Capitol Center for the Arts Presents Oscar-Nominee Hal Holbrook in MARK TWAIN TONIGHT!, 4/11
Oscar®-nominee Hal Holbrook returns to the Capitol Center for the Arts on Friday, April 11 at 8:00 PM in Mark Twain Tonight! - his acclaimed Tony® Award-winning one-man show which celebrates the humor, satirical wit, and timeless observations of Mark Twain. Tickets start at $45 and are on sale now at the Capitol Center box office, located at 44 South Main Street, Concord, NH, via phone at 603-225-1111, and online at www.ccanh.com.
Hal Holbrook has never been able to quit Mark Twain and probably never will. He has toured the show in some part of every year since 1954, with over 2,100 performances, making 2009 the 55th consecutive year for this remarkable one-man show. Mark Twain Tonight! has become perhaps the longest-running show in theatre history. Holbrook adds to his Twain material every year, editing and changing it to fit the times, and has mined over sixteen hours of Twain with more coming all the time. He has no set program - he chooses material as he goes along.
Holbrook's Mark Twain characterization grew out of an honors project at Denison University, in which he and his first wife Ruby created a two-person show, playing characters from Shakespeare to Twain. Holbrook's first solo performance as Mark Twain was at the Lock Haven State Teachers College in Pennsylvania in 1954. While hunting for a job in New York, the show was his desperate alternative to selling hats or running elevators to keep his family alive. The following year, Holbrook pursued the Twain character at night in a Greenwich Village night club and was spotted by Ed Sullivan, who gave his Twain national television exposure.
In 1959, after five years of researching Mark Twain and honing his material in front of countless audiences in small towns all over America, he opened at a tiny theatre off-Broadway in New York. He was a stunning overnight success, as stunning to Holbrook as anyone else. "The critics went wild." (Associated Press). "Mr. Holbrook's material is uproarious, his ability to hold an audience by acting is brilliant." (New York Times). "Uncanny. A dazzling display of virtuosity." (The New Yorker). "One of the treasures of the American Theatre." (Life Magazine).
After a twenty-two week run in New York, he toured the country again, performed for President Eisenhower, and appeared at the Edinburgh Festival. The State Department sent him on a tour of Europe, during which he became the first American dramatic attraction to go behind the Iron Curtain following World War II. At 36 years old, he was a star who had never appeared in a Broadway play, a nighttime television show, or a movie.
With his success came roles on Broadway; at the acclaimed Shakespeare Festival Theatre in Stratford, Connecticut; and with the original Lincoln Center Repertory Company in New York, among others. He continued to do Mark Twain every year, and in 1966, on Broadway, his second New York engagement won him a Tony® Award and a Drama Critics' Circle Award. This was followed in 1967 by a ninety-minute CBS television special of Mark Twain Tonight!, which was nominated for an Emmy® Award and seen by an audience of 22 million.
Throughout his long career, Holbrook has continued to perform Mark Twain every year, including his third and fourth New York engagements in 1977 and 2005; and a world tour in 1985, the 150th anniversary of Mark Twain's birth.
Stage-and-screen legend Hal Holbrook was born in Cleveland in 1925, and enjoyed an illustrious and acclaimed early career in the theater, highlighted by his lauded one-man show Mark Twain Tonight!
In 1970, after a dozen plays in New York, he was brought to Hollywood to star in a controversial television series,The Senator, which won eight Emmy® Awards and was cancelled in one year. In the 39 years since then, Holbrook has done some 50 television movies and mini-series, been nominated for twelve Emmys® and won five for The Senator (1971), Pueblo (1974), Best Actor of the Year (1974), Sandburg's Lincoln (1976), and as host and narrator of Portrait of America (1989). He has appeared in two sitcoms: Designing Women and Evening Shade, and has made guest appearances on The West Wing, the sitcoms Becker and Hope & Faith, The Sopranos and NCIS.
Equally at home on the big screen, Holbrook's movie career began with The Group in 1966 when he was 41-years-old. Since then, moviegoers have seen him in nearly 40 films including Magnum Force, Midway, All The President's Men, Julia, Capricorn One, The Fog, Star Chamber, Creepshow, Wall Street, The Firm, The Bachelor, Waking The Dead, Men of Honor, The Majestic, Shade, Killshot, and most recently, Into the Wild, written and directed by Sean Penn, for which he received his first Academy Award nomination. In 2008, he completed filming That Evening Sun which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin in March 2009.
In addition to his work on the screen, Holbrook has constantly returned to the stage: in New York (Buried Inside Extra, 1983; The Country Girl, 1984; King Lear 1990; An American Daughter, 1997); at regional theatres (Our Town, Uncle Vanya, Merchant Of Venice, King Lear, A Life In The Theatre, Be My Baby and Southern Comforts, the last two with his wife Dixie Carter); and a National Tour of Death of a Salesman.