GRANVILLE, Ohio—Maybe you remember him as the mysterious informant in “All The President’s Men,” or more recently for his Oscar-nominated role in “Into The Wild,” but Emmy-winning actor and Denison University alumnus Hal Holbrook probably has impacted the majority of people with his portrayal of one of America’s most beloved humorists, Mark Twain. Though Holbrook, a member of the Denison class of 1948, will bring Twain’s sage opinions to the stage in nearby New Albany on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 20, it is his own wit and wisdom that will be the highlight of an informal question-and-answer session at Denison, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21, in the auditorium of Herrick Hall (500 West Loop). The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.denison.edu
Holbrook’s fascination with Twain began with an honors project at Denison University, a program of short plays about famous people, performed with fellow Denison student and eventual wife, Ruby. After graduation, they took the show on a 30-week tour of mostly school assemblies. Later, he developed the Twain skit into a full-length show, first performed for the Lock Haven State Teacher’s College in Pennsylvania. He continued to add material and hone his character, and landed an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1956. It wasn’t until 1959 that “Mark Twain Tonight!” opened on Broadway to enthusiastic reviews.
“Mark Twain Tonight!” has traveled the country and the globe, and Holbrook even performed for President Eisenhower and at the Edinburgh Festival. In 1966, “Twain” went back to Broadway, which led to Holbrook’s Tony award, as well as his first Emmy nomination for the 90-minute television special of “Mark Twain Tonight!” In June 2005, he and Twain returned to Broadway for a sold-out, month-long run, again receiving rave reviews from The New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
With many hours of material from Samuel Clemons’ famous alter ego, Holbrook’s “Twain” is always fresh and relevant, he tailors each monologue to present-day events and the location of the performance. Twain’s insights into human nature are still as spot-on as they were when written more than a century ago, and as Holbrook has said, “We don’t have truth delivered to us very often. …”
Holbrook’s appearance at Denison on Friday will not include a performance, so the audience is encouraged to bring their questions for this rare opportunity to ask a national treasure about his work on stage and screen.
CALENDAR LISTING, Denison University, Granville—Q & A with actor Hal Holbrook from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21, in the auditorium of Herrick Hall (500 West Loop). Free and open to the public.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.