Thursday, May 29, 2014

St. Peterburg theater opens Shepard's 'True West'

   It can be hard to satisfy your theater cravings this time of year, but here's a promising show for you, if you don't mind driving across the Skyway.
   The Tampa Bay Actor’s Theatre is staging "True West," probably the best-known play by the great Sam Shepard, at the Studio@620 June 5-8.
   "True West" is a substantial and powerful drama that premiered in 1980. It has had a couple of  legendary productions. Gary Sinise and John Malkovich played the two leads in a Steppenwolf Theatre production, directed by Sinise, that was filmed and shown on PBS. In 2000, John C. Reilly and Philip Seymour Hoffman had the leads in the Broadway production, and switched roles frequently during the run. Audiences didn't know which actor would be in which role until they got to the theater.
   The list of formidable actors who have performed "True West" is impressive: Besides Sinise, Malkovich, Reilly and Hoffman the big-name actors who have starred in "True West" include Peter Boyle, Tommy Lee Jones,  Peter Coyote, Bruce Willis, Jim Belushi, Gary Cole and both Quaid brothers.
   Studio@620 is a very cool intimate space that's home to a lot of great small and ad hoc theater companies, including the Tampa Bay Actor’s Theatre. This production is directed by Keven Renken, who's very reliable and who heads the theater department at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts.
    Tickets are $20 or $15 for students and seniors. Curtain is at 7 p.m Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
   The Studio@620 is at 620 First Ave. S., in downtown St. Petersburg. Call  727-895-6620 or go to


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