I used to be famous for writing books.
Now I’m famous for being famous.
Truman Streckfus Persons wanted to be somebody special when he grew up. He wanted the adoration and glamour of being someone unique and distinctive. He got his wish and some might say more than what he bargained for, when he took on his stepfather’s last name after moving to New York with his mother. He wasn’t extraordinarily handsome, but he can charm the most hardened individual with his grand storytelling that seemed just out of this world. The late Phillip Seymour Hoffman won the Oscar for Best Actor for the film “Capote.” He absorbed the diminutive writer in the way he spoke, wore the most fashionable clothing and had the type of charisma that had society ladies flock around him. Michael-Anthony Nozzi has the same allure with a side of extra sass. He breathes enormous life to Capote’s world by giving the excitement along with the sorrow.
Tru opens up with Capote getting ready to heading out of his luxurious apartment at the United Nations Plaza in New York, to a Christmas party at Oscar-nominated actress and close friend Ava Gardner’s house. The sad looking Christmas tree at the corner of the stage is proof on how valuable the holiday meant to the writer. He stays on the phone having conversations with a myriad of people. With Tiffany gift bags ready to be taken, Capote, dressed in a red shirt, black slacks and a long Chinese robe, speaks in his well-known nasally voice giving the dish to Gardner on what’s going on. He drops famous names, easily. He mentions about Louie, as in trumpet player Armstrong and Marilyn, as in the troubled but sultry actress Monroe, as if they were every day neighbors dropping in for coffee and cake. Off the phone, Tru can relax and be himself. He recalls about his youth, growing up with best friend and colleague Harper Lee and sharing his love with fellow writer Jack Dunphy, as he snorts a line of cocaine and smokes pot. Nozzi plays Tru as a man you either receive with open arms or keep it going. Accept him warts and all or keep away from him if you don’t want to mix in his company. But, what company is he involved with? He knew the Paleys. Husband William found the television network CBS and his wife Babe was a fashion icon. Capote was friendly with Lee Radziwill, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ sister. However, take heed of differentiating the truth from the fantastic. Capote was known for exaggerating on whom he knew well and intimately. In the end, it doesn’t really matter. He had such a wild imagination it was hard not to fall under his spell.
Nozzi takes this petite writer, Capote stood barely at 5’3” and made him into a powerhouse. Capote knew how cut deep into anyone who showed any disrespect. At this point in his life, he’s done with his famous creative non-fiction novel “In Cold Blood” and the book turned movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” which made Holly Golightly a household name. He reluctantly moves on to “Answered Prayers.” The book where he smartly re-negotiates for higher advances but never finished. The title refers to a quote by Saint Teresa of Ávila, “Answered prayers cause more tears than those that remain unanswered”. It would be hard to feel sympathy towards Capote. He made a good living, was a jet-setter with the the beautiful people, had a man who loved him but still couldn’t shake off his insecurities, which stemmed from his horrific childhood, that stayed with him until his death in 1984 at age 59 from liver cancer.
Nozzi does evoke empathy to the once brilliant writer. At his loneliest, Capote does reminisce the good times but doesn’t forget the damage that it also caused. He’s an honest son-of-a-bitch who begs to be re-read.
TRU ends on Sunday, June 28th at 2 p.m. at The Lounge Theatre, located at 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. For ticket information, call 323-510-2688 or reserve online at www.crtheatre.com