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25 years after book, 'Tuesdays with Morrie' makes Mich. stage debut

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Teresa Castracane
City Opera House
Actor Michael Russotto, left, plays Morrie Schwartz opposite Cody Nickell as Mitch Albom, in the play "Tuesdays with Morrie." The play runs Aug. 10-14 at City Opera House, in Traverse City. (Photo: Teresa Castracane)

Based on the 1997 book by Mitch Albom, “Tuesdays With Morrie” was first staged as a play in 2002. But never here, in Albom's home state. That changes this week, in Traverse City.

That 1997 book, about the life lessons Albom gained from his beloved, late college professor who was dying of ALS, experienced wild success.

It became a movie starring Hank Azaria and Jack Lemmon, and then in 2002, it became a play, debuting off Broadway.

And they meant to bring the national tour of the play to Michigan.

"Detroit was intended to become one of the cities," Albom told IPR's Max Copeland, "but there were a bunch of theaters that wanted to do it, and I knew people in all of those theaters."

Rather than choose among friends, Albom says they decided to not do a Michigan stop and revisit it in a couple years. But the tour was extended, and then went international.

"And we sort of forgot about it, to be blunt," he said.

They've forgotten no more. "Tuesdays with Morrie" runs Aug. 10 - 14 at the City Opera House. It's the first stop on a multi-city trip through Michigan.

Listen to Albom's full conversation — about the play, about Morrie, and about Albom's own feelings on death — through the audio player above.

Can't see the show in Traverse City? Here are other Michigan performance dates.

Max Copeland is the local weekday host of All Things Considered on Interlochen Public Radio and the producer of The Up North Lowdown, IPR’s weekly news podcast (coming soon!). Max grew up in Traverse City and graduated from Central High School in 2014. He went on to study broadcast journalism at Michigan State University.