John Lithgow in "Stories By Heart"


Award-winning stage, screen and TV star
Live, on-stage in One-man Theatrical Memoir
8 p.m., Friday, November 15, 2013
Quick Center for the Arts, Fairfield University

Image: John LithgowFairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts presents live, on-stage, the extraordinary John Lithgow in his one-man theatrical memoir, "Stories By Heart," on Friday, November 15, 2013 at 8 p.m. The program is made possible in part by the generous support of Bank of America and Sheaffer. Media sponsor is Morris Media. Tickets are: $75, $65, and $55.

Following his triumphant appearances at New York's Lincoln Center and London's National Theatre, the Tony® and Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award winning actor John Lithgow offers a touching and humorous reflection on storytelling as the tie that binds humanity. Invoking memories of his grandmother and father before him, Mr. Lithgow traces his roots as an actor and storyteller, interspersing his own story with two great stories that were read to him and his siblings when they were children. These are "Uncle Fred Flits By" by P.G. Wodehouse and "Haircut" by Ring Lardner. In the first, a fretful young Englishman is taken on a wild afternoon's escapade in suburban London by his irrepressible uncle. In a hilarious tour de force, Lithgow performs with zany abandon, portraying ten distinct, outrageous characters (including a parrot). By contrast, "Haircut" is a darkly comic look at Midwestern American implacability. It is a captivating yarn told by a gossipy barber in small-town Michigan as he gives a shave and a haircut to a stranger in town. "Stories by Heart" provides ample evidence of the power of storytelling, the magic of theatre, and the talents of one of our greatest actors.

John Lithgow's roots are in the theater. In 1973, he won a Tony Award three weeks after his Broadway debut, in David Storey's "The Changing Room." Since then, he has appeared on Broadway twenty more times, earning another Tony, four more Tony nominations, four Drama Desk Awards, and induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Ensuing stage performances have included major roles in "My Fat Friend," "Trelawny of the "Wells," "Comedians," "Anna Christie," "Bedroom Farce," "Beyond Therapy," "M. Butterfly," "The Front Page," "Retreat from Moscow," "All My Sons," the Off-Broadway premieres of "Mrs. Farnsworth" and "Mr. and Mrs. Fitch," and the musicals "Sweet Smell of Success" (his second Tony), and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels." In 2007 he was one of the very few American actors ever invited to join The Royal Shakespeare Company, playing Malvolio in "Twelfth Night" at Stratford-upon-Avon. In 2008 he devised his own one-man show "Stories by Heart" for The Lincoln Center Theater Company, and has been touring it around the country ever since, including a triumphant six-week run at The Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

In the early 1980's, Lithgow began to make a major mark in films. At that time, he was nominated for Oscars in back-to-back years, for "The World According to Garp" and "Terms of Endearment." In the years before and after, he has appeared in over thirty films.  Notable among them have been "All That Jazz," "Blow Out," "Twilight Zone: the Movie," "Footloose," and "Shrek." For his work on television, Lithgow has been nominated for eleven Emmy Awards. He has won five of them, one for an episode of "Amazing Stories," and three for what is perhaps his most celebrated creation. This was the loopy character of the alien High Commander, Dick Solomon, on the hit NBC comedy series "3rd Rock from the Sun." In that show's six-year run, Lithgow also won the Golden Globe, two SAG Awards, The American Comedy Award, and, when it finally went off the air, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

And then there is Lithgow's work for children.  Since 1998 he has written eight NY Times best-selling children's picture books, including "The Remarkable Farkle McBride," "Marsupial Sue," "Micawber," "I'm a Manatee,"  "Mahalia Mouse Goes to College," and "I Got Two Dogs." In addition, he has created two "Lithgow Palooza" family activity books and "The Poets' Corner" for Warner Books, a compilation of fifty classic poems aimed at young people, to stir an early interest in poetry. He has performed concerts for children with the Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Baltimore, and San Diego Symphonies, and at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke's. He has released three kids' albums, "Singin' in the Bathtub," "Farkle & Friends," and the Grammy-nominated "The Sunny Side of the Street." These concerts and albums have included several of his own songs and rhyming narrations. Together, this prodigious work has won him two Parents' Choice Silver Honor Awards, and four Grammy nominations.

In September, HarperCollins released Lithgow's memoir, "Drama: An Actor's Education." The book presents scenes of his early life and career that took place before he became a nationally-known star. John Lithgow was born in Rochester, New York, but grew up in Ohio, graduated from high school in Princeton, New Jersey, attended Harvard College, and used a Fulbright Grant to study at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art. This year Lithgow was honored as a Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal recipient and was inducted into The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2005 he was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Harvard and became the first actor in Harvard's history to deliver the school's Commencement Address. Lithgow has three grown children, two grandchildren, and lives in Los Angeles and New York. He has been married for thirty years to Mary Yeager, a Professor of Economic and Business History at UCLA.

Tickets are available through the Quick Center Box Office: (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396 (1-877-278-7396). Tickets can also be purchased online at www.quickcenter.com.

The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. Entrance to the Quick Center is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Free, secure parking is available. Access for people with disabilities is available throughout the Quick Center for audience members and performers. Hearing amplification devices are available upon request at the Box Office. Fairfield University is located off exit 22 of Interstate-95. For further information and directions, call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396, or visit www.quickcenter.com

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Media Contact: Mike Horyczun, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2647, mhoryczun@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 29, 2013

Vol. 46, No. 102