MTHM image no textThe Mark Twain House & Museum Newsletter
April 2010
From the Director's Desk
The Heart of the Centennial
It's here! One hundred years ago on April 21 Mark Twain, as he put it, left the earth with Halley's Comet. Here at The Mark Twain House & Museum we're seeing activity on an astral plane. On April 7 about 200 people heard Wally Lamb read a dramatic description of a dinner with Mark Twain from his novel The Hour I  First Believed. Lamb also spoke movingly about the craft of writing. We received major coverage in the Wall Street Journal on April 5: The story concerned our efforts toward financial recovery over the past year. As Board President Greg Boyko and I told reporter Julia Klein, we're not declaring victory, but still  looking for every way we can to control expenses and raise money. Meanwhile, we celebrate Mark Twain's life: There's the Tom Sawyer Chamber Opera April 16-18 and our Mark Twain Seance Event April 21, just the next two events in a year full of activity.-- Jeffrey L. Nichols, Executive Director
What's Happening
Next Weekend: Tom Sawyer In Song

Tom Sawyer opera illo 
Tom, Huck, Becky, their pals and foes, at the fence, on the raft, in the graveyard, on the island and in the cave, all in one hour of vibrant live music and song?
"It's a fresh way to look at a timeless story," director Michelle Kendrick says of Tom Sawyer: A Chamber Opera, the prizewinning piece to be premiered at The Mark Twain House & Museum next Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
And it's a $10 bargain.
The Hartford Opera Theater presents this original composition by Phillip Martin, with orchestra accompaniment. HOT sees its mission as bringing opera to younger, more contemporary audiences. 
Composer Martin says variety is the key to his style, from the Baroque to Disney, "so if you don't like what you're listening to, all you have to do is wait a couple of minutes."
Again: Tom Sawyer: A Chamber Opera will be performed on Friday, April 16, and Saturday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, April 18, at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be reserved at 860-280-3130.  
This Sunday, 7:30: Free Huck Finn Reading at Hartford Stage
Playwright Laura Eason, whose adaptation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is now drawing crowds to Hartford Stage (info here), has written an adaptation of its masterpiece sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It was commissioned for Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre for Young Adults and performed in 2007.
On Sunday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m. at Hartford Stage there will be a free reading of the play, the first in a series that continues with Mark Twain's own work for the stage, Is He Dead?, on April 28, and Horton Foote's 1960 teleplay on Twain's last years, The Shape of the River, on May 4. Details are here.

Hartford Stage, along with the Hartford Public Library, are partners with us in this year's NEA Big Read (this year's selection is The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.) The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts and Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest.
Tom Sawyer fence
A Moving Experience
On Thursday, April 8, the beloved "steamboat wheel" statue of Mark Twain returned to its rightful place in front of the Hartford Public Library. "Mark stopped traffic on his journey on Main Street to the hoots of pedestrians and the watchful eye of the media," reports Library Director Matt Poland. (The library's our partner in The Big Read -- see story above.)  The statue will be unveiled on Sunday, April 11, at 4:00 p.m.  Musings about Twain will be made by local humorists including Mayor Eddie Perez, our own memoir class teacher Lary Bloom, and upcoming Mark Twain House & Museum speaker Susan Campbell.
Dede DeRoas
Mark Twain Said:
"I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it... The Almighty has said, no doubt: 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.' " 
And don't miss a consummate illusionist and showman performing a seance with Gilded Age style at our April 21 Centennial Event!

Tom Sawyer fence

On April 21,  noted illusionist Todd Collins (who has the longest-ruinning magic show in New York) presents a seance with panache and Victorian-style flim-flammery. And with a drum roll, the special Mark Twain House cake produced by Charm City Cakes, the Food Network's  Ace of Cakes bakery, will be unveiled! (Will we be on TV? We don't know! We don't know! Be there and find out!)Tickets are  $60. Call 860-280-3130. Read more here.
Dede DeRoas
Thanks to our Mark Twain Centennial Celebration Sponsor, The Hartford 
...and don't forget:
The Nook Farm Book Club is free, and meets the first Thursday of every month at 5 p.m. To register: 860-522-9258 , Ext. 317.  May 6 - Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective by Mark Twain at the Mark Twain Museum Center; June 3 - Stowe in Her Own Time by Susan Belasco at the Stowe Visitor Center; July 1A Summer of Hummingbirds by Christopher Benfey at the Stowe Visitor Center.
Our Legacy exhibit
 explores how Twain's persona, and the public's perception of him and his works, has evolved since his death a century ago.  Includes Twain-related rarities, pictures and newspaper clippings on his death, and tributes by Tom Wolfe, Wally Lamb, and others. Open during regular museum hours, and included with admission.
The Mark Twain House & Museum has restored the author's Hartford, Connecticut, home, where the author and his family lived from 1874 to 1891. Twain wrote his most important works there, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.  In addition to providing tours of Twain's restored home, a National Historic Landmark, the institution offers activities and educational programs that illuminate Twain's literary legacy and provide information about his life and times. The house and museum at 351 Farmington Ave. are open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5:30 p.m.  For more information, call 860-247-0998 or visit Programs at the Mark Twain House & Museum are supported by the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism and the Greater Hartford Arts Council.

Steve Courtney, Editor