The Zephyr Theatre to stage Sam Shepard’s ‘True West’
The 1980s’ suburban kitchen with its yellow curtains, wall-mounted telephone, and glass-topped table sets the scene for “True West,” on stage at The Zephyr Theatre Sept. 8-24. That tidy room becomes a battleground when adult brothers grapple with each other — and themselves — in the play written by Sam Shepard.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and actor — and one-time Stillwater resident — died in 2017, and among his accomplishments was this drama. “ ‘True West’ is considered a classic of modern theatre,” said Randal Berger, The Zephyr’s associate artistic director, who will co-direct the run with Calyssa Hall, The Zephyr’s executive director.
The play focuses on two brothers. Lee, a drifter, petty thief, and ne’er-do-well, has been living in the desert before resurfacing at his mother’s home. His return is a surprise to his brother Austin, a button-down husband and father who is trying to find a little peace and quiet to write a screenplay. Austin thinks he’s living the American dream. Lee rattles his cage. Both men lose their footing.
Squaring off on The Zephyr’s stage will be Equity actors Reed Sigmund, The Zephyr’s director of education, and David Andrew Macdonald. Sigmund, portraying Lee, will bring the intense physicality he recently unleashed as the wild and crazy guy in “School of Rock.” Macdonald, new to The Zephyr’s main stage, will show his acting chops as Austin when the brothers start to shout, push, shove, and roll on the floor.
In the middle of the chaos, another “actor” emerges. “Silence is almost a third character,” said Berger, who is eager to let the pregnant pause, the unspoken word, the uncomfortable void punctuate the brothers’ struggle to communicate.
The sometimes dark “True West” is sandwiched between The Zephyr’s Broadway by the Bridge summer musical “School of Rock” and the December production of “Holiday Inn.”
“We’ve been talking about ‘True West’ for a long time,” Berger said. “It makes a good contrast to the other shows we’ve been doing. And it gives us a chance to dig into a complex and detailed character study.”
And for the “True West” audience? “You’ll be moved and challenged to examine yourself, and enjoy doing it.” Berger said.
“True West” will be performed at 7 p.m. Sept. 8-24 at The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater. Tickets are $32 adults and $22 students at stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org. Cash bar open.
Let the Art Move You, Sept. 25
The third annual Let the Art Move You Gala, The Zephyr Theatre’s largest fundraiser of the year, will be held Sept. 25, and Stillwater Trolley Co. will provide the transport. Modeled off of popular progressive-dinner events, the gala will start and end at the theatre and include trolley rides to three downtown Stillwater venues — The Grand Banquet Hall, Nacho Mama’s, and Ziggy’s on Main. Food, drink, and entertainment — music, dance, or theatre — will await at each stop.
Let the Art Move You Gala will be held Sept. 25 at The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater. Time slots are 4, 4:30, 5, 5:30, and 6 p.m. Each time slot will accommodate 30 people. Tickets are $75 at stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org.
Broadway on the Roof, Sept. 7, 14, 21, and 28
An open-air musical revue will be presented by The Zephyr Theatre at Papa’s Rooftop at the Water Street Inn in downtown Stillwater. Along with the entertainment, there will be a three-course meal with wine pairings.
Broadway on the Roof will begin at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 7, 14, 21, and 28 at the Water Street Inn, 101 Water St. S., Stillwater. Tickets are $80 to $100 at stillwaterzephyrtheatre.ticketworks.com.
Everything I Own …, Sept. 20
This tribute to the band Bread will feature Wayne Anthony and an eight-piece ensemble, and it will promise some of the most romantic songs ever written. Bread had 13 Billboard-charting songs, including “Make It With You,” “Baby I’m a Want You,” and “If.”
Everything I Own … will be presented at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater. Tickets are $35 at stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org or at the door. Cash bar open.
Letho and Wright, Sept. 21
John Wright, the founding member and bass player for Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, will return to The Zephyr with a Minnesota-based three-man folk, folk rock, and progressive rock band.
Letho and Wright will perform at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 on the outdoor stage at The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater. Tickets are $20 at stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org or at the gate. Cash bar open.
Literature Lovers’ Night Out, Sept. 28
Valley Bookseller will present a gathering of national and local authors at The Zephyr Theatre. Featured authors will be Peter Geye (“Sky Jumpers”), Gretchen Anthony (“The Book Haters’ Book Club”), Jillian Medoff (“When We Were Bright and Beautiful”), and Carol Dunbar (“The Net Beneath Us”).
Literature Lovers’ Night Out will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater. Tickets are $15 at fareharbor.com/valleybookseller. Cash bar open.