Val Kilmer in Citizen Twain at Pasadena Playhouse
The Pasadena Playhouse (Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director and Elizabeth Doran, Executive Director), announced today that it will present Val Kilmer in CITIZEN TWAIN for a limited engagement. Val Kilmer, famous for his portrayals of iconic characters such as Jim Morrison (The Doors), Doc Holliday (Tombstone) and Batman (Batman Forever), inhabits the spirit of yet another legendary figure: Mark Twain. Kilmer continues to develop CITIZEN TWAIN, a solo show about the man considered to be America's greatest storyteller, with this five performance extension at The Playhouse, August 21 - 30, 2013.
"Val Kilmer is a creative force of nature," said Executive Director, Elizabeth Doran. "There is something magical about his utter embodiment of the characters he portrays. In this case he melds into Mark Twain, and the result is sheer delight. It is a startling work of wonder that blurs the distinctions of Samuel Clemens, Mark Twain and Val Kilmer, inviting the audience to muse upon the otherworldly possibilities of the soul. The Pasadena Playhouse is proud to present this lovingly crafted and masterfully executed work of theater artistry."
This theatrical presentation uniquely explores Clemens' journey to acceptance, forgiveness, and enlightenment through the scope of his writings, and the self-reflection and engagement inspired by his relationship with Mary Baker Eddy. Eddy's writings, late in Clemens' life, served as a catalyst to his aspirations and seeking of his best self.
This play, as written by Kilmer, illuminates the depth of Mark Twain's fiction and regards it as a striving for divine truth, an entirely overlooked dimension of his yearning. Kilmer's hilarious, raucous portrayal of Twain, positions the character as a reluctant, recalcitrant, and downright defiant prophet whose undeniable skills as a story-teller and wordsmith compels the Almighty to call upon Twain to deliver a Sermon on Love, to help us through our daily challenges.
Kilmer's Twain aggressively attempts to escape the responsibility of the Almighty's calling, only to find himself thwarted at every turn by divine interventions that range from slapstick to sublime. Not even Mark Twain, it seems, can avoid his eternal fate.
Kilmer already workshopped the piece at various venues including the current Kirk Douglas Theatre engagement in Culver City, the Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge, CA and the Wyly Theatre in Dallas, among others.
"It's a unique experiment," explains Kilmer. "We're developing CITIZEN TWAIN without the benefit of a home theater, which is a challenge, so we're going to where the audiences are. Mark Twain traveled the world sharing his love of America and humanity, and part of discovering Twain is to do that with this show."
Exploring the famed author's wry humor - from politics to death, love, money, watermelons, God, racism and cats - Kilmer channels the wit and wisdom of the man considered to be the world's greatest storyteller and the first stand-up comedian. Twain was a raconteur, and Kilmer presents his show in the style of a conversation.
"Mark Twain was the first person who talked the way we do," Kilmer says. "CITIZEN TWAIN is a lively exchange with the audience, so my performance is fluid and somewhat free-form. That's part of the fun. It's a comedy and a character study."
Kilmer's fascination with Mark Twain began while doing research for a possible film project. Famous for his fierce commitment to fully explore and inhabit every character he plays, Kilmer soon realized that "the only way to understand Twain is when he's on his feet and talking." He began experimenting last year, offering workshop performances around the L.A. area including at the Actors' Gang, Disney Concert Hall, United States Veterans Artists' Alliance Hall, the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and Shakespeare Center L.A.
Every performance of CITIZEN TWAIN concludes with an audience talkback while the actor has his extensive make-up removed in full view, and select tickets are also available which include a backstage meet and greet with the actor.
"It's an exciting performance with many layers," says filmmaker Leo Scott, who is creating a documentary about the evolution of CITIZEN TWAIN. "I'm fascinated by Val's process. The film is about how an actor goes about creating a role, completely transforming himself, and the extreme dedication that requires."
Val Kilmer graduated from Julliard, where, when he was 17, he was the youngest actor ever accepted to the Drama Division. Ranked as one of the "Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time," Val burst onto the Hollywood scene at age 24 as rock star Nick Rivers in the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker spy spoof, Top Secret. He starred in the cult classic Real Genius, then rocketed to international stardom playing the "Iceman" in Top Gun opposite Tom Cruise; rock legend Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's The Doors; and Doc Holliday in Tombstone.
Other memorable roles include the title role in Batman Forever and Simon Templar in The Saint. He headlined Michael Mann's classic crime drama Heat with legends Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, transformed into Elvis Presley for Tony Scott's True Romance and co-starred with Marlon Brando in The Island of Dr. Moreau.
Recent work includes David Mamet's Spartan as a career military officer; Ric Roman Waugh's Felon, with Stephen Dorff; the action thriller Deją Vu; Kiss, Kiss Bang, Bang, written and directed by Shane Black and co-starring Robert Downey, Jr.; Millennium's Bad Lieutenant, directed by Werner Herzog; Streets of Blood, with Sharon Stone and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson; and Francis Ford Coppola's Twixt.
An accomplished stage actor, he made his Broadway debut in the 1983 production of Slab Boys with Sean Penn and Kevin Bacon. He appeared in Joseph Papp's Delacorte Theatre productions of Henry IV: Part One; As You Like It; Hamlet (in the title role); and 'Tis Pity She's A Whore. He starred in the Max Azria produced musical The Ten Commandments as Moses at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles. In 2005, he starred on London's West End in Andrew Rattenbury's stage adaptation of The Postman Always Rings Twice.
Concludes the actor, "Twain represented Americans in our entirety. He was friends with presidents, and with former slaves. All of us are celebrated in his life and his work."
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