A Holiday to Remember brings back David Alford’s rendition of Truman Capote’s beloved “A Christmas Memory” to Nashville’s Belmont Mansion. After nearly a decade away from appearing on local stages, the Nashville actor returns with a one-man recitation of two of Capote’s short stories “A Christmas Memory” and “The Thanksgiving Visitor.” Performed in the historic Belmont Mansion Grand Salon and accompanied with original music by Paul Carrol Binkley, this promises to be a highlight of Nashville’s holiday season.
Alford says: “I first worked with Paul on 'A Christmas Memory' way back in 1995, and it was the centerpiece for a number of holiday shows through the years. First, with my company Mockingbird Theatre’s 'A Southern Christmas Sampler' that was devised by Rene Copeland, and then later with 'Christmas Down Home.' What we’re doing this year is to reprise a version we did in the early 2000s with Tennessee Rep: two Capote stories told by me with Paul’s underscoring. 'Thanksgiving Visitor' has a full band, but the version of 'A Christmas Memory' will be the same one that audiences came to know and love. Just me and Paul doing the entire story as Capote wrote it.”
“Being away from the piece for a while has made me appreciate how fortunate I’ve been; first, just to say Capote’s words, but also to be a part of something that’s meant so much to so many people. It’s really humbling and gratifying. I’m looking forward to the experience of doing it again now with a few more years under my belt.”
“We are so excited to once again have David Alford’s masterful telling of Truman Capote’s short stories, 'A Christmas Memory' and 'The Thanksgiving Visitor' performed here at Belmont Mansion. While it has been many years since David’s last performance, I am asked several times each holiday season to bring the performance (fondly referred to as the fruitcake story back to the Grand Salon. Those lucky enough to have enjoyed his past performances understand the magic created when this actor, accompanied by renowned guitarist Paul Carrol Binkley, conjure vivid images of Capote’s beautifully written characters from these poignant stories” – Mark Brown, Executive Director Belmont Mansion.
“I remember when David first gave me a copy of 'A Christmas Memory.' He had this idea that he could simply tell the story, and I should compose underscoring music and accompany him as he did so. I remember reading the story on an airplane headed somewhere with tears streaming down my face. We have since performed the piece together hundreds of times since 1995 and I still fight back tears every time (sometimes unsuccessfully), though I’m also guilty of laughing out loud. I sit just a bit lower, to the right, and slightly upstage in the best seat in the house! Whether you know the story or not, you will never experience a better telling than David Alford’s.” – Paul Carrol Binkley
The Thanksgiving Visitor
The story centers around the character, 7-year-old Buddy, his only friend and elderly cousin Miss Sook, and other characters from the beloved Capote short stories. They prepare their old country house for Thanksgiving, but at the same time, Buddy finds himself a target of the freckled bully, Odd Henderson. As the story unfolds, themes of love and friendship are revealed, wrapped up in the heart of the Thanksgiving holiday.
A Christmas Memory
Another Capote favorite, this poignant story also follows Buddy and his favorite cousin as they complete their Christmas traditions. They make fruitcakes, trek through the woods to choose the perfect Christmas tree and fly their homemade kites on Christmas day. Unfortunately, it is their last Christmas to spend together.
Selections, recorded in a studio, from David and Paul's performance are featured here.
About Paul Carrol Binkley
Paul Carrol Binkley has been playing the guitar and composing his own music since he was nine years old. He trained at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Austin Peay State University, and Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt. His solo recordings have received national recognition on such broadcasts as “Music from the Hearts of Space” and NPR’s “All Things Considered” and he has performed his original music worldwide from the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville to the Singapore Jazz Festival. His performances and recordings span a wide range of musical styles for a diverse group of artists including Percy Sledge, The Fifth Dimension, Lorrie Morgan, Jim Nabors, Nashville Opera, Nashville Jazz Orchestra, Nashville Symphony, Modern Jazz Tuba Project, Cosmic Jazz Faculty, Conversation, Nexus Chamber Orchestra, Marty Raybon, Lari White, Mandy Barnett, the McCarters, and spent five years performing with country super group Alabama.
Paul has music directed, sound designed and composed for over 25 years for theatre companies including Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Nashville Children’s Theatre, Vanderbilt University Theatre (Artist in Residence, 2011-2014), Iowa Theatre Artist Company, Coterie Theatre (Kansas City), Hudson Theatre (Hollywood), and Falcon Theatre (Burbank). He also worked with Jerry Lewis and Rupert Holmes during the world premiere production of Marvin Hamlisch’s last musical, The Nutty Professor at the TN Performing Arts Center. His original musical Jack’s Tale (co-written by Scot Copeland) enjoyed its 2015 world premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. to much critical acclaim.
Dates: November 23, 25 & 26
and December 1 & 3
Time: 7:30 PM CT
Ticket prices: $45
The restored Grand Salon of Belmont Mansion is the setting for Mr. Alford's performance of Truman Capote's beloved and poignant stories.
About David Alford
A native and resident of Adams, Tennessee (pop. 600), David Alford is a graduate of the Juilliard School for Drama. He was the founder and Artistic Director of Mockingbird Theatre in Nashville, and later Executive Artistic Director of Tennessee Repertory Theatre (now Nashville Rep). Most recently, he served as Visiting Artist-in-Residence in Theatre at Berry College in Rome, Georgia.
David appeared as Bucky Dawes in the television series Nashville for its six seasons. Other screen credits include The Good Fight (CBS) The Blacklist (NBC), The Last Castle (DreamWorks), A Death in the Family (PBS/Masterpiece Theatre), Stoker (Warner Bros), and the web series Local Air.
Recent stage credits include Mr. Marshall in the Broadway revival of Little Foxes (Manhattan Theatre Club), Billy in the workshop production of Donald Margulies’ Long Lost (Illinois Theatre), and the title role in The Columnist (Tennessee Rep). His one-man performance of Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory was a holiday staple for Nashville audiences for over a decade.
David’s writing credits include two historical plays produced annually in his hometown: Spirit: The Authentic Story Of The Bell Witch Of Tennessee; and Smoke: A Ballad Of The Night Riders. Other credits include a stage adaptation of Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams (with Brian Niece), the documentary theatre piece Boycott: Pulaski, Tennessee and the Legacy of the Ku Klux Klan, the screenplays On Music Row (MTV Networks), and the independent releases Prisoner, Adrenaline, and Deadbox.
His book Living The Dream: The Morning After Drama School (with Brian Horner) is available through Kendall Hunt Publishing.