Mark Twain: The Musical

Mark Twain: The Musical is a stage musical biography of Mark Twain that had a ten-year summertime run in Elmira, NY and Hartford, CT (1987-1995) and was telecast on a number of public television stations. An original cast CD was released by Premier Recordings in 1988, and LML Music in 2009 issued a newly mastered and complete version of the score. Video and DVD versions of the show are currently in release.

The book was written by Jane Iredale with music and lyrics by William P. Perry. Dennis Rosa was the director and choreographer, and William David Brohn was musical arranger and music director. Throughout its run, the title role of Mark Twain was performed by William Perley and the primary singing role of ”Jim” was played by Jack Waddell.

The musical was conceived on a massive scale with a cast of more than sixty, and the production designs by William Groom called for a forty foot turntable and a Mississippi riverboat that rose to a vertical height of fifty-five feet. The performing venues were appropriately large: in Elmira a hockey arena under a geodesic dome and in Hartford the largest National Guard armory in New England. The musical has since been rewritten in reduced scale suitable for proscenium production and will shortly be available from Trobriand Music Company under the title “Mr. Mark Twain.” In 2009, a complete original cast recording was released on CD by LML Music.

The musical combines scenes from Mark Twain's life with production numbers based on his best-loved books including "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", "Life on the Mississippi", "The Innocents Abroad", "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", and "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court."

In 1989, William Perry went to Moscow and selected twenty-four dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet and other prestige Russian dance companies and brought them to America to appear in the production, the first occasion that Russian performers had become integrated members of an American cast rather than simply appearing as a touring national troupe. This was a remarkable event during Cold War years, and then Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev saluted the collaboration in a television address. Dancers from Russia, including children, appeared in all subsequent years of the run and became a highlight of the production.

Read more about Mark Twain: The MusicalMusical Numbers, Trivia

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Mark Twain: The Musical - Trivia
... the Elmira production took place only seven miles from Mark Twain's actual gravesite, and the Hartford production was held just a mile and a half from Mark Twain's house, now a museum ... Though Mark Twain is best known for his books, he also wrote several plays and in one instance composed a set of verses extolling his new home in Hartford ... The Traveller's Record, January 1877 and form the basis for The Skating Madrigal in Act One of the musical ...

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