To kick off our Theatre Series, Hal Holbrook returns to The Palace in the role of his lifetime. On September 26, Holbrook joins us as Mark Twain in Hal Holbrook’s Mark Twain Tonight!
Holbrook uses letters and journal entries from Twain’s life to give modern audiences an idea of the person behind the internationally adored books. The show is biting, funny, and makes the audience feel like Mark Twain is really standing there in front of them, talking about his life and his work.
Holbrook, a critically acclaimed actor for his work on the stage and on the screen, began this project in the early 1950s as a show where he played various people from history, interviewed by his wife Ruby. Twain quickly becoming a favorite of both Holbrook and the audience, the show morphed into a one man show with Twain. The show premiered in 1954, and he toured around various colleges and local theatres. He eventually was picked up by producers and brought the show to New York in 1966. He earned a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play, and an Emmy Award in 1967 for the broadcasted version of the show.
|Poster from Holbrook's original show|
The show is still evolving even fifty years after its premiere. The original program from the 1959 Off-Broadway engagement included the note “While Mr. Twain’s selections will come from the list below, we have been unable to pin him down as to which of them he will do. He claims this would cripple his inspiration. However, he has generously conceded to a printed program for those who are in distress and wish to fan themselves.” This still appears on programs for the show.