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Jerry Sipp and John Honeycutt’s Performances in JTP’s Tuesdays with Morrie Touch Our Souls

TuesdayswithMorriePOSTER-JTP2016

What if you could spend one day each week with a very dear and wise old friend — a friend who willingly mentors you and helps you deal with life? What a gift that would be! Mitch Albom had this gift fall into his lap, and he shares it with us.

The script for the The Justice Theater Project’s production of Tuesdays with Morrie was written by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom, based on the 1997 memoir by Mitch Albom. It is a powerful story that is much needed by our society, dealing with the issue of facing life and death with dignity, with having compassion and respect for the living as well as for the dying. And it encourages us to ask ourselves such questions as:

“Are you at peace with yourself?” and

“Are you trying to be as human as you can be?”

It asks all of us to share Morrie’s point of view: “I am dying, and I can live with that.”

Andy Hayworth directs. The action is smooth and free-flowing, swift but never rushed. We move seamlessly through time and from scene-to-scene.

Jerry Sipp is so convincing as Mitch Albom that he makes us feel like we’re right there, listening to Albom as he tells the story; and he transports us directly into the scenes where his conversations with Morrie take place. We appreciate the differences between Albom’s business persona as he speaks on his cell phone and the “truer” self that emerges in his conversations with us and with Morrie. Be prepared to grin as Sipp/Albom does his Ted Koppel impression.

John Honeycutt shows us Morrie Schwartz’s wisdom and wit, his insights and compassion. We believe him when he makes such statements as “[G]iving makes me feel like I’m living.” And we smile wryly with him as he prefaces pieces of advice with the disclaimer “I never give advice.”

When we witness Morrie’s physical deteriorations as his health fails, Honeycutt’s poignant performance is heartbreakingly real.

John Honeycutt (left) and Jerry Sipp star in <em>Tuesdays with Morrie</em> (photo by Valerie Taylor)

John Honeycutt (left) and Jerry Sipp star in Tuesdays with Morrie (photo by Valerie Taylor)

The show is performed in-the-round; and no seat is further away than the third row. So, every audience member can practically reach out and touch the characters as their performances reach out and touch our souls.

The set design is by Deb Royals and Jeff Nugent, light and sound design is by Tom Wolf, costumes are by Brenda L. Hayes, and props are by Tiffani Staten. The show includes Deb Royals’ recording of the song “The Very Thought of You.”

Tuesdays with Morrie is so real and so touching, that every one of us should be able to feel as though we have spent a few Tuesdays with Morrie ourselves. And Morrie offers instructions on how to continue doing so in the future.

The Justice Theater Project presents TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE at 8 p.m. Feb. 12 and 13, 3 p.m. Feb. 14, 9:30 a.m. Feb. 16, 8 p.m. Feb. 19 and 20, and 3 p.m. Feb. 21 in Clare Hall at the Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi, 11401 Leesville Rd., Raleigh, North Carolina 27613.

TICKETS: $22 ($10 students and $17 seniors, and active-duty military personnel), except $14 per person for groups of 10 or more. SHOW: http://www.thejusticetheaterproject.org/tuesdays-with-morrie/ and https://www.facebook.com/events/502719359931818/.

BOX OFFICE: 919/264-7089, thejusticetheaterproject@gmail.com, or https://www.etix.com/.

SHOW: http://www.thejusticetheaterproject.org/tuesdays-with-morrie/ and https://www.facebook.com/events/502719359931818/.

PRESENTER: http://thejusticetheaterproject.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Justice-Theater-Project/29290766458.

VENUE: http://stfrancisraleigh.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Catholic-Community-of-St-Francis-of-Assisi/172774212838785.

DIRECTIONS/MAPS: http://stfrancisraleigh.org/maps/.

NOTE 1: At 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13th, The Justice Theater Projects have a preshow discussion of “Short Stories: Perspective and Meanings.” Bring a bag dinner.

NOTE 2:At 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 14th, there will be FREE childcare for children preregistered via thejusticetheaterproject@gmail.com.

NOTE 3:There will be a $14-per-person 9:30 a.m. “Over 55” performance, with post-show discussion with the cast on Tuesday, Feb. 16th.

NOTE 4: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio describe the 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20th, performance; and there will be FREE admission for visually impaired patrons using audio equipment.

OTHER LINKS:

Morrie Schwartz (Brandeis University sociology professor and author, 1916-95): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morrie_Schwartz (Wikipedia).

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson (1997 memoir): http://www.mitchalbom.com/books/tuesdays-with-morrie/(author’s website), http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/1588/tuesdays-with-morrie-by-mitch-albom/(Random House), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuesdays_with_Morrie(Wikipedia).

The Memoir: https://books.google.com/ (Google Books).

Mitch Albom: http://mitchalbom.com/(official website), http://www.lortel.org/Archives/CreditableEntity/14310(Internet Off-Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0207805/(Internet Movie Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitch_Albom (Wikipedia).

Tuesdays with Morrie (2002 Off-Broadway play): http://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=3809 (Dramatists Play Service, Inc.), http://www.mitchalbom.com/theater/#tuesdays(author’s website), and http://www.lortel.org/Archives/Production/1820 (Internet Off-Broadway Database).

The Script: https://books.google.com/ (Google Books).

Study Guide: http://www.bard.org/study-guides/tuesdays-with-morrie-study-guide (Utah Shakespeare Festival).

Tuesdays with Morrie (1999 TV movie): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0207805/(Internet Movie Database) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuesdays_with_Morrie_(film)(Wikipedia).

Jeffrey Hatcher: http://www.ibdb.com/Person/View/109903(Internet Broadway Database), http://www.lortel.org/Archives/CreditableEntity/3734(Internet Off-Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0368774/(Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Hatcher(Wikipedia).

Andy Hayworth (Cary director): https://www.facebook.com/thehayworth (Facebook page) and https://twitter.com/thehayworth (Facebook page).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Pamela Vesper has been a Raleigh resident for more than 20 years. A local attorney for licensed professionals, when she’s not in court, Pam can be found watching or participating in local theater productions or enjoying the vibrant Raleigh music and craft beer scene. She also loves indie and foreign films and was an anchor on the local cable show, Movie Minutes. Pam has an opinion on just about everything; just ask her. Kurt Benrud is a graduate of Cary High School and N.C. State University, and he has taught English at both. He first became involved in local theater in 1980. He has served on the board of directors for both the Cary Players and the Cary Playwrights’ Forum. He is also a volunteer reader with Triangle Radio Reading Service. Click here to read their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.

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