Donald King Cowan
in
Meet Mark Twain!


Sample Press Release #1

For Immediate Release

Mark Twain: Very Much Alive
and Joking

Meet Mark Twain!, the popular live theatrical production starring Arkansas native Donald King Cowan in his nationally acclaimed portrayal of America's greatest humorist, will be presented at (location) (date) at (time) p.m., sponsored by the (organization).

Twain thrilled audiences of an earlier and simpler era with his uncanny wit, barbed comments, down-home anecdotes and romantic tales of life on the Mississippi River. Today Cowan brings Twain to life once again in this one and one-half hour production, commenting on such topics as "Concerning Congress" and "Smoking and Other Bad Habits," and serving up such rib-tickling tall tales as "Baker’s Blue Jay Yarn" and "His Grandfather's Old Ram."

Written and copyrighted by Cowan in l975, this remarkable characterization of the timeless Twain has been hailed as an overwhelming success by audiences and critics alike throughout the United States and Canada. No detail is overlooked to transport the audience back into time. Cowan’s meticulous, film-quality make-up requires three hours to apply; his handmade suit is an exact copy of Twain’s trademarked white linen.

Tickets to this nostalgic evening of vintage American humor are (price) and are available at the door or by contacting (name and phone number) for reservations. This project is supported jointly by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. (Texas sponsors only)

This program is sponsored in part by a grant from the Heartland Arts Fund, a non-profit regional arts organization whose partners include the state arts agencies of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts and private contributors. (Sponsors outside the state of Texas)

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Donald King Cowan in Meet Mark Twain!


Sample Press Release #2

For Immediate Release

Rumors of Mark Twain’s Death
Have Been Greatly Exaggerated


Meet Mark Twain!, starring Arkansas native Donald King Cowan in his nationally acclaimed portrayal of America's greatest humorist, will be presented at (location) (date) at (time), sponsored by (organization).

Since l975, Cowan's remarkable characterization of the timeless Twain has appeared on hundreds of stages from Maine to California as well as across Canada, receiving standing ovations from audiences at colleges, universities and Broadway theatre league series. Hailed as one of America's foremost impersonators of Mark Twain, Cowan continues to delight audiences and critics alike on both sides of Twain's beloved Mississippi River with a winning combination of uproarious wit, biting satire and film-quality make-up.

The year is l905, the gent in the white linen suit is still spry and straight-faced sassy, and as Twain himself delighted in pointing out, rumors of his death have been greatly exaggerated. During the course of Cowan's ninety-minute performance, Twain the master storyteller again takes the stage to share century-old insights that might have been written yesterday, while audiences reel with laughter at his tall tales and wince at his satirical barbs, right on target.

Born Samuel Clemens, Twain is best remembered as a former riverboat pilot, author, platform lecturer and uniquely American humorist whose famous pseudonym (mark twain, or two fathoms, meaning safe water) was inspired by the ritualized cry of riverboatmen measuring the depths. The author of such American classics as The Innocents Abroad, Roughing It, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Twain’s writings possess a universality that makes them just as appealing today as they were a hundred years ago. With the never-ending problems of government, politics and the economy currently on the minds of all Americans, Cowan says there is still a message to be found in Twain’s homespun philosophy and satiric insights.

"While there were humorists of his day more popular than himself, Twain alone endures because he had such incredible insight into human nature," Cowan said. "Times may change; customs, laws and fashions may change, but people never change. Mark Twain knew this. Now, nearly a hundred years later, his message remains amazingly relevant because he so ably expressed both the best and the worst traits of human nature. I believe that audiences find it surprisingly reassuring to see that many of the problems we face today, especially the political ones, are really not new at all but have always been with us."

Cowan’s transformation into the legendary Twain is an astounding process. The make-up alone requires nearly three hours of skillful application and utilizes handmade hairpieces consisting of tousled white wig, eyebrows and flowing moustache. The striking physical resemblance is complemented by the careful recreation of the old man’s voice, incorporating Twain’s distinctive drawl, delivery and timing. An authentic handmade copy of Twain’s trademarked white linen suit completes the transformation. In voice, gesture and appearance, Cowan faithfully recaptures the irrepressible spirit and infectious wit of America's greatest humorist.

Every attention to detail has been taken to transport the audience back in time to the wistful era of Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher, small towns, Sunday school picnics and whitewashed fences. Along with elaborate lighting effects and antique stage props, Meet Mark Twain! utilizes a recorded soundtrack featuring the music of John Philip Sousa to further the historical illusion and celebration of the American spirit. Commentary includes such topics as "Concerning Congress," "Smoking and Other Bad Habits," and "Advice to Youth," as well as the rib-tickling old favorites "Baker’s Blue Jay Yarn" and "His Grandfather's Old Ram." For ticket information and reservations to this nostalgic evening of vintage Americana, call (phone number.)

This project is supported jointly by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. (Texas sponsors) Alternate: This program is sponsored in part by a grant from the Heartland Arts Fund, a non-profit regional arts organization whose partners include the state arts agencies of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin, the National Endowment for the Arts and private contributors. (Sponsors outside the state of Texas)

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P.D.T. Productions
P.O. Box 190966
Dallas, Texas 75219
1-800-520-2228
(214) 522-2228