Patrick Christiano Reprises the Role of Truman Capote at Southampton Arts Center - 27 East

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Patrick Christiano Reprises the Role of Truman Capote at Southampton Arts Center

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Patrick Christiano as Truman Capote. COURTESY SOUTHAMPTON ARTS CENTER

Patrick Christiano as Truman Capote. COURTESY SOUTHAMPTON ARTS CENTER

Patrick Christiano. COURTESY PATRICK CHRISTIANO

Patrick Christiano. COURTESY PATRICK CHRISTIANO

Hope Hamilton on Jun 14, 2024

When Patrick Christiano was just 12 years old, he sat down in his godmother’s backyard and read all 180 pages of Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” in one sitting. Christiano says that Capote has been “weaved into his consciousness” ever since.

It’s apt, then, that Christiano will be performing the role of Truman Capote at the Southampton Arts Center on Saturday and Sunday, June 22 and 23, in an upcoming staged reading of “Tru,” a play written by Jay Presson Allen and directed by Will Pomerantz. Set on Christmas Eve 1975, the one-man show details the fallout surrounding the drama inside Capote’s thinly veiled (and very gossipy) unfinished tell-all book “Answered Prayers,” which was published posthumously and at the time the play is set, had appeared as an excerpt in Esquire magazine. Its publication offended a number of Capote’s closest friends and confidantes including Babe Paley, wife of CBS president William Paley. The show, a two-act drama, is composed entirely of Capote’s writings.

This is not the first time Christiano will be performing “Tru.” In 2011, the New York-based actor played the same role at Players by the Sea in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

“When I got the opportunity to play Truman, I jumped at it,” he said, adding that he studied speech theater in college and acted at HB studio when has a teenager, where he worked under celebrated acting coach Alice Spivak. “She laid the foundation for everything I know as an actor.

Christiano took a break from acting as an adult to pursue real estate on the East End. After a while, the resolute nature of the job started to take a toll.

“In real estate, you have to be serious all the time. I realized I wasn’t playing enough,” said Christiano, who went back to acting by taking part in a workshop every Tuesday for the next 20 years.

It wasn’t until recently that the opportunity to play Truman Capote again popped up.

Christiano has a group of friends that formed after Christiano got a puppy, appropriately named Truman, and started taking him out into the city to socialize. His “dog friends,” as Christiano calls them, were the ones who encouraged him to take another look at “Tru.”

From there, Christiano reached out to Christina Mossaides Strassfield, the executive director at Southampton Arts Center, and relayed his interest in putting the show up as one of this season’s staged readings. After securing Bay Street Theater’s associate artistic director Will Pomerantz to direct, everything was set.

Despite having done the role before, it will still be quite a challenge. Even though the role is, as Christiano puts it, “in his bones,” he still has to do a lot to prepare.

“The biggest challenge,” Christiano said, is “not to make it static, to keep it interesting.” But he isn’t worried. “Will Pomerantz has a lot of interesting ideas,” he continued.

Connecting to the character of Truman is easy for Christiano. “I’ve always identified with him a little bit,” he said. He relates to Capote in that they were both only children who grew up in the South and loved to write.

“I feel connected because I’ve found the similarities that make him come to life,” he said. “You learn to find aspects of yourself that serve the role. He’s a big character, he’s very alive and very out there, and that makes me game as an actor.”

Christiano is excited to be revisiting this role that has always meant so much to him.

“Truman is my muse,” he said. “I feel like I was destined to do this. It’s very stimulating to be reviving something like this that was such an artistic achievement for me. I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity.”

“Tru” starring Patrick Christiano will be performed at the Southampton Arts Center, 25 Pond Lane, Southampton, on Saturday, June 22, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, June 23, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $20 and can be purchased at southamptonartscenter.org.

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