Mark Twain House executive director Cindy Lovell said in a statement, "At the age of 17, a young Samuel Clemens, later known as Mark Twain, set out from Hannibal, Missouri to find his destiny. It is with great excitement and anticipation that we support another 17 year-old writer on a similar journey. Noah Altshuler is an exceptional choice to reexamine and adapt 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' for the stage. I look forward to hearing about his adventures as he develops his play of this American classic."
Born and raised in Cambridge, MA, and currently a senior at Groton School, Altshuler focuses much of his creative work on the exploration of adolescent male gender roles in society. His 2014 play Making the Move premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where Altshuler was the youngest playwright selected to present a new work.
More than 50 schools in 21 states across the United States have licensed the piece, about the social pressures faced by young men when encountering romance and rejection. Altshuler will return to Edinburgh this August with Last Call for Providence, a sequel to Making the Move.
As The Mark Twain House & Museum Playwright-in-Residence, Altshuler will be given "unparalleled access to many of the scholarly assets of the National Historic Landmark home in Hartford where Mark Twain lived during the period he wrote and published 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,'" according to press notes. He will also spend time at The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, MO, the site on the banks of the Mississippi that inspired many of these autobiographical adventures. In addition, he will travel to Twain's summer getaway (and final resting place), Elmira, NY, to work in the hills where Twain wrote much of the original 'Tom Sawyer' manuscript.
Altshuler's play will be adapted primarily from the well-known "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," but it will also include plot elements drawn from lesser-known works in the canon, including "Tom Sawyer Abroad" (1894) and "Tom Sawyer, Detective" (1896). Altshuler's grandfather is O'Henry Prize winner and National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist Frederick Buechner.
The Mark Twain House & Museum has restored the author's Hartford, Connecticut home, where Samuel L. Clemens and his family lived from 1874 to 1891. For more information, visit MarkTwainHouse.org.