TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE (Los Angeles)

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TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE  9 Show Limited Run August 14- 30 with Live Talk-Back August 18th with Mitch Albom

The Group Rep presents a pay-per-view staged production from the Lonny Chapman Theatre of TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, written by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom, from the book by Mitch Albom directed by L. Flint Esquerra, co-produced by Lloyd Pedersen and Gina Yates.   Limited run.  August 14 – August 30.   August 18 at 1:30 pm there will be a Live Talk-Back with author/co-playwright Mitch Albom, director L. Flint Esquerra, cast members Larry Eisenberg (Morrie) and TJ McNeill (Mitch), hosted by Group Rep Artistic Director Doug Haverty.

Inspired by true events, and based on the best-selling book, this is the story of accomplished sportswriter, Mitch Albom, who feels that his life is lacking, despite all of his success. When Mitch watches a Nightline broadcast with his lovable featuring former university professor, Morrie Schwartz, he is moved to reconnect with his old mentor, who is valiantly battling ALS.  As Mitch and Morrie get reacquainted, they engage in thoughtful conversations about a variety of significant topics, including love, joy and life changes; “…what starts as a simple visit turns into a weekly pilgrimage and a last class in the meaning of life.”

What critics have said about the Play

“Unforgettable! No matter how well you tell the story, the play makes it more vivid, more shattering, more humorous.” —NY Magazine

“Making the language of the book crisper, cleverer and more palatable…aphoristic wisdom, expressed with gallows wit.” —NY Times

“A touching, life-affirming, deeply emotional drama with a generous dose of humor.” —NY Daily News

“I was unprepared for how moving and powerful TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE turned out to be…On this ground, the flowers of humanity grow.” —NY Post

“You’ll Laugh! You’ll Cry!” —Variety

“The evening has an aura of celebration. Just what the doctor ordered, you are likely to be moved.” —Journal News

The original New York production was produced by David S. Singer, Elizabeth Ireland McCann, Joey Parnes, Amy & Scott Nederlander, Harold Thau, Moira Wilson, Shadowcatcher Entertainment. Originally presented by New York Stage and Film Company and the Powerhouse Theatre at Vassar, 2002 Tuesdays with Morrie was supported by a playwright’s residency and public stage readings at the 2001 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Waterford, CT.

The Group Rep’s streamed production of TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.

About the Playwrights

Mitchell David Albom (Playwright) is an American author, journalist, screenwriter, dramatist, broadcaster, and musician. His books have sold over 39 million copies worldwide. Having achieved national recognition for sports writing in his early career, he is perhaps best known for the inspirational stories and themes that weave through his books, plays, and films. His breakthrough book came about after he was rotating the TV channels and viewed

Morrie Schwartz’s interview with Ted Koppel on ABC News “Nightline” in 1995, in which Schwartz, a sociology professor, spoke about living and dying with a terminal disease, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). Albom, who was close to Schwartz during his college years at Brandeis University, felt guilty about not keeping in touch so he reconnected with his former professor, visiting him in suburban Boston and eventually coming every Tuesday for discussions about life and death. Albom, seeking a way to pay for Schwartz’s medical bills, sought out a publisher for a book about their visits. Although rejected by numerous publishing houses, Doubleday accepted the idea shortly before Schwartz’s death, as Albom was able to fulfill his wish to pay Schwartz’s bills. Tuesdays with Morrie chronicled Albom’s time spent with his professor and was published in 1997. The initial printing was 20,000 copies. As word of mouth grew, the book sales slowly increased and landed the book a brief appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, nudging the book onto the New York Times bestseller’s list in October 1997, reaching the number-one position six months later, and remained there for 205 weeks. One of the top selling memoirs of all time. Tuesdays With Morrie has sold over 14 million copies and has been translated into 45 languages. https://www.mitchalbom.com/

