Tag Archives: Hal Holbrook


For more than sixty years Hal Holbrook did a thing that Samuel Clemens did for only about thirty: he took Mark Twain to the stage. I suppose the transformation was more profound on Holbrook’s part than on Clemens’s because, you could argue, in many ways Clemens was Mark Twain and Holbrook absolutely wasn’t. But without getting all ontological here, maybe we can agree that Holbrook and Clemens shared in this moment or process of transformation an intimacy with Mark Twain Read more…


Editor’s Note: This is the second of several posts from members of the Mark Twain Studies community responding to Hal Holbrook’s announcement earlier this week that he would be retiring Mark Twain Tonight! after a nearly 60-year run. What follows is a paper by Mark Dawidziak delivered at CMTS’s quadrennial conference in 2009. Dawidziak is pictured above with Holbrook and Shelley Fisher Fishkin, who yesterday wrote her own appreciation for her longtime friend and colleague. You may prefer to listen to Dawidziak’s presentation, Read more…


In literally thousands of extraordinary performances of his groundbreaking show, “Mark Twain Tonight!,” Hal Holbrook has brought Mark Twain alive for millions of people in the U.S. and around the world for over 60 years. To prepare for his first solo performance as Mark Twain, he researched reviews of Twain’s lecture tours and combed through little-known Twain texts in the Mark Twain Papers at Berkeley. The spectacularly innovative off-Broadway show that he developed ran twenty-two weeks in New York and then Read more…


As Hal Holbrook is quick to point out, he has been Mark Twain for longer than Mark Twain was. Holbrook premiered Mark Twain Tonight! in 1954. He has been performing a constantly evolving version of the show for over sixty years. Samuel Clemens bore his eponymous alter ego for less than fifty. Holbrook, who will turn 92 in February, will visit the following select cities over the next six months. November 15th – Waco Hall, Baylor University (Waco, TX) – Read more…

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