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Howard Dean, Live Onstage?

No way, says Trippi.


The main character in Beau Willimon’s play Farragut North, which opens November 12, is a hotshot young press secretary (played by John Gallagher Jr.; see here) for an insurgent presidential campaign headed for victory in Iowa—just like Howard Dean’s 2004 effort, which Willimon worked on. How much is based on real life? “He drew some of the characters out of the personalities he saw,” says former Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi, who is still in touch with Willimon. “But the story is a fictional campaign. These are fictional people.” The campaign manager’s career collapses when he has an affair with a 19-year-old intern. That, says Trippi, is entirely fictional, as is a scene in which an opposing campaign tells its supporters to lie to pollsters in order to fool the Deanesque campaign into expecting victory. Willimon says the events and characters in his play, which has been optioned for a movie with George Clooney attached, “have no parallels in real life.”

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