Tuesdays With Morrie

westernedgeIt’s back. Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre presents the return of Antony Holland in Tuesdays with Morrie for two performances only, January 16 and 17, 2010, at the Nanaimo Entertainment Centre. Western Edge first presented this unexpectedly funny and deeply moving play, based on Mitch Albom’s bestselling book, in 2005. Since then Holland, a member of BC’s Entertainment Hall of Fame, has performed it in a held-over run at Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre, picking up that city’s Jessie Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role. He subsequently toured it to other cities and towns throughout Canada. The Western Edge production reunites him with Antonio Gradanti, his original co-star, in a staging that drew the first of many standing ovations to come.

Tuesdays with Morrie is based on Albom’s own relationship with the real life Morrie Schwartz. Gradanti plays Mitch, a career-obsessed sportswriter who has lost touch with his revered former college teacher. Now, as the older man slowly gives up his life to ALS — Lou Gehrig’s disease — they meet again every Tuesday morning for Morrie’s most important lessons yet: in life, love, and the transfiguring power of joy. Variety calls Tuesdays with Morrie a “touching, life-affirming, deeply emotional drama with a generous dose of humour.”

The return production is a fundraiser for Western Edge, which, like other arts organizations in BC, is struggling with the provincial government’s sudden and drastic cuts to arts funding. “We’re extremely grateful to Antony and Tony for agreeing to reunite for this staging,” says Western Edge artistic producer Frank Moher, who also directs. “It sold out the last time we presented it, and we expect that will happen again.”

A special event outside Western Edge’s regular subscription season, Tuesdays with Morrie plays for two performances only, Saturday, January 16, 2010, at 7:30 pm and Sunday, January 17, 2010, at 2 pm, at the Nanaimo Entertainment Centre, 46 Nicol Street. All tickets cost $18 before January 1, and $22 starting January 1. “They make a swell Christmas gift,” Moher notes. Tickets are available online at westernedge.org, by phone at 250-325-7777 (Nanaimo) or 1-888-320-3343, and at Falconer Books (Port Place Mall) and Gabriola Artworks. For more information call 250-668-0991.