Jeffrey Hatcher’s Broadway credits include: NEVER GONNA DANCE (book). Off-Broadway credits include: THREE VIEWINGS and A PICASSO at Manhattan Theatre Club; THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR at Red Bull Theater; SCOTLAND ROAD and THE TURN OF THE SCREW at Primary Stages; LUCKY DUCK (book w/ Bill Russell) at the New Victory Theater; TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE (w/ Mitch Albom) at the Minetta Lane Theatre; MURDER BY POE, THE TURN OF THE SCREW, and A CONNECTICUT YANKEE AT KING ARTHUR’S COURT at the Acting Company; TEN CHIMNEYS at Peccadillo Theater Company; NEDDY at American Place; and FELLOW TRAVELERS at Manhattan Punchline. Other theatre credits include: COMPLEAT FEMALE STAGE BEAUTY, MRS. MANNERLY, MURDERERS, MERCY OF A STORM, SMASH, ARMADALE, KORCZAK’S CHILDREN, WORK SONG (w/ Eric Simonson), TO FOOL THE EYE, SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SUICIDE CLUB, JEFFREY HATCHER’S HAMLET, THE SCARECROW AND HIS SERVANT, DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, THE CRITIC, HOLMES AND WATSON, and others at the Guthrie, the Old Globe, Yale Rep, the Geffen, Seattle Rep, Huntington Theatre Co., the Shakespeare Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Arizona Theatre Co., San Jose Rep, the Empty Space, Indiana Rep, Children’s Theatre Company, History Theatre, Madison Rep, Intiman Theatre, Illusion Theater, Denver Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Rep, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Philadelphia Theatre Co., Asolo Repertory Theatre, City Theater, Studio Arena, and dozens more in the US and abroad. FILM/TV: “Stage Beauty,” “Casanova,” “The Duchess,” “Mr. Holmes,” “The Good Liar,” “Columbo,” “Murder at the Cannes Film Festival,” and “The Mentalist.” GRANTS/AWARDS: NEA, TCG, Lila Wallace Fund, Rosenthal New Play Prize, Frankel Award, Charles MacArthur Fellowship Award, McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Barrymore Award (Best New Play), and the 2013 Ivey Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a member and/or alumnus of the Playwrights’ Center, the Dramatists Guild, the Writers Guild, and New Dramatists. https://www.facebook.com/jeffrey.hatcher.3

https://www.theatricalrights.com/author/jeffrey-hatcher/

About the Director

Flint Esquerra (Director) Previously at The Group Rep, Theresa Rebeck’s Loose Knit and two Tennessee Williams’ classics – A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Also: Representative Misbehavior for the Neo Ensemble Theatre; Tuesdays with Morrie at the Sierra Madre Playhouse; The Last Wife at Theatre 40; Tick, Tick… Boom! for DOMA Theatre; and the world premieres of Savage World, California Dreamin’, Bones Of Lesser Men, On Holy Ground, Western Big Sky, Head:‘The Brain That Wouldn’t Die’ Musical, and Twilight In Venice, all at The MET Theatre. Thank you, GRT and our wonderful cast and crew! For PK, MvS, and TGPJ. 

About the Cast

Larry Eisenberg (Morrie) is an Actor, Writer, and Director. Some of his favorite roles have included Kit Carson in Time of Your Life, opposite Lonny Chapman, Edgar in King Lear opposite George Coulouris and the Conductor in the Los Angeles premiere of Terence McNally’s Prelude and Liebestod. He directed numerous productions at the Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theatre, including The Poor of New York by Dion Boucecault, The Chinese Wall by Max Frisch, and Neil Simon’s Lost In Yonkers, for which he received the Broadway World Regional Best Director Award for Local Production.

TJ McNeill (Mitch) has most recently been seen as Clifford in Deathtrap. Favorite roles include Hamlet in Hamlet, Bobby Strong in Urinetown, Matt in Dog Sees God, and the Police Sergeant in Pirates of Penzance. He is extremely excited to be back on stage at the Group Rep and would like to thank Larry and Flint for this wonderful opportunity. Special thanks to Hersha, Cindy, and Lloyd as well. This one is for his Mother, Father and Sister, without whom he would be lost forever. 

About the Production Staff

Chris Winfield (Set Design) A member of the Group Rep for over 32 years, Chris is the resident set designer and builder, and is also a past Co-Artistic Director of the theatre. He has appeared as Meyers in Witness for the Prosecution, Fasch in Bach at Leipzig, Holmes in Sherlock’s Last Case, and George Hay in Moon Over Buffalo. Film and TV credits include “Firefox,” “M.A.S.H.,” “Baywatch,” “The Nanny,” and “Eli Stone.”

Douglas Gabrielle (Lighting Design) In addition to designing lights for a number of productions here at The Group Rep, Douglas designed lights for The Libertine, Comedy Of Errors, Merry Wives for Pasadena Shakespeare; Absolutely Filthy, Don Juan In Chicago, Crumble, Puzzler, Valparaiso for Sacred Fools; Pericles (Valley Theatre Award Nomination), Cymbeline for Porters of Hellsgate. Inhale Harmonica, Murder Murder Murder, Midnight Requisition for Skypilot Theatre; Spiderpocalypse, Absolutely Filthy for Hollywood Fringe Festival; and Absolutely Filthy for South Coast Rep.

