Mark Twain called James Whitcomb Riley “the funniest man in America.”  When they appeared together at Chickering Hall in 1887, The New York Times declared our Hoosier Poet “the hit of the afternoon.”  And The New York World wrote, “Twain shriveled up into a bitter patch of melancholy in the fierce light of Mr. Riley’s humor!”  He was working as a sign painter not long before, dancing on the medicine show and attempting to sell his patented snake oil.  Those colorful struggles are depicted as he eventually finds fame in newspapers and on the lecture circuit.   In this funny and fast-paced portrayal, Riley recites and performs “simple sentiments that come direct from the heart” – The Raggedy Man, When the Frost is on the Punkin, A Nonsense Rhyme, The Hired Man’s Faith in Childern and his most beloved piece, Little Orphant Annie.

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