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Mark Twain

 MARK TWAIN was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens November 30th, 1835 in Florida, an occasion marked by the appearance of Halley’s Comet. The young Sam Clemens pursued many occupations including riverboat pilot, silver miner, and newspaper reporter, but it was when he began writing short stories under the pen name of “Mark Twain” that the world began to take notice.


   On the advice of a friend, Mark Twain joined the lucrative lecture circuit of the day, developing a unique style of delivery that audiences at that time had never seen before. We know it today as stand-up comedy. Twain was an immediate sensation and performed to packed houses around the world.  But his comedic and literary genius masked an uncanny knack for investing in utterly worthless inventions. By the age of 60, Mark Twain found himself over $200,000 in debt.


   Obsessed with paying back his creditors, Mark Twain embarked on yet another international lecture tour. While the tour was a success financially, the relentless travel and performance demands, combined with the recent deaths of his daughter Susy and beloved wife Olivia, sent Twain into a deep depression. He would rally for the last time at the age of seventy, embarking on a successful farewell tour. His final lecture was June 9th, 1909 in Catonsville, Maryland. On April 21st, 1910, Mark Twain died at his home in Redding, Connecticut. His passing was marked, as he had often predicted, by the return of Halley’s Comet.


   In the 113 years since his death, Mark Twain’s humorous lectures have been recreated by dozens of actors in the United States. The first to do so was veteran stage and film actor Henry Hull (1890-1977), who toured for over three decades in An Evening with Mark Twain. But by far the most famous and successful Mark Twain impersonator is actor Hal Holbrook, who has toured every year since 1954 in his Tony-Award winning masterpiece, Mark Twain Tonight!.

   Hal Holbrook’s portrayal of the great author and humorist inspired a new generation of Mark Twain one-man shows, and by 1976 at least fifteen such productions were being offered to the public. Most were blatant copies of the Holbrook show and quickly vanished, but a few, including Mark Twain Revisited, offered unique approaches to the Mark Twain canon and character. Parker Drew continues to introduce new generations of audience members to the brilliant humor and thought-provoking insights on the human condition as first presented by Mark Twain himself over a century ago. 


 Parker Drew 



PARKER DREW hails from Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, just a short commute from Manhattan. He was promptly exported to Chicago, Illinois and later to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Parker began classical training on clarinet at age six, and won the first of many awards in competition at age eight. Shortly thereafter, the first of two major events occurred in the young performer’s life. Like millions of other “youngsters”, Parker’s musical life changed forever the night of The Beatles first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. In addition to his formal training on clarinet, Parker began teaching himself to play the drums. For the next several years all signs pointed towards a career as a professional musician, until fate intervened a second time. Parker’s performing expanded to the theatrical stage in 1968, when his improvised retelling of Mark Twain’s classic ghost story The Golden Arm was awarded the top prize in a junior high speech competition, and earning him the privilege of performing for the entire school. On the advice of his English teacher, Parker expanded the Twain presentation adding makeup and costuming to age nearly sixty years. The first full-length performance of Mark Twain Revisited was May 9th, 1969. It was a resounding success, and at age fifteen, Parker began performing as Mark Twain at high schools throughout Wisconsin. At age sixteen he was granted special admission to study theater at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Graduating with honors from Green Bay East High School, Parker continued his training at the Institute for Advanced Musical Studies in Switzerland, the University of Louisville School of Music, and St. Norbert College. During his senior year Mark Twain Revisited was signed to GTN, a major lecture bureau in Manhattan, (just a short commute from Mountain Lakes, New Jersey.) He began touring nationwide in 1977, and has since logged over 500 performances in 37 states and the US Virgin Islands. The show has also been the subject of two specials for PBS. As a musician Parker has toured the United States and Europe, including performances at Carnegie Hall and the Montreux Jazz Festival. He has played leading roles in over sixty plays and musicals, and is celebrating his 34th year as a television and radio broadcaster in Wisconsin. He is perhaps best-known for the thirteen years he spent as statewide television host for the Wisconsin Lottery.


MAKEUP DESIGN: Christopher Russo – Makeup Studio F/X

COSTUMING: Horst Lindenbeck

WIGMASTER: Kevin McElroy – Robert Laurence Studio Milwaukee

WEBMASTER: Sophie Goska






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