Christopher Moscatiello (Sound Design) Chris is an award-winning sound designer, composer, music editor and music director for theater, television and film. TV highlights include “The Walking Dead,” “Eureka,” “Human Target,” “The Cape,” “Caprica,” “Trauma,” and he has scored full series, specials and promos for HBO, BBC, NBC, National Geographic and others. Other theater credits include The Kennedy Center, The Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Rogue Machine, Skylight Theatre, Antaeus Theatre, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, The Fountain Theatre, and The Smithsonian Institution.

John Ledley (Stage Manager) John is approaching his third anniversary of being a member of GRT. Tuesdays With Morrie is the latest of his string of GRT shows for which he has stage managed, which include Rumors, Laundry and Bourbon/Lone Star, All My Sons, and London Suite (upcoming). In this unprecedented time, John would like to express his gratitude to everyone involved with this production.

Cynthia Howe (Assistant Stage Manager/Nurse) has worked as an Actor/Stage Manager for over 25 years. She started out her career on SNL, as a Church Chat Lady with Dana Carvey and has specialized in comedic improv/skits ever since. Her Broadway debut as Stage Manager was Dreamtime, at the Ed Sullivan Theatre. Cynthia was last seen at GRT in The Chinese Wall as a dancer and Kim Jon Un, directed by the multi-talented Larry Eisenberg.

Steve Shaw (Sound Technician) A GRT member since 2010, he has designed sound for the majority of the shows, both main stage and upstairs, ever since. Most recently: Laundry and Bourbon, Lone Star, Romeo and Juliet, Rumors, and Deathtrap. His sound creations have been heard from LA to New York to Idaho. Also an actor, he was most recently seen as Professor Metz in The Man Who Came to Dinner and Pontius Pilate in The Chinese Wall, at the Lonny Chapman Theatre, and appeared as “Arnold” in I Got Troubles at the Crown City Theatre.

Doug Haverty (Graphic Design) has designed for theaters and performing arts centers across the U.S. and overseas. He has also created 600+ CD packages for Universal, Warner Bros., EMI, Sony, etc. Doug has supplied event graphics for the Los Angeles Jazz Society, ASMAC, The Thalians, Associated Television International, Hollywood Christmas Parade, LAPD, LAFD, the Grammys, baseball cards for Weird Al Yankovic’s world tour and co-designed the coffee table book: Ukulele: A Visual History for Backbeat Books.

Kristin Stancato (Online Marketing) Kristin is a marketing executive with over 15 years of experience managing departments and campaigns across a wide range of industry verticals. Throughout her career she has always volunteered her services to support the arts, from photography for bands in NYC to her very fulfilling role with The Group Rep. She is honored to be part of the Tuesdays with Morrie production team and congratulates the actors on such a moving performance.

Steven Estep (Original Music)

Doug Engalla (Video Capture/Editor) Doug has served as photographer and videographer for productions on both the Main Stage and Upstairs at the Group Rep. In this capacity, he has also photographed and edited a series of featurettes with playwrights, directors, and actors about these productions. In addition, Doug has, to date, directed eight full-length productions and five short plays at the Group Rep; coming next, Neil Simon’s London Suite.

Lloyd Pedersen (Co-producer) Known mostly to the Group Rep’s audiences as an actor and singer, he produced The Winning Streak for GRT, and last season’s Lone Star and Laundry and Bourbon. He also was assistant to director Jules Aaron for The Ghost of Gershwin and to Larry Eisenberg for Awake and Sing!

Gina Yates (Co-producer) Gina has spent 22 years in the entertainment industry producing nationally syndicated television and radio programs such as “The Marilu Henner Show,” “The John Tesh Radio Show,” and “The Playboy Morning Show.” Gina is currently a producer for the TV court show, “Hot Bench,” for which she earned an Emmy® nomination. Gina is an actor and a playwright, and has been a member of The Group Rep for 11 years. She is also a proud member of SAG-AFTRA, AEA, and the Television Academy.

The play has a limited run of 9 performances August 14 – August 30. There is an online after-party after the opening show on Friday, August 14 open to those with a Pay-Per-View Pass.  There will be a free Live Streamed Talk-Back with Mitch Albom, director L. Flint Esquerra, and cast members Larry Eisenberg and TJ McNeill, hosted by the Artistic Director of the Group Rep Doug Haverty Tuesday, August 18 at 1:30 pm for those with a Pay-Per-View Pass.  A Pay-Per-View Pass is $20.   To buy a pass and for information please visit www.thegrouprep.com or call (818) 763-5990.