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Music & Theater

Clemens had a pleasant tenor voice and enjoyed singing his favorite hymns, spirituals, and popular songs, sometimes accompanying himself on the piano. He and his family, like their friends and neighbors, took part in play-acting and charades, which often required elaborate home-made costumes and props.

Clemens was a talented amateur actor, and made his public début in April 1876 in a production of an old melodrama, The Loan of a Lover. His improvisations confused his fellow players, but delighted the audience.

The theatrical world held another powerful attraction for Clemens: he was an aspiring playwright, who ultimately had two solid successes to his credit—one in 1874 and a second in 2007.

A Family Play A Family Play
[photograph, ca. 1885]
Hero and Leander Hero and Leander
[photograph, 1890]
Charades Charades
[pamphlet, 1930]
Burlesque Il Trovatore Burlesque Il Trovatore
[from an 1866 notebook]
Old-Time Songs Old-Time Songs
[annotated 1896 songbook]
The Aeolian Orchestrelle The Aeolian Orchestrelle
Mark Twain and Music Mark Twain and Music
[compact disc, 2003]
Is He Dead? Is He Dead?
[revised playscript, 1898]
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[an error occurred while processing this directive] Literary Mischief Is He Dead? Mark Twain and Music The Aeolian Orchestrelle Old-Time Songs Burlesque Il Trovatore Charades Hero and Leander A Family Play About Timeline Relaxing Friends and Social Life Mark Twain at Sea Inventions, Games and Contraptions Cats and Billiards One Cigar at a Time