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Fri, Feb. 28

PCA puts on ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ on Stage Too!

Ronnie Lopez acting as the Hospice Worker to Morrie Schwartz, played by Jonathan Perpich, in Prescott Center for the Arts’ production of “Tuesdays with Morrie.” (Catherine Miller Hahn/Courtesy)

Ronnie Lopez acting as the Hospice Worker to Morrie Schwartz, played by Jonathan Perpich, in Prescott Center for the Arts’ production of “Tuesdays with Morrie.” (Catherine Miller Hahn/Courtesy)

“Tuesdays with Morrie,” the true story of a student and a teacher, is coming to Prescott Center for the Arts, showing at Stage Too! throughout October.

It’s a powerful and beautiful story of how a teacher, named Morrie Schwartz (Jonathan Perpich), takes on one last lesson to teach Mitch Albom (played by Will Larson), one of his favorite students whom he reconnects with, said director Catherine Miller Hahn, who is a veteran teacher of 35 years. By the end, the teacher becomes the student and the student becomes the teacher, Hahn said. Working with Larson and Perpich, as well as the whole teacher-student aspect, was exciting for her, she added.

Perpich said he’s loved the intimacy of the experience, which Larson echoed. The two of them are on stage the whole time in constant exposure to the material and to each other, Larson said, adding that it’s an emotional show with very little downtime.

“It’s a rare experience, it’s not something that you get with every show where you have the opportunity to really go deeper and deeper and deeper,” Larson said. “There have been moments where I turn and say, ‘Hey, what do you guys think about this?’ and we dive into a 45-minute discussion that leads to stories being shared and experiences being shared and everything connecting back to one line that I ask about.”

The production is not trying to duplicate a certain “Morrie,” a character whose story has been played in 31 languages and 36 countries and has been performed by both genders of varying ages though the real-life character was an old Jewish man. The way she’s approached the production is getting the audience to find their own Morrie through the actors, Hahn said.

Hahn said she first read the book on a bus taking her high school students to the Shakespeare Experience in 1995. She says it changed her life. “I was not the same teacher when I got home as I was when I got on the bus. I immediately put it on the curriculum,” Hahn said. “I want everyone to know Morrie because he changes lives.”

Getting sober 18 years ago has changed the way he wakes up in the morning, looks at the world and treats his fellow human beings, Perpich said. Since then, his whole outlook has been in line with Morrie’s: making the most about each day, seeing the brighter side of things and being helpful and of service.

Perpich brought up a proverb that shows a person at one point loving things and using people but now loving people and using things. “For me that’s Morrie, he teaches us about the value of life and the value of each day,” he said. “For me, what I hope people experience when they come to this play is a sense of joy, rejoicing and inspiration.”

Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 4-6, Oct 11-13 and Oct 18-20, and at 2 p.m. Sundays Oct 7, 14 and 21. Teachers are invited to a preview performance Monday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 p.m. and should call 928-445-3286 to reserve a seat.

Tickets are $19 per person and available online at www.pca-az.net, by calling 928-445-3286 or at the door. Prescott Center for the Arts is located at 208 N. Marina St and Stage Too! is in the alley behind the theater.

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