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November 07, 2008
Vol. 50 No. 9

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Actor to arrive with one-man show

Legend
Courtesy of the School of Arts, Humanities and Communications
LEGEND - Hal Halbrook will entertain Susquehanna and the local community with his traveling performance, "Mark Twain Tonight!" The show will take place in Degenstein Theater on Wednesday, Nov. 12.
"Comedy keeps the heart sweet," Mark Twain wrote in 1898. Over a century later, Tony and Emmy award-winning actor Hal Holbrook is using this ideal in his one-man show modeled after the works of the author who originally penned it.

Holbrook, who has been performing "Mark Twain Tonight!" since 1954, will be delivering his show Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Degenstein Theater as part of Susquehanna's Artist Series.

Using costumes, mannerisms and voices Holbrook entertains audiences regularly with his Twain impersonation.

In his show, Holbrook discusses contemporary issues through the words of American author, Mark Twain, changing his act for each performance.

"There's a lot of relevance to today [and] it's never the same show twice," said Susan Rambo, a member of the Artist Series committee.

"He's an actor of a very high caliber, it's terrific that [the show] is free to our students," she said.

Holbrook's act, which he debuted at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, has brought him considerable acclaim. In 1966, Holbrook won the Tony award for Best Leading Actor in a Play for his performance in "Mark Twain Tonight!"

"Using humor to engage people in reflection and conversation is what makes [the show] so enjoyable," said Dr. Valerie Martin, dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Communication.

Planning for this production began last November, Martin explained. She, along with other faculty members and Susquehanna students, organizes the Artist Series every year.
Through donations, grants and funding the committee tries to choose performances that will be "beneficial to the students, faculty and community," Martin said.

According to Susquehanna's Web site, "The Artist Series has been presenting quality dance, music and theatre to Susquehanna and the surrounding community since 1902."

The Artist Series' mission statement explains, "The Artist Series is committed to sponsoring internationally acclaimed artists and programs to provide an opportunity for the university family and the greater community to enhance their aesthetic appreciation of the diverse cultures and the artistic heritage of humankind."

In addition, the committee always considers the university theme when choosing performances for the upcoming year. This year's theme, "Memory," was a little easier to integrate into the series than past years, Martin explained.

Holbrook's show "ties beautifully with the university theme," she said, further describing the fact that Holbrook blends today's issues with Twain's ideas.

In addition to this show, Holbrook has been in a number of other productions and films, most recently being nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the film "Into the Wild."

"This is a signature moment for the theater community," Martin said. "It should be entertaining, humorous, insightful and thought-provoking."

"These are Mark Twain's words; Hal Holbrook is just the vehicle," Rambo explained.

Tickets for "Mark Twain Tonight!" are on sale now at the Degenstein Campus Center box office.

Tickets are free for Susquehanna students, $20 for senior citizens and $25 for non-students.

More information about Holbrook and ticket reservations can be found at susqu.edu/artists/.

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