Terkel and the subject of the drama, screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, have something important in common. The play tells the story of one of the "Hollywood Ten" who went before the House Un-American Activities Committee. After refusing to answer questions about his political affiliations, Trumbo was fired from MGM and imprisoned for a year. Terkel, too, was investigated by Joseph McCarthy and the committee, resulting in the cancellation of his television show, "Studs' Place."
Terkel bounced back, writing a jazz column for the Chicago Sunday Times. In 1958 he started his long-running daily radio program on WFMT, "The Studs Terkel Show." But it was his many oral history books that brought him lasting fame. They include "Division Street: America" (1967), "Hard Times" (1970), "Working" (1974), "American Dreams: Lost and Found" (1980), the Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Good War" (1985), "The Great Divide" (1988), "Race" (1992), "Coming of Age" (1995), "Talking to Myself: A Memoir of My Times" (1995), "My American Century" (1998) and "Will the Circle be Unbroken?" (2001). His latest book, "Hope Dies Last" (2003), deals with the threat of terrorism and its affect on the American psyche.
Following the performance, Terkel will discuss his own experiences with Trumbo and the blacklist. Mark Lococo directs. Ross Lehman co-stars.
The Off-Broadway engagement of Trumbo closed Jan. 18. The production played 10 previews and 168 regular performances.
Peter Askin (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Sexaholix... a love story) directed the staging which has its lead actor reading from a script mostly seated at a desk. Steppenwolf is located at 1650 N. Halsted Street. Call (312) 335-1650 or consult www.steppenwolf.org.