On Stage: Remembering Sam Shepard

Aug 14, 2017

The theatre world lost a giant on July 27 with the passing of playwright Sam Shepard from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Mr. Shepard was 73.

Over the course of his career, which spanned more than half a century, Shepard found success as an actor, a playwright, an author, and a director. 

He wrote 44 plays, including the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Fool for Love and True West. In 1979, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his work, Buried Child.  He won a record-setting 10 Obie Awards for writing and directing, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Chuck Yeager in the film The Right Stuff.

My first experience with his work was a production of Buried Child that was onstage at the Pit Theatre at WSU more than 30 years ago. I had never seen anything like it and obviously, I never forgot it. 

Although we are not in the path of totality for the upcoming eclipse, the play Moon Over Buffalo is still shining onstage at The Kechi Playhouse through Aug. 27. Playwright Ken Ludwig, whose first Broadway play, Lend Me A Tenor, won three Tony Awards and was nominated for nine, wrote the farce Moon Over Buffalo as a vehicle for Carol Burnett's return to Broadway in 1995. Ludwig's work has received a number of honors over the years, including a couple of Olivier Awards, a couple of Helen Hayes Awards, and in 2014, a Falstaff Award for his book “How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare.”