What kind of genius takes the best-selling memoir of all time, turns it into a stage play, and brings it to the Sierra Madre Playhouse? The kind that fills the house on opening night. The kind that takes Mitch and Morrie from college days and their student/professor relationship to the final days of Morrie’s life, for Morrie is dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Somber? Tragic? Not the way Morrie sees it. He’s too busy living life, mostly, and inveigling his erstwhile student into spending all his Tuesdays with Morrie. He’s too busy sharing what life is really about—in short, impish questions that send the audience into gales of laughter.
So Mitch is once again the student, but in a class held for just one. And being a memoir, it is all based on the true-life story that happened when Albom sought out his former professor, Morrie Schwartz. Here, Mitch learns about life.
Jackson Kendall is part narrator, part Mitch who finds himself in both the frustration and warmth of this long-neglected friendship. Larry Eisenberg is a masterful actor as he shows gradual signs of the ALS that is devastating his body, while maintaining his infectious sense of humor.
Director L. Flint Esquerra brings a sensitive touch to the nuances of emotion expressed by the men: anger, poignancy, love, humor—even crying.
Albom, who wrote the bestseller of the same name, worked with Playwright Jeffrey Hatcher to adapt the book into the hit play.
Celebrating opening night at a reception, Producer Christian Lebano announced that a portion of all ticket sales will be donated to the ALS Association, and that a finale fund-raising day is planned where the entire day’s proceeds will be given too.
“Tuesdays With Morrie” runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. through March 31. It is playing in repertory with “Stuart Little,” a beloved childhood favorite.
For reservations or more information, phone (626) 355-4318, or visit sierramadreplayhouse.org for online ticketing. Admission is $40 for general audiences, $36 for seniors (65 and older), and $20 for youth (younger than 21). The Playhouse is located at 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. in Sierra Madre.