Photo Credit Jan Garrison
August 28, 2014

The Emmy- and Tony Award-winning actor Hal Holbrook, a 1942 graduate of Culver Military Academy, will return to his alma mater Sept. 4 for a performance of his highly-acclaimed one-man show Mark Twain Tonight.

Holbrook as Mark Twain

Holbrook as Mark Twain photo provided

The opening production of the Academies’ 2014-15 Huffington Concert Series, the performance will be at 7:30 p.m. in Eppley Auditorium on the campus. A limited number of tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Steinbrenner Performing Arts Center Box Office (off Academy Road) or by contacting Marsha Coven at (574) 842-7058 or marsha.coven@culver.org. Tickets are $20 for the orchestra and mezzanine seating, $15 for balcony.

Holbrook is completing the 60th consecutive year of his legendary solo show, having performed it more than 2,250 times as he crisscrossed America and circled the world. In three New York appearances as Mark Twain, Holbrook has won several awards for Twain, including the Tony and a special Drama Critics’ Circle Award. His 90-minute CBS television special was nominated for an Emmy Award and seen by an audience of 22 million.

Holbrook was Culver’s first Man of the Year in 1967-68 and was inducted into the Academies’ Arts & Letters Hall of Fame in November 2004. Holbrook also returned to campus in 2002, speaking to an all-school assembly as part of the school’s Montgomery Lecture Series. In 2010, he released the first segment of his autobiography Harold: The Boy Who Became Mark Twain.

He last performed Mark Twain Tonight at Culver in 1962, marking his first appearance in Eppley Auditorium, which was completed in 1959.

It was at Culver that Holbrook got hooked on theater. He often tells of starting his senior year, and needing an easy course with one hour of credit to graduate. He signed up for drama with Maj. Mather. “I got on the stage and got this big shock of joy and have felt that way ever since. I got bit,” he told The Indianapolis Star in 1992.

Among Holbrook’s more famous roles was The Major in the original Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s Incident at Vichy, as Martin Sheen’s significant other in the controversial and acclaimed TV movie That Certain Summer (1972), the first TV movie to sympathetically portray homosexuality, and as Abraham Lincoln in a TV special based on Carl Sandburg’s acclaimed biography of the 16th president. He also is known for his portrayal of the enigmatic Deep Throat in All the President’s Men (1976), one of the major cinema events of the mid-’70s. His TV portrayals also included Sen. Hays Stowe on The Bold Ones: The Senator (1970) and Capt. Lloyd Bucher on Pueblo (1973). In the 1990s, he had a regular supporting role in the TV series Evening Shade (1990), playing Burt Reynolds’ father-in-law. He also appeared in Designing Women with his late wife Dixie Carter.

Holbrook has appeared in nearly 100 stage plays including starring roles in New York in Abe Lincoln in Illinois, The Glass Menagerie, The Apple Tree, I Never Sang for My Father, Man of La Mancha, The Country Girl and King Lear.

In more than 50 television movies and mini-series he has earned 12 Emmy award nominations, of which he has won five. Holbrook’s more than 40 films include Lincoln, Water for Elephants, Into the Wild – for which he became the oldest male performer ever nominated for an Academy Award for a supporting role – Midway, Capricorn One, Wall Street, The Firm, and Men of Honor.

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