Journalist Mitch Albom wrote a book, a memoir detailing the powerful emotions generated as he stood by his long time best friend Morrie Schwartz as he, Morrie came to terms with the diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a non-curable and always fatal disease. The story was transformed into a television movie released in 1999 starring two time Oscar winner Jack Lemmon as Morrie and Hank Azaria as Mitch. The movie received rave reviews and a Golden Globe nomination. Now this powerful story is on stage at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, Sierra Madre, California.
After seeing this 90 minute show, about 89.9 minutes of which are spell binding, I invited its stars; Larry Eisenberg as Morrie and Jackson Kendall as Mitch, to be guests on my radio shows which can be heard here.
The show is without a doubt compelling, riveting and powerful. The performances by Larry Eisenberg and Jackson Kendall were nothing short of star quality. Yes I indeed enjoyed the show tremendously but I could not stop wondering exactly how it was that a show that set out the events of a man’s inevitable death could be so absolutely compelling.
Mitch met Professor Morrie Schwartz while attending Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. On graduation day for Mitch he promised his beloved professor that he would keep in touch. Then Mitch went out to pursue a career in music.
That did not work out as he hoped and he eventually became a successful sports journalist. Finally after 16 years Mitch reached out to Morrie and they reunited, only this time Mitch learned that his friend Morrie had been diagnosis with the deadly ALS disease for which there is no cure.
What unfolds as the two continue to meet every Tuesday is a steady downward progression of Morrie’s physical health, but even as that was happening Morrie demonstrated a steady flow of wit and wisdom that hit Mitch like a tsunami of love, wisdom and compassion. That is really what is at the core of this incredible show.
The truth is we will all die eventually, so that is not the question nor really the essence of the show. The soul of the show is despite the inevitable death what matters most is how you live the life that you have.
Clearly Morrie was rich in love, wit and charm that carried him gracefully through his horrible disease. That reality deeply impacted Mitch and gave him a whole new way to approach and embrace life. And it is very much that power that makes this show, Tuesdays with Morrieone the most compelling on stage today.
You can enjoy this wonderful show for yourself at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierra Madre Boulevard, Sierra Madre, California 91034. Show days are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m., now through March 31, 2019. Monday March 18 is a “pay what you can” special performance. It is important to note that a portion of all ticket sales has been pledged to help ALS research.
Make your reservations now by calling 626-355-4318 or online here.
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For another great story also in process to becoming a feature film get your copy of: 51-50 the Book here.
Photos provided by Sierra Madre Playhouse
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.