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Arnold Grossman/Dick Lamm novel becomes stage play

Imagine: a naïve man from Texas running for president, threatening Middle Eastern countries interested in gaining power, independent third parties trying to get into the White House at any cost, and oil—along with “big money”—playing a key role through it all.

Some may think this scenario describes the current state of affairs in the United States. But, it’s actually the plot of 1988, a political suspense novel co-authored in 1985 by Arnold Grossman, BA English and theatre’ 59, and former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm, director of DU’s Institute for Public Policy Studies.

The book is today being revived in the form of a stage play, Tarnished Eagle, by Denver playwright Kathleen Hopkins. “A few years ago, Kathleen asked Dick if she could turn the book into a play,” Grossman recalls. “It had never occurred to me that it could be a stage play because there is so much action in the book.

“There is relevance between the plot and today’s current situation,” Grossman notes. “For example, there is a question as to whether or not current Vice President Dick Cheney will remain vice president because of health problems. In the book, the independent party’s running mate is asked to step down due to drug addictions because of back pains.”

Grossman will help with the play if needed, but says he doesn’t want to get in the way. “At one point I had considered taking a part in the play, but I learned here at DU that I can’t act,” he chuckles.

Grossman got his start writing for the Clarion at DU and went on to write for such magazines as Good Housekeeping, Redbook and Playboy. He has written TV commercials, screenplays and newspaper articles, and then became a media consultant, which is how he met Lamm.

“Dick was one of my clients for two of his three campaigns,” Grossman says. “We became good friends and decided to write this novel together.”

Expectations for the play, which opens Sept. 16 at Denver’s Industrial Arts Theatre, are high.

“Kathleen is thinking of extending the play beyond election day because of political interest,” Grossman says. For now, the play is slated to run Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until Oct. 21.

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