The Colonial Theatre Presents John Lithgow: Stories By Heart 10/7
John Lithgow will bring his show: Stories By Heart to the Colonial on October 7, at 7:30PM. Tickets for the performance are $75 and $45 and can be purchased in person at the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street Monday-Friday 10AM-5PM, performance Saturdays 10AM-2PM, by calling (413) 997-4444 or online at www.thecolonialtheatre.org.
Tony and Emmy Award-winner John Lithgow performs a double-bill of stories: Uncle Fred Flits By by P.G. Wodehouse and Haircut by Ring Lardner. Stories By Heart is a touching and funny meditation on the art and essence of storytelling as the tie that binds humanity. Spanning three generations of family history, the performance-written and performed by John Lithgow-moves from the dazzling language of Wodehouse's comic monologues to Ring Lardner's dark and suspenseful story.
Invoking memories of his grandmother and father before him, Mr. Lithgow traces his roots as an actor and storyteller, interspersing his own story with two great stories that were read to him and his siblings when they were children. These are Uncle Fred Flits By by P.G. Wodehouse and Haircut by Ring Lardner.
In the first, a fretful young Englishman is taken on a wild afternoon's escapade in suburban London by his irrepressible uncle. In a hilarious tour de force, Lithgow performs with zany abandon, portraying ten distinct, outrageous characters (including a parrot). By contrast, Haircut is a darkly comic look at Midwestern American implacability. It is a captivating yarn told by a gossipy barber in small-town Michigan as he gives a shave and a haircut to a stranger in town. Stories By Heart provides ample evidence of the power of storytelling, the magic of theatre, and the talents of one of our greatest actors.
Although John Lithgow is an actor with a broad range of interests and talents in every area of the entertainment industry-and even outside it, he has been working in show business since the early seventies, and has achieved stunning success in wildly varied ventures. A list of his restless pursuits strains credulity. At heart, Lithgow is a theatre actor. In 1973, he won a Tony Award three weeks after his Broadway debut, in David Storey's The Changing Room. Since then, he has appeared on Broadway eighteen more times, earning another Tony, three more Tony nominations, four Drama Desk Awards, and induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame. His performances have included major roles in My Fat Friend, Trelawney of the "Wells," Comedians, Anna Christie, Bedroom Farce, Beyond Therapy, M. Butterfly, The Front Page, and most recently, Retreat from Moscow, Mrs. Farnsworth, and the musicals Sweet Smell of Success (his second Tony), and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. In 2007 Lithgow made his Royal Shakespeare Company debut as Malvolio in Neil Bartlett's production of Twelfth Night a rare honor for an American actor. In the fall of 2008, he returned to the Broadway stage as Joe Keller in the critically acclaimed revival of the Arthur Miller classic, All My Sons.
In the early 1980's Lithgow began to make a major mark in films. At that time, he was nominated for Oscars in back-to-back years, for The World According to Garp and Terms of Endearment. In the years before and after, he has appeared in over thirty films. Notable among them have been All That Jazz, Blow Out, Twilight Zone: the Movie, Footloose, 2010, Buckaroo Banzai, Harry and the Hendersons, Raising Cain, Ricochet, Cliffhanger, Orange County, Shrek, Kinsey, a flashy cameo in Dreamgirls and in the recent Confessions of a Shopaholic.
For his work on television, Lithgow has been nominated for ten Emmy Awards. He has won four of them, one for an episode of Amazing Stories, and three for what is perhaps his most celebrated creation, the loopy character of the alien High Commander, Dick Solomon, on the hit NBC comedy series 3rd Rock from the Sun. In that show's six-year run, Lithgow also won the Golden Globe, two SAG Awards, The American Comedy Award, and, when it finally went off the air, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
His other major appearances on television have included roles in The Day After, Resting Place, Baby Girl Scott, My Brother's Keeper, TNT's Don Quixote, and HBO's The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. He is currently starring in the critically acclaimed Showtime series Dexter.
And then there is Lithgow's work for children.
Since 1998 he has written seven NY Times best-selling children's picture books, including The Remarkable Farkle McBride, Marsupial Sue, Micawber and I'm a Manatee and his most recent I Got Two Dogs. In addition, he has created two Lithgow Palooza activity books for parents and children, Lithgow Palooza Readers for use in elementary schools, and the forthcoming The Poets' Corner for Warner Books, a compilation of fifty classic poems aimed at young people, to stir an early interest in poetry. All of this work has won him two Parents' Choice Silver Honor Awards, and four Grammy Award nominations.
He sings, too.
Lithgow has performed concerts for children with the Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, San Diego and Pittsburgh Symphonies where he returns this season. Last season, he appeared at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke's and the Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestra as well as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in his version of Carnival of the Animals. He has released three kids' albums, Singin' in the Bathtub, Farkle & Friends, and the Grammy-nominated The Sunny Side of the Street, released by Razor & Tie Records. All of these concerts and albums have included several his of own songs and rhyming narrations.
And then there is the ballet.
In 2003, the noted choreographer Christopher Wheeldon invited Lithgow to collaborate with him on a new piece for the New York City Ballet. The result was Carnival of the Animals, a ballet for fifty dancers, with music by Camille Saint-Saens and with Lithgow's verse narration. Lithgow himself spoke the narration from the stage. At a certain point he ducked into the wings, climbed into costume, and re-emerged to dance the role of The Elephant. He has performed this feat twenty times, and will repeat it with the Houston and Pennsylvania Ballets. The project also spawned another award-winning children's book, Carnival of the Animals, and another Grammy-nominated CD.
John Lithgow was born in Rochester, New York, but grew up in Ohio, graduated from high school in Princeton, New Jersey, attended Harvard College, and used a Fulbright Grant to study at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art. He was honored by Harvard with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2005, and, at that time, was invited to deliver the school's Commencement Address. He concluded his address with a new children's book, written for the occasion and dedicated to Harvard's Class of '05. The book, Mahalia Mouse Goes to College, is calculated to instill an interest in higher education in very small children. It is a March 2007 release from Simon & Schuster.
Mr. Lithgow has three grown children, a granddaughter, and lives in Los Angles with his wife Mary, a Professor of Economic and Business History at UCLA.
"Is there another actor breathing who's as sweetly charming as John Lithgow? Bravura storytelling."-Variety
"Simply put, the triumph of successful acting."-The New York Times
"No doubt about it: John Lithgow is a formidable raconteur."-Backstage
"Lithgow at his heartwarming best."-Reuters
Tickets are $75 and $45 and can be purchased in person at the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street Monday-Friday 10AM-5PM, performance Saturdays 10AM-2PM, by calling (413) 997-4444 or online at www.TheColonialTheatre.org