On April 14, the theatre at The Center for Rural Development will transform into Mark Twain’s living room, and the audience his special guests at a one-man theatrical performance of Ron Jewell’s “Mark Twain at Large.”
Jewell, who has been playing the iconic character for 35 years on stages all across United States, will once again don the well-known white suit and assume the likeness of America’s greatest humorist, Samuel Clemons—better known by his pen name Mark Twain—in the next Center Stage performance presented by Lake Cumberland Performing Arts in partnership with The Center.
The performance, set to begin at 7:30 p.m., is the last Center Stage performance of the 2010-11 performing arts season and will close out The Center’s current series of professional theatrical shows.
“Ron Jewell’s portrayal of Mark Twain is very personable and touching,” Dianna Winstead, associate director of arts, culture, and events for The Center, said. “Jewell delivers a stunning performance, as if the humorist is sharing a story with his guests straight from the comfort of his living room.”
As the performance opens, Twain, at 70-plus years old, invites the audience to escape an outdoor storm by coming into the private study at his home, Stormfield, in Connecticut for an intimate face-to-face conversation filled with stories and anecdotes taken directly from the literary pages.
Jewell began playing the role of Mark Twain in 1974 when he was asked to fill in for another actor on tour. While Jewell was only supposed to play the character for a few weeks, he quickly adopted the role as his own.
“I grew up and was raised along the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tenn., and I knew the character well,” Jewell said. “I thought the role was made just for me.”
In those days, the characterization lasted just a few minutes, but it wasn’t long before Jewell found himself on the road full time with Twain as his alter ego. Over the years, he has expanded his repertoire and made over 2,000 appearances in cities across the United States.
Jewell, director of Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center in Barlett, Tenn., still takes the show on the road, but not as much as he did in those early years.
“I’ve grown into the role,” he said, “and feel like I know Mark Twain on a more personal level now than I ever did before.”
Shortly before Jewell takes the stage for “Mark Twain at Large” performance, Rich Spikes will perform a selection of jazz and rhythm and blues at a free pre-show event from 6-7 p.m. in the front lobby at The Center.
The pre-show event, sponsored by Clear Channel Lake Cumberland and Sonny’s Bar-B-Q, will include an optional dinner buffet.
For more information or to purchase tickets to “Mark Twain at Large,” contact The Center’s Box Office at 606-677-6000 or visit centertech.com to order tickets online.