The Dixie’s history is rich with talent. With actress Dixie Carter as its namesake and her husband Hal Holbrook as the inspiration behind the theatre’s name and a major contributor in its development, it’s no wonder that The Dixie is considered to be a premium venue for the arts.
While many are familiar with The Dixie’s events, some might not know that The Dixie offers a special memorabilia collection of Dixie and Hal’s careers. A few of Hal’s possessions on display are from his time portraying Mark Twain, who was a vital influence for Hal.
It’s easy to see that Mark Twain has been a part of The Dixie since the beginning. And on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. Twain will be spotlighted once again as Lewis Hankins debuts his own rendition of the beloved humorist on the Hal Holbrook stage.
An Evening with Mark Twain presented by Lewis Hankins is a tribute to both Mark Twain and Hal Holbrook. Lewis has been performing as a “riverlorian,” or river historian on the Delta Queen Steamboat Company and American Queen Voyages for over 25 years. His depiction of Mark Twain, with his mass of white hair and bushy mustache, always captivates an audience.
Part of the show on Feb. 4 will include Hankins fielding questions from the audience, as only Mark Twain could respond. Having been an avid fan of Twain since his childhood, Lewis admits that he is obsessed with the famous writer and rarely a day goes by where he doesn’t read or write something about him.
Hal Holbrook first played as Mark Twain in 1954. By 2005, Holbrook had portrayed Twain over 2,000 times in front of a live audience, including three performances at The Dixie. Performing on the Hal Holbrook Stage is something that Hankins is truly honored to do, and The Dixie is privileged to provide an opportunity for the audience to once again be delighted by the words of this father of American literature.
The performance also is dedicated to another Twain tribute artist and longtime Dixie supporter, the late John Everett Williams. Williams and Gus Radford are credited with the idea for this event. After they attended one of Hankins steamboat performances, the pair met with Hankins and encouraged him to grace the Hal Holbrook Theatre with the words and humor of Twain once again.
The audience is invited to a reception with light refreshments after the performance. This performance is sponsored by Gränges. Tickets are $15 plus fees. To purchase, visit DixiePAC.net or contact The Dixie Box Office at 731-986-2100, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.