OXFORD, Miss. – Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor Hal Holbrook will perform his solo show “Mark Twain Tonight!” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (Oct. 7) in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Mississippi.
Holbrook, who created the play, has been performing it every year since 1954, making 2014 the 60th year he’s portrayed the man George Bernard Shaw called “America’s Voltaire.” His first performance of Twain on campus in October 1962 came in the days just after the deadly riots that followed the enrollment of James Meredith as the university’s first black student.
Holbrook, 89, said he’s looking forward to coming back to Ole Miss. He last performed the play here in May 2006.
“It’s important to me,” Holbrook said. “Going there in 1962 with the Army rolling through town and violence in the air and one brave black student named James Meredith facing up to it, was an important moment in my life. I had to bet on what I sensed was waiting, silently, in the Southern mind: the moment to step forward. That night Mark Twain told the truth and they stepped forward and I have never forgotten it. I admired them. Coming back will mean thinking about where we are now.”
The actor will portray the author of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” in what is probably the longest running theater performance in American history.
Holbrook’s portrayal of the author has been characterized by the New Yorker as “Uncanny. A dazzling display of virtuosity.” He received a Tony Award for “Mark Twain Tonight!” in 1966, and drew 30 million viewers on CBS television in 1967. He has won five Emmy awards for other roles and was nominated for an Oscar for “Into the Wild.” He has had roles in “Designing Women” and “Evening Shade” and made appearances on many other movies and television shows.
Tickets in the Ford Center’s orchestra pit, orchestra and parterre are $55, mezzanine seats are $50 and balcony tickets are $39. For more information, call 662-915-2787 or email email@example.com.