What's New

Note about Online House Tour Tickets

We're sorry, but due to a technical problem, we are currently unable to sell tickets online for tours of The Mark Twain House. We hope to have the issue resolved soon. In the meantime, we will of course continue to sell tickets at our ticket desk on a first-come, first-served basis.

Freelance Writing Group

Second Wednesdays of the Month: Jul. 8th, Aug. 12th, Sept. 9th, Oct. 14th, 7 pm – 8pm $120

With the belief that more heads are better than one, freelance writer Theresa Sullivan Barger will lead monthly gatherings of writers to share the latest tips on freelancing, have all attendees share their progress on writing goals, discuss challenges and suggestions for how to approach a story or where to pitch a particular idea. The goal is for everyone to benefit from the wisdom of others.  The group will be open to freelance nonfiction writers interesting in moving forward professionally from wherever they are. The hope is that we will be accountable to each other and report back on how we’ve done with our goals. The goal of the group is to serve as each other’s sounding boards, cheerleaders, coaches and mentors.

Herstory Theatre presents a reading of PIERCE, a play by Jacques Lamarre

Sunday, July 19, 2:00 p.m.

A reading of the new historical drama Pierceby Jacques Lamarre, featuring Rebecca Meakin, Virginia Wolf, Jomarie Pipolo, Ed Bernstein and Marisa Clement

Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, is one of the least studied chief executives in American history. His wife, First Lady Jane Pierce, is one of the most tragic figures to ever take up residence in the White House. After unspeakable misfortunes shower down on frail Jane Pierce of Amherst, New Hampshire, she is thrust on the public stage in front of a nation about to be torn into Civil War. Can she overcome her grief to assume her duties as First Lady?

Jacques Lamarre’s play I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, based on the memoir of the same name by Giulia Melucci, has been produced at TheaterWorks Hartford, George Street Playhouse, Asolo Repertory Theatre and, Seven Angels Theatre.  He is one of seven contributing playwrights on TheaterWorks hit production of Christmas on the Rocks.  His play Gray Matterswas produced and toured by the Emerson Theatre Collaborative and was selected for the Midtown International Theatre Festival.  Readings and productions of other plays include Ned & Sunny – A Hartford Love Story (commissioned by The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation), Honey LaBrea – The Lonely Thetan (Unitarian Society of Hartford Performing Arts Center),  Jacques Lamarre Has Gone Too Far (Hole in the Wall), Stool (New Works/New Britain, New York 15-Minute Play Festival Finalist), The Family Plan (Fusion Theatre semi-finalist, Hartford Opera Theatre), The Rub (Floating Theatre), Born Fat (HartBeat Ensemble, Little Theatre of Manchester), Pierce (Herstory Theatre), In the Garden of Sweden (Theatre4),Rapunzel and The Pied Piper of Hamelin (American Stage Festival).  He has co-written twelve shows for drag chanteuse Varla Jean Merman, as well as the feature-length film Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads and two commercials for Fleet Enemas (It’s true.  Look them up on YouTube).  Jacques Lamarre, coincidentally, is the Director of Communications and Special Programs for The Mark Twain House & Museum.

Tickets are $10; $5 for members. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

BOOK/MARK: “The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger's Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare's First Folio” with author Andrea Mays

Tuesday, July 21, 7:00 p.m.

Today it is the most valuable book in the world. Recently one sold for over five million dollars. It is the book that rescued the name of William Shakespeare and half of his plays from oblivion. The Millionaire and the Bard tells the miraculous and romantic story of the making of the First Folio, and of the American industrialist whose thrilling pursuit of the book became a lifelong obsession.

When Shakespeare died in 1616 half of his plays died with him. No one—not even their author—believed that his writings would last, that he was a genius, or that future generations would celebrate him as the greatest author in the history of the English language. By the time of his death his plays were rarely performed, eighteen of them had never been published, and the rest existed only in bastardized forms that did not stay true to his original language.

Seven years later, in 1623, Shakespeare’s business partners, companions, and fellow actors, John Heminges and Henry Condell, gathered copies of the plays and manuscripts, edited and published thirty-six of them. This massive book, the First Folio, was intended as a memorial to their deceased friend. They could not have known that it would become one of the most important books ever published in the English language, nor that it would become a fetish object for collectors.

The Millionaire and the Bard is a literary detective story, the tale of two mysterious men—a brilliant author and his obsessive collector—separated by space and time. It is a tale of two cities—Elizabethan and Jacobean London and Gilded Age New York. It is a chronicle of two worlds—of art and commerce—that unfolded an ocean and three centuries apart. And it is the thrilling tale of the luminous book that saved the name of William Shakespeare “to the last syllable of recorded time.”

