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Posted June 10 , 2013

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On Stage

An old man, a young man … and life’s greatest lesson

Drayton – The 2013 Season at the Drayton Festival Theatre continues with a poignant and heartwarming play about friendship, love and living life to the fullest. Tuesdays with Morrie runs for three weeks only through June 22.

Based on the best-selling book of the same name, Tuesdays With Morrie is the uplifting autobiographical account of Mitch Albom’s friendship with his former college professor, Morrie Schwartz. Sixteen years after graduation, Mitch happens to catch Morrie's appearance on a television news program and learns that his old professor is battling Lou Gehrig's Disease. Mitch becomes reunited with Morrie and, what starts as a simple visit, turns into a weekly pilgrimage and a final lesson on the meaning of life.

“Tuesdays With Morrie features a cast of two incredibly talented actors who captivate audiences through their tender and humorous performances,” says Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director of Drayton Entertainment.

Distinguished Canadian actor Ian Downie is completely charming as the aging academic Morrie Schwartz, bringing warmth and wit to his role. Downie is particularly funny in the awkward moments, as the disease begins to have a devastating effect on his body, but his mission to share lessons on life and love continues.

Downie has appeared in countless stage productions and numerous film projects over the course of his illustrious career, but he is perhaps best recognized as one of the ‘grumpy old men’ who debate the conveniences of modern banking in TD Canada Trust’s humorous TV commercials.

Jeffrey Wetsch fully embodies the role of Mitch Albom, a multi-faceted man who learns how to slow down and appreciate what truly matters in life during the fourteen Tuesdays that he spends with Morrie. Wetsch strikes a perfect balance between Mitch’s aloof exterior and his maturing softer side, especially in later scenes as his mentor requires assistance coping with the disease. At once the determined workaholic journalist, Mitch’s underlining gentleness gives credence to Morrie’s appraisal that he is living a life without heart.

Wetch has appeared in various theatrical productions including The Heiress at St. Jacobs Country Playhouse, as well as roles in film and TV such as Republic of Doyle, Bomb Girls and Defiance among others.

“Ian Downie and Jeffrey Wetsch deserve high praise for their performances,” says Mustakas. “The pair has incredible chemistry and because of this the play is utterly engaging.”

Tuesdays With Morrie is directed by Marti Maraden. A theatre veteran with an impressive list of credits, Maraden captures the essence of this beautifully written play. She keeps it moving at an ideal pace, with compelling sentiment throughout and bursts of levity in the most unexpected moments. Maraden expertly guides a talented cast to intensify the emotion in this inspiring dramedy.

The minimalist Set & Costume Design by Allan Wilbee evokes the simple lifestyle of a gentle professor who believes that space should be filled with love rather than material possessions. Lighting Designer Louise Guinand allows the audience to focus on the meaningful exchange of dialogue with tight and subdued effects. A beautiful scene at the end of the play owes much to the subtle lighting.

“Like the book, the play is funny, touching, and inspirational. Tuesdays With Morrie reminds us of the profound impact that mentors have on our lives, and as Morrie says, ‘everyone should have a coach,’” says Mustakas.

Tuesdays With Morrie is proudly sponsored by Gibson Sound & Vision. Media Sponsors are Magic 106.1, 1460 CJOY and the Guelph Mercury. The Design Sponsor is Cherrey Bus Lines. The 2013 Season Media Sponsor is CTV.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.draytonfestivaltheatre.com, in person at the Drayton Festival Theatre Box Office or by calling (519) 638-5555 or toll free 1-855-DRAYTON (372-9866).



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