PBS interviewed playwright David Auburn and asked about creating a story based on real people. Here's what Mr. Auburn had to say:
How did you try to strike a balance between the portrayal of real-life figures with a true history…and the demands of creating your own character for a play?
David Auburn: Navigating the line between being true to broad historical facts and working on a character was one of the challenges. I think the story is historically compelling…other people can say how it feels to them when looking at the history. I think people can come away from this play with a pretty accurate portrayal of the situation at the time.
The relationship with the Russian man [who is part of a blackmail scheme] is speculative. That’s probably the biggest liberty I take. [Editor’s note: Alsop was blackmailed over his closeted homosexuality, but the Russian man in the play is a fictional character.] Alsop’s marriage did dissolve but that all did happen later in the `70s. I moved it back earlier to try to draw some contrasts. His daughter in the play is a composite of a number of stepchildren he had.