Metro Weekly

George Mason University’s ‘Luther’s Trumpet’ will stretch your imagination

Edward Gero portrays Martin Luther opposite Craig Wallace as Pope Leo X in a new digital, pre-recorded production

Luther's Trumpet: Edward Gero
Luther’s Trumpet: Edward Gero — Photo: Shelby Burgess

James Reston, Jr. came to fame as David Frost’s “top gun,” the Watergate adviser whose work helped the journalist take down a president, and eventually helped inform Peter Morgan’s Frost/Nixon on Broadway and Ron Howard’s film adaptation, in which Reston was portrayed by Sam Rockwell.

Over the past five decades, Reston has established himself as a prolific author of popular books on a wide range of historical and political themes — including this year’s 9/11 novel The Nineteenth Hijacker and at least two others he’s adapted for the stage, 1994’s Galileo: A Life, which became the play Galileo’s Torch, and 2015’s Luther’s Fortress: Martin Luther and His Reformation Under Siege.

First performed in 2018, Luther’s Trumpet is a work of imaginative history focused on the dramatic years after Martin Luther famously nailed his 95 Theses to the door of a German church in 1516, eventually giving birth to Protestantism and the Lutheran Church — though not before the Catholic Church, under Pope Leo X, waged holy war on the excommunicated monk, fully intending to kill Luther if they could only find where he went into hiding.

Edward Gero portrays Luther opposite Craig Wallace as Pope Leo X in a new digital, pre-recorded production from George Mason University’s School of Theater.

The production is billed as a “hybrid,” one largely performed and recorded on the Center for the Arts’ Concert Hall stage but enhanced with scenic effects using new experimental video projection technology developed at Mason called the Moving Story Window Wall, which allowed some actors to appear remotely.

“We’re bringing together some of the region’s top professional actors, talented Mason theater students, and outstanding community performers in a production space unlike any other I’ve ever seen — a true hybrid of in-person action on stage interacting with a world created online via Zoom,” says Rick Davis, the production’s director and also the dean of the Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.

“This is both a pandemic accommodation and an experiment in post-pandemic techniques that will stretch our imaginations and, if it works, will set us free from some of our traditional space constraints.” 

Luther’s Trumpet is available to stream anytime between Friday, May 28, at 8 p.m. through Saturday, June 5, at midnight. Free, but registration is required. Visit

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