“Tuesdays with Morrie” Takes Center Stage at Totem Pole Playhouse’s 74th Season


FAYETTEVILLE – Totem Pole Playhouse, America’s summer theatre, located in Caledonia State Park between Gettysburg and Chambersburg, PA, has begun rehearsal for a “bucket list” theatrical experience: Tuesdays With Morrie by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom.

Based on the 1997 New York Times bestseller by Mitch Albom that sold over 20 million copies, Tuesdays with Morrie is the autobiographical story of an accomplished sports journalist driven solely by his career and Morrie Schwartz, his former college professor. Sixteen years after graduation Mitch happens to catch Morrie’s appearance on Nightline, a television news program and learns that his old professor is battling ALS. Mitch is reunited with Morrie and what starts as a simple visit turns into a weekly pilgrimage and a last class in the meaning of life. Totem Pole Audiences are in for a performance that they’ll never forget a limited run of 12 performances beginning on July 12th.

“Our cast is top notch and will wow audiences with their sincere and kinetic performances.” shared Ryan B. Gibbs, Totem Pole’s new Producing Artistic Director. The cast is just two actors. Ray