Twin City Stage presents Tuesdays with Morrie as 81st finale
Whether comprised of a mere group of 20, or standing tall as one of the largest and most successful theatres in Winston-Salem, Twin City Stage â€”formerly the Little Theatre of Winston-Salemâ€”has come a long way since its inception in the 1930s. One could even say it’s become a historical landmark for the Triad, and it certainly has a lot to celebrateâ€”including 81 successful years.
This week, Twin City Stage will present Tuesdays with Morrie, a drama by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom, as the final mainstage production of its 81 st season, “Life, Love and Flying Monkeys.”
Directed by Caitlin Stafford, the powerful drama is a fitting production to close out Twin City Stage’s season, especially since the theatre has had such an impact on the community for several decades.
“I am most excited about pushing people’s expectations of local theatre, even if only slightly,” said Stafford, who also happens to be one of the co-founders of the young Spirit Gum Theatre Co. “The staging of this show is different from what Twin City normally produces. It’s not a strictly linear show, and moves so quickly that the structure is also different from what most audiences will expect. But it is nowhere close to Avant Garde or performance art. I think that it will still be very accessible to audiences, both for the story and the intimacy.”
In the play, based on the autobiographical book of the same name, workaholic journalist Mitch Albom finds out that his favorite college professor, Morrie Schwartz, is battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It has been 16 years since Albom was a student of the sociology professor, yet he decides to visit the dying man. After reuniting, Albom’s one-time visit becomes a weekly pilgrimage and a renewed friendship as Schwartz becomes the teacher once again, helping Albom to realize the true meaning of life.
The New York Daily News called the play adaptation of Tuesdays with Morrie, “A touching, life-affirming, deeply emotional drama with a generous dose of humor.”
“I really do love the relationship between the characters,” Stafford said. “They so clearly care for one another. They fill a need that the other has. For Mitch, he needs a supportive father figure to help him open up. For Morrie, he needs someone to witness his death, to be a constant in his ever-reducing world as ALS takes his freedom.”
The production also speaks to how far the theatre scene has come to make room for both female and young and aspiring talent in the field.
“I would say that, locally anyway, I am definitely on the younger end of the spectrum as far as directors go,” Stafford said. “We have a very vibrant theatre scene here, but what I have always found we are lacking is yo unger and/or female directors. I’m thrilled to get this opportunity: for the experience, the exposure, and expanding the expectations of our local audiences. Directing two men in this father-son type relationship, as a young woman myself, has been a really enjoyable process.”
In the fall, the theatre will continue to show its production prowess with its 82 nd season, “Discover,” which will include re-imagined classics, exciting premieres, and, of course, long-loved musicals.
The first show of the new season won’t hit the stage until September, but it’s an exciting and suitable production to kick-off another successful year for the long-standing theatre. Little Women: The Musical, based on Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, follows four adventurous sisters as they grow up during the Civil War. !
Twin City Stage presents Tuesdays with Morrie Friday through Sunday and June 9-12 at the Hanesbrands Theatre, 209 N. Spruce St., Winston-Salem. An opening night reception, with wine provided by Raffaldini Vineyards, hors d’oeuvres and sweets, will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday in the lobby. Tickets are $25. For tickets and more information call 336-725-4001 or visit twincitystage.org.