Andrea E. Mays has degrees in economics from the State University of New York at Binghamton and from UCLA, and teaches economics at California State University at Long Beach. Like Henry Folger, she is a native New Yorker and has had a lifelong Shakespeare obsession. She spent much of her Manhattan girlhood in the New York Public Library listening to vinyl LP recordings of performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company. The Millionaire and the Bardis her first book.

This program will be moderated by Matthew Waterhouse. Matthew is a professional actor and writer. He has recently been awarded 'best actor' by the Big Finish Forum for his performance in the 13 part CD audio serial 'Dark Shadows: Bloodlust', based on the cult TV series. A #1 bestseller on US Amazon, ‘Bloodlust’ pushed Stephen King off the top spot. At the heart of Matthew's most recent novel, 'Precious Liars', is an eerie, mystical figure called The Shakespeare Lady, who apparently makes her living reciting Shakespeare outside West Village dives… Matthew can be found at MatthewWaterhouse.com

The Book/Mark Series is supported by a generous grant from the George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Bank of America, N.A. and Alan S. Parker, Trustees.

This is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

BOOK/MARK - “The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper” with author Tony Ortega

Tuesday, July 14, 7:00 p.m.

In 1971 Paulette Cooper wrote a scathing book about the Church of Scientology. Desperate to shut the book down, Scientology unleashed on her one of the most sinister personal campaigns the free world has ever known. The onslaught, which lasted years, ruined her life, and drove her to the brink of suicide. The story of Paulette’s terrifying ordeal is told in full for the first time inThe Unbreakable Miss Lovely. It reveals the shocking details of the darkest chapter in Scientology’s checkered history, which ended with senior members in prison, and the organization’s reputation permanently damaged.

‘A brilliant exposition of how a child who escaped the Nazis grew up to be hunted by the Church of Scientology' - John Sweeney

'A page-turner packed with barely believable facts. The details are worthy of John le Carre' - Jon Atack 

This program will be moderated by Dan Perkins (a.k.a. Tom Tomorrow whose weekly comic strip This Modern World, which comments on current events, appears regularly in over 90 newspapers across the U.S. and Canada.)

Followed by a book sale and signing. This is a free event, but reservations are recommended. Please call (860)280-3130 or click here.

Sea Tea Improv presents POWER POINTLESS TWAIN TALKS

Thursday, July 16, 7:30 p.m.

The creative minds of Sea Tea Improv get professional in this night of improvised comedy. Without knowing any information in advance, these comedians will deliver Powerpoint Presentations, TED Talks, and other staples of business communication. The improv team will take both suggestions from the audience and from Twain axioms to piece together a night of comedy. Just don’t take their business advice too seriously—or Twain’s.

Sea Tea Improv (seateaimprov.com) is an improv comedy company professionally trained by Hartford Stage Company, ImprovBoston, and the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York that dazzles Hartford and beyond on a regular basis with their witty interpretations of audience suggestions.  They perform short improvised games and long improvised plays at public & private functions, teach classes to students of all ages, and train professionals in the art of communication. They've performed all over Connecticut, New England, and up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

Tickets are $15 / $10 for MTH&M members. Please call (860) 280-3130 or clickhere.

Our Annual Hartford Circus Fire Event: the new book "Big Top Burning" with author Laura A. Woollett

Monday, July 6, 7:00 p.m.

July 6, 2015 marks the 71st anniversary of the Hartford Circus Fire. Continuing The Mark Twain House & Museum's tradition of remembering this anniversary, this year the museum presents the new young adult book Big Top Burning (by Laura A. Wollett)which investigates the 1944 Hartford circus fire and invites readers to take part in a critical evaluation of the evidence.
 
The fire broke out at 2:40 p.m. Thousands of men, women, and children were crowded under Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s big top watching the Flying Wallendas begin their death-defying high-wire act. Suddenly someone screamed “Fire!” and the panic began. By 2:50 the tent had burned to the ground. Not everyone had made it out alive.
 
With primary source documents and survivor interviews, Big Top Burningrecounts the true story of the 1944 Hartford circus fire—one of the worst fire disasters in U.S. history. Its remarkable characters include Robert Segee, a 15-year-old circus roustabout and known pyromaniac, and the Cook children, Donald, Eleanor, and Edward, who were in the audience when the circus tent caught fire. Guiding readers through the investigations of the mysteries that make this moment in history so fascinating, this book asks: Was the unidentified body of a little girl nicknamed “Little Miss 1565” Eleanor Cook? Was the fire itself an act of arson—and did Robert Segee set it? Big Top Burning combines a gripping disaster story, an ongoing detective and forensics saga, and World War II–era American history, inviting middle-grades readers to take part in a critical evaluation of the evidence and draw their own conclusions.

This is a free event, but reservations are required. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

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