Death is the main theme of “Tuesdays With Morrie,” Cranbrook Community Theatre’s latest production, currently on stage at the Studio Stage Door. But also life.
This is Death as inseparable from Life, as much a part of our lives as being born. And thus our inevitable death should inform and influence us, and make our lives richer, more meaningful, and ourselves better as human beings.
This is a difficult journey. But Morrie will be our guide.
“Tuesdays with Morrie,” directed by Stephanie Kress and produced by Amy Penney, is the story of a jaded sportswriter, Mitch Albom (played by Landon Elliott) who reconnects with his former College professor Morrie Schwartz (played by Michael Grossman).
Morrie, diagnosed with ALS, knows his days are numbered, and makes the ultimate decision of his life — to live, and to learn how to live through the process of his own terminal decay.
Mitch’s reconnection with Morrie becomes a weekly event, almost a life-affirming pilgrimage, as Morrie teaches his last lesson, how to live — a wisdom that comes from Morrie’s decision to live in the face of his own impending death, and the knowledge how unpleasant that death with be.
But it’s not always easy for Mitch, either, as the issues and events follow him, and distract him, and his friend and mentor slowly vanishes before his eyes.
The play, based on Mitch Albom’s best-selling book, is a powerful motif on the nature of friendship, the importance of mentorship, and on how to create joy in your life and the lives of others, even when facing the end. Or especially when facing the end.
Michael Grossman gives a powerful performance as Morrie, Landon Elliott, as Mitch, is the everyman we can see ourselves in. Sandy Ashby plays Morrie’s compassionate nurse Connie, and Eve Sperling makes a vocal appearance as Janine.
“Tuesdays With Morrie” continues its run at the Studio Stage Door Thursday through Saturday May 4-7, and then next week, May 11-14. Tickets are available at www.cranbrookcommunitytheatre.com.