Becoming Mark Twain: Edward Miller joins Bobby Horton for “An Evening With” the author

Edward Miller as Mark Twain.

For more than four decades, off and on, Edward Miller has been bringing Mark Twain to life in a one-man show about the humorist and author of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and more.

But when he takes the stage this weekend for “An Evening with Mark Twain,” part of the Virginia Samford Theatre’s Community Series, something will be a bit different.

“For the first time in over 40 years, I will not be alone on stage,” Miller says.

Joining him will be Bobby Horton, known for Three on a String and his musical contributions to Ken Burns’ documentaries, including 2001’s “Mark Twain.” He’ll be playing music of the period as Miller tells performs as Twain.

Edward Miller as himself.

The collaboration was the idea of VST Executive Director Philip Mann.

“He introduced us last year, and we have enjoyed putting this project together ever since,” Miller says. “It seems so natural I can’t believe that I hadn’t thought of it before.”

Miller grew up in Sylacauga before earning theater degree from Auburn University and then a master’s from the University of Denver. He taught in high school and college and was artistic director for a theater in Pensacola before coming to Birmingham in 1979 to study law at Cumberland Law School.

While practicing law, Miller  performed and directed at Birmingham Children’s Theatre, Town & Gown Theater, Birmingham Festival Theatre and other theaters.

He met his wife, April, at a BFT audition, and they raised sons Evan and Duncan.

All along the way, Miller was taking to the stage as Twain, in different iterations of his one-man show. He’s used various titles throughout the years, but never “Mark Twain Tonight,” because it is so closely associated with actor Hal Holbrook (who performed the show a couple of times in Birmingham).

To play Twain, known for his shocking white hair, Miller initially took about 90 minutes to “become” the author via makeup. But that was 1978.

“A few years ago, when I was looking for a project, my wife said, ‘Why don’t you reprise Mark Twain, now that you don’t need any makeup,’” Miller says. “Needless to say, it doesn’t take nearly as long now as it did 45 years ago.”

Miller’s admiration of Twain has grown over the years he has portrayed him on stage.

“When I started, it was strictly a theater project, but … I have grown to appreciate Twain and his life story more and more,” the actor says.

“An Evening with Mark Twain,” with Edward Miller and Bobby Horton. March 8-9 at the Virginia Samford Theatre.

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.

Sliding Sidebar