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Road Less Traveled leads to 'True West' for its next production

Gina Gandolfo-Lopez

When "True West" opens Friday at Road Less Traveled Theater on Friday, it will be the first time the theater company has tackled the work of American playwright Sam Shepard. Based on a recent glimpse of the production, the cast and crew are relishing the chance to bring Shepard's work to Buffalo.

"He's one of the great American playwrights that we're fortunate enough to have a really substantial body of work that he's given us," said actor Matt Witten, who plays Austin, one of two brothers whose dysfunctional relationship is at the center of "True West."

"I think out of the canon of Sam Shepard work, this is his best play," said director Scott Behrend.

Playing the other brother, Lee, is actor Dave Mitchell.

"Doing this play is just incredible. The vibrancy of the characters and the way the dialog moves," said Mitchell, who served as an extra on "Curtain Call," a film that also featured Sam Shepard as a cast member.

While running through his lines with Witten, Mitchell showed off his character's explosive nature.

"Normally, I'm an easy going guy so playing Lee is a different challenge," Mitchell acknowledged.

"I need a good 15 minutes to go find Lee. He lives on a different planet."

Witten offered a similar assessment of his counterpart's character.

"I'm an only child, so if I were to have a sibling, I would hope sincerely that he was nothing like Lee."

"True West" runs through November 20th at the Road Less Traveled Theater at 500 Pearl Street in Buffalo.

Monday - Friday, 6 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.