Encore Michigan

Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain will be at The Whiting October 21

Preview September 27, 2016 Encore Staff

FLINT—The Whiting will present Hal Holbrook in Mark Twain Tonight! on Friday, October 21 at 8:00 p.m. In 1959, after five years of researching Mark Twain and honing his material in front of countless audiences in small towns all over America, Holbrook opened at a tiny theatre off-Broadway in New York. He was a stunning overnight success, as stunning to the actor as anyone else.

When the calendar turned to 2014 it laid down a milestone for the longest running show in American Theatre history – the 60th year for Mark Twain Tonight! The show doesn’t stop evolving. Three new numbers have added another hour to its revolving repertoire of material: one on the Christian Bible, another from the feuding clans in Huckleberry Finn killing each other off, and another on the fate of the laboring class in America. “Mark Twain never stops surprising me,” says Holbrook. “He keeps firing me up and asking questions.”

It was a fateful decision for Holbrook when he sat at his desk in a small $79 a month New York apartment in 1954 and began searching Twain’s writings for material that might work on the stage and feed his family. One key decision he made: Don’t update him. Portray Mark Twain as the aging character the world recognizes – a wild white head of hair, beetle brows and mustache, the white suit, and never break the illusion that it is Twain himself speaking in his own time. Let the audience update him. That has made the show more powerful because human behavior doesn’t change. Neither does its foolishness. That’s the joke.

Tickets are priced from $25-$45 and student rush tickets are also available the day of the performance for $12. To purchase tickets, visit TheWhiting.com, call (810) 237-7333 or visit the Ticket Center located at 1241 E. Kearsley St. just off I-475 between the University of Michigan–Flint and Mott Community College. Tickets are also available for purchase at The Whiting’s Downtown Ticket Center at the Flint Farmers’ Market. Smart phone and tablet users can download The Whiting App to make purchases.