Hendricks County Flyer
---- — Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe Award Winner John Lithgow brings his critically acclaimed show “Stories By Heart” 8 p.m. Nov. 9 to Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University for one performance only. Tickets are on sale now at the Clowes Hall Box Office and Ticketmaster.
“Stories By Heart” is Lithgow’s touching and humorous reflection on storytelling as the tie that binds humanity.
Invoking memories of his grandmother and father before him, 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 10 distinct, outrageous characters (including a parrot). By contrast, “Haircut” is a darkly comic look at Midwestern American implacability. It is a yarn told by a gossipy barber in small-town Michigan as he gives a shave and a haircut to a stranger in town.
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 20 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,” “Trelawney of the Wells,” and Comedians.”
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 six-week run at The Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. He can currently be seen on Broadway in David Auburn’s new drama “The Columnist” in which Lithgow portrays famed Washington political columnist Joseph Alsop, a performance which has earned Lithgow his sixth Tony nomination.
In the early 1980s 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 30 films. Notable among them have been “All That Jazz,” “Blow Out,” and “Twilight Zone: the Movie.”
Lithgow was most recently seen on the big screen in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” Fox’s prequel to “Planet of the Apes,” as well as the political comedy “The Campaign” and Judd Apatow’s “This is 40.”
For his work on television, Lithgow has been nominated for 11 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 NBC comedy series “3rd Rock from the Sun.” More recently, his diabolical turn as The Trinity Killer in a 12-episode arc on Showtime’s “Dexter” won him his second Golden Globe and his fifth Emmy.
And then there is Lithgow’s work for children. Since 1998 he has written eight New York Times best-selling children’s picture books. In addition, he has created two “Lithgow Palooza” family activity books and “The Poets’ Corner” for Warner Books, a compilation of 50 classic poems aimed at young people, to stir an early interest in poetry.
Lithgow was born in Rochester, N.Y., but grew up in Ohio, graduated from high school in Princeton, N.J., attended Harvard College, and used a Fulbright Grant to study at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art. He has three grown children, two grandchildren, and lives in Los Angeles and New York. He has been married for 30 years to Mary Yeager, a professor of economic and business history at UCLA.