(Orange, Texas)

February 15, 2014

OCP’s ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ is good any day

Jeanette Boehme
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — “Tuesdays With Morrie” is the latest offering by the Orange Community Players and you should do yourself a favor and make time in your schedule to see this funny, profound and poignant play.

It is an autobiographical story about a successful sports journalist, Mitch Albom, and his rekindling of a friendship with his college sociology professor, Morrie Schwartz, after a 16 year lapse.

Mitch is moved to seek out Morrie, after he learns that Morrie is suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, by watching Ted Koppel on “Nightline” interview him. While it sounds like a tragedy, playwright Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom bring out the humor that Morrie uses to deal with his impending death. They decide to meet every Tuesday, which is not easy for Mitch as he has to take an airplane to get there.

Morrie is brought to life on the OCP stage by the amazing actor, Michael Goldman, who has graced Orange with wonderful performances in “I’m Not Rappaport” and “The Odd Couple.” He has the ability to deftly lose himself in his wise, yet funny, character and is totally believable as Morrie. Goldman portrays Morrie as not in the least self-pitying and always delighting in how uncomfortable his cavalier attitude toward his imminent demise makes the buttoned-up Mitch feel.

Goldman realistically brings the character through the steady decline in his mobility as he becomes more and more dependent on others. Always with a joke, he utters the line, “When you’re in bed, you’re dead.”

Michael Muffuletto, a math professor at McNeese State University, brings his intuitive acting chops to the role of Mitch. His energetic performance spans a broad emotional range. Muffuletto brings his character from the awkward reunion with Morrie to their tender final good-bye scene with finesse. Muffuletto, as Mitch, is also the play’s narrator. He speaks directly to the audience at intervals, providing back-story. He carries the play along with swagger and aplomb, always demonstrating his terrific acting talents. Bravo, Mr. Muffuletto!

This play, with these two consummate actors, has the flavor and feel of a professional performance rather than that of a community play offering. The multi-talented director, Carolyn Woosley, has done a masterful job of putting this play all together and is to be congratulated. The set is unadorned simplicity but it works perfectly. The scenes, which change from Tuesday to Tuesday in the play, are carefully and unobtrusively managed by the stage crew. The play only runs 90 minutes and is chock full of pithy humor.

Carolyn Woosley wishes to dedicate this production in memory of Cecil Douglas, 1955-2009, and Mike Goldman dedicates his performance in honor of his dear friend Holly Carr.

Performances are at 7:37 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15, and Thursday, Feb. 20 through Saturday, Feb. 22. A matinee will be presented at 2:37 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 23. General admission tickets are $10 for students and $15 for adults. Call 409-882-9137 for reservations.