Mill River Players current show is "Tuesdays With Morrie" based on a true story by Mitch Albom and is the area debut of this show. The play is about 1979 Brandeis graduate Mitch Albom reconnecting with his Sociology professor Morrie Schwartz sixteen years later in 1995 when Mitch sees his old professor on Nightline with Ted Koppel. What Mitch learns from Morrie is that everything in life matters. Morrie is dying of ALS , Lou Gehrig's disease but instead of pitying himself, he shares everything that is important to him until the very last moment. Knowing that he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday in the last months of his life, just like they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final "class": lessons in how to live. When Mitch finally visits Morrie, he is an award-winning sports columnist with the Detroit Free Press. He started out to be a jazz pianist but the death of his musical mentor, Uncle Mike at the age of 42 made him give up music and become a journalist. Morrie teaches Mitch his philosophies on life, dying, communication, money, happiness, family, marriage, love and friends. He teaches Mitch how to express his feelings again after bottling them up inside, "The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in." This powerful and moving play is given an excellent rendition at Mill River Players. Director Chuck PetitBon casts superb actors in these two roles and they capture your hearts with their comic and dramatic dialogue, leaving you in tears at the close of the show. Its reward is a very well deserved standing ovation by the sobbing crowd.
Both actors are dynamite in their roles. Richard Wilbur as Morrie captures the essence of this tragic figure and infuses him with the wit, humor and topnotch acting ability needed. His wonderful Jewish accent and his tremors as the fatally ill man are splendidly done. This is one of the best roles I have ever seen Richard in. Chris Gaulin as Mitch is outstanding. He also narrates the show at times, too. He goes from showing Mitch during college to his later years as a sportswriter and how he has changed after losing his uncle to cancer. Mitch is embittered at this point but Morrie changes his way of life by admitting his love for his student and telling him to never be afraid to show another person you love them. Chris' transition from bitterness to love is fantastically portrayed and his tears at this moment in the show will definitely tug at your heartstrings, making you cry along with him. Bravo to Richard and Chris on a job very well done. A word of praise to Chuck who not only directs the show but also cooks the fabulous before show meal at this dinner theatre. With several to choose from, I chose the pork tenderloin with brown gravy, cornbread and cranberry stuffing, applesauce, stringbeans and carrots, oven roasted plain and sweet potatoes with Italian seasoning plus all you can eat Chicken Vegetable Soup and Corn Chowder as well as freshly baked Italian bread. After dinner dessert is an apple turnover with caramel sauce and coffee or tea. So for a touching and sentimental evening of an excellent play and fantastic before the show dinner, be sure to catch "Tuesdays with Morrie" at Mill River Players before time runs out. You will be glad you did.