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Mark Twain in Fairhaven

Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.— Saturday, August 16, 2014

For the third year, enjoy a performance of “Mark Twain in Fairhaven” by local playwright and historian Joseph Lenz.

This “musical tall tale” is loosely based on the esteemed humorist and author Mark Twain’s visit to Fairhaven in 1895. Twain, while on a 12-month, worldwide, money-raising lecture tour, made a stop in Fairhaven, staying at the Fairhaven Hotel and speaking at the Lighthouse Theatre in New Whatcom. He is also said to have played billiards at the Cascade Club in the Mason Block (now Sycamore Square) and ordered out for a couple of whiskeys, which he had heated to ease his sore throat.

Exercising artistic liberties, Lenz portrays locals, during an economic downturn, plotting to engage Twain in promoting their fair city. That's not much of a stretch since Fairhaven had fallen on hard times and The Blade, the city's most popular newspaper at the time, ran this before Twain's arrival: "as a man with so great a reputation, and one who has the power to easily benefit or injure a city like ours, according to the impression he receives, Mark Twain should be treated as a distinguished guest." However, in the play, when Mr. Clemmons arrives sans white suit, the townsfolk fail to recognize him ... making for a fair bit of humor.

Angela Mills Watson (TH '07), who was the assistant director last year, has taken on the role of director. Leon Charbonneau, who first played the role of Twain in Lynden in 2009, will reprise that role for a second year in Fairhaven. Other cast members include Brian Watson, Megann Schmidt, Alycia Hendrickson, Von Emeth Ochoa, and Dana Reed Crediford. Performing double-duty, choreographer Genevieve Dunn has a roll, as does music director John French. Other behind-the-scenes roles are filled by Cary Thomas as assistant director, Brittany Serling as stage manager, and Ryan Goelzenleuchter on lights.

Leon Charbonneau as Mark Twain; image courtesy of the artists.

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