Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?: Off-Broadway Trumbo Homage Ends, Jan. 18

News   Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?: Off-Broadway Trumbo Homage Ends, Jan. 18
The Off-Broadway engagement of Christopher Trumbo's play Trumbo — an homage to his screenwriting father Dalton Trumbo — closes Jan. 18. Charles Durning stars.

The production ends, having played 10 previews and 168 regular performances in its new run.

Christopher Trumbo, son of the work's focal character, culled the play from the letters of the legendary blacklisted screenwriter. Trumbo 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.

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. The words of Trumbo echo upon subjects as serious as injustice tempered with a lighthearted letter to his son doling advice on masturbation. The Narrator fills out the storyline with biographical details between scenes — as do film projections including actual footage from the HUAC hearings.

Trumbo, which originally played Monday evenings only for a run March 31-June 16, continued its rotating cast structure at the Westside Theatre for its current Tuesdays-to-Sundays run, which opened Sept. 4 at the theatre.

Nathan Lane began the official run in the title role with successive stints featuring F. Murray Abraham, Brian Dennehy, Gore Vidal, Richard Dreyfuss, Roger Rees, Robert Loggia, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Richards and Chris Cooper. Gordon McDonald has played in the show's other role of Narrator/Christopher. Dalton Trumbo wrote such screenplays as "Exodus," "Spartacus," "Roman Holiday" and "Papillon" as well as the novel "Johnny Got His Gun." The homage addresses the Oscar he never won for "The Brave One" — penned under the pseudonym Robert Rich.

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