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Dennehy to dazzle Beaver Creek with drama

Andrew Harley
Special to the Daily Actor Brian Dennehy is scheduled to headline the Beaver Creek theatre Festival this summer.
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He has a familiar face and a gigantic stage presence. Brian Dennehy will headline this year’s Theatre Festival at The Vilar Center for the Arts in Beaver Creek with his portrayal of blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo. Dennehy presents the two-man play, “Trumbo,” in a one-night performance, which will take place on Saturday, June 26, 2004, at 6:30 p.m.

“I think having a headliner that’s doing a true theater piece is giving some credence to the festival,” said Beaver Creek Theatre Festival press contact Shelley Woodworth.

Brian Dennehy’s 30-year acting career is well-travelled, from bit-parts on “Dynasty,” “M*A*S*H” and “Just Shoot Me” to major roles on the silver-screen in “The Jericho Mile,” “First Blood,” “Cocoon” and “Tommy Boy.” His numerous awards include a Golden Globe and Screen Actor’s Guild Award (“Death of a Salesman”), two Tony Awards (“Death of a Salesman” and “Long Day’s Journey into Night”) and five Emmy Award nominations. Dennehy first performed “Trumbo” off-Broadway in New York City.

“He’s a very well-known character actor. If people don’t know his name, but recognize his face, they’ll say, ‘Oh, that’s the guy from (fill in the blank),'” said Woodworth.

Colorado-born Dalton Trumbo earned a name as one of the great screenwriters of Hollywood. Trumbo penned countless screenplays early in his career, but first gained fame with his anti-war novel “Johnny Got His Gun,” that was later turned into a motion picture. Trumbo was a member of the infamous “Hollywood Ten” and was blacklisted for his leftist views. He spent time in jail for contempt when he refused to testify for the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Trumbo’s writing credits include classics like “Roman Holiday,” “Spartacus,” “Exodus” and “Papillon.” Many of his works were written under various pseudonyms and one, “The Brave One,” won Trumbo an Oscar under his front-name Robert Rich.

“I think Trumbo’s subject matter is appealing for actors who are involved in Hollywood and know blacklisting went on. I think it’s viewed as a black mark on Hollywood,” said Woodworth. “I think there’s a certain amount of regret from Hollywood that this happened, so a lot of actors feel the need to play this role.”

During this tumultuous time in Dalton Trumbo’s life, he would wrote two or three extremely lengthy, detailed and opinionated letters every week to various recipients. Some letters were negative in tone, attacking his accusers, some were supportive to colleagues and family and others were sarcastic, witty and funny. These letters are the base of Christopher Trumbo’s play, “Trumbo.”

Christopher Trumbo compiled what he felt were the best of his father’s letters and turned them into a play – which is basically a dramatic reading of well-scripted verses.

Nathan Lane originated the role of “Trumbo” in New York, where it played an extended run at the Westside Theatre. The play’s subject matter and simple format soon became a star-vehicle as Robert Loggia, F. Murray Abraham, Gore Vidal, Richard Dreyfuss, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Richards and Chris Cooper, along with Dennehy have all had stints.

“Trumbo,” with Brian Dennehy, will replace the previously scheduled show with Kevin Kline, “The Best of All Possible Words.” Kline accepted a role starring in MGM’s “The Birth of the Pink Panther” and shooting schedules prevent his attending the Theatre Festival in Beaver Creek this year.

For more information or to by tickets, call 970.845.TIXS (8497), toll-free at 888.920.ARTS (2787), or visit http://www.vilarcenter.org.

AT A GLANCE:

Beaver Creek Theatre Festival 2004 Schedule of Events:

Wednesday, June 23:

11 a.m. Open-Air Family Theatre FREE, Beaver Creek Plaza

8 p.m. “Yellowman” Curious Theatre Company $20, Allie’s Cabin

Thursday, June 24:

11 a.m. Open-Air Family Theatre FREE, Beaver Creek Plaza

6:30 p.m. “43 Plays for 43 Presidents” Neo-Futurists $25, Vilar Center

Friday, June 25:

11 a.m. Open-Air Family Theatre FREE, Beaver Creek Plaza

6:30 p.m. “Catalpa” Donal O’Kelly $40, Vilar Center

9:30 p.m. “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” Neo-Futurists $20,

Allie’s Cabin

Saturday, June 26:

11 a.m. Open-Air Family Theatre FREE, Beaver Creek Plaza

6:30 p.m. “Trumbo” Brian Dennehy $55-$150, Vilar Center

9:30 p.m. “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” Neo-Futurists $20,

Allie’s Cabin


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