you like intense family drama, drenched in symbolism with hints of danger and surrealism (the mom)

Don't see it if Contains lots of violence and is not naturalistic. The stakes can also seem low/unreal. You don't like your narrative at service of metaphor

83
Great staging, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if Fan of the source material. Ethan Hawke.

Don't see it if Paul Dano is extremely weak. There is probably a good play here, but obscured by mediocre casting; missed opportunity.

75
Great writing, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Uneven pacing, Ok production of great play

See it if You are a fan of Shepard, Hawke, or Dano. You appreciate excellent dialogue.

Don't see it if You are bothered by family issues and violence.

Also This is one of my favorite plays-- and I've seen much sharper producti... Read more Read less

73
Slow, Americana

See it if Two fighting brothers' hate stems from their envy of each others' lives: well educated professional with family vs. wild and free loner.

Don't see it if Older, dry Americana plays on masculinity (what it means to be a man) and freedom (the West) bore you. Another angry white men story.

Also Ticket from HipTix for $25. Seat was corner of rear mezzanine. Disclai... Read more Read less

77
Quirky, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano both give excellent, if mismatched performances.

Don't see it if you are uninterested in an allegory about the evolution of the American West.

75
Intense, frightening, emotional, human

See it if Sam Shepard's strange view of the world appeals as challenging and provocative drama; excellent acting both funny and frightening

Don't see it if you want loose ends tied up, happy endings, easy answers, a neat and clean set and Ozzie & Harriet familiar relations.

86
Entertaining, Great acting, Funny, Great writing, Delightful

See it if Surprisingly breezy and funny production of the Shepherd staple ably acted by Hawke Dano & supporting cast

Don't see it if The bickering between the brothers can be a bit much at multiple points of the script

81
Absorbing, Great staging, Great writing, Resonant, Intense

See it if you want to see great actors tear through (if slightly overact) time-tested material.

Don't see it if you don't like plays that are more about relationships and psychology than plot


January 24th, 2019
"Sit back and get ready to enjoy the most perfectly distilled 50 minutes or so of classic Shepard you’re ever likely to see...The end of the first act left me breathless. The second act felt slightly off its rhythms...Mr. Dano was nailing the moves without making that final, essential leap into ...
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January 24th, 2019
"If the charismatic Hawke all but wipes the floor with Dano in the play’s first half, Dano gets his turn to act out in Act Two. These are showcase roles, and the actors play them with gusto...But if some aspects of 'True West' seem too neatly schematic, Shepard’s dissection of authenticity and ma...
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January 24th, 2019
"Hawke is lighting a fire (literally and figuratively) at the center of the play and clearly having a ball doing it. But on the other side of things, through some imperfect alchemy of actor, director, and character, Dano’s Austin can’t take the heat...Mayhem is aesthetically approximated, but it ...
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January 24th, 2019
"The expansive American Airlines Theatre isn't intimate enough to provide the necessary air of claustrophobia; the slack pacing of Act I allows boredom to settle in; and Hawke, as good as he is, is a bit too studied in his affect. He certainly tries hard, but you never get the sense of true dange...
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Cast & Creatives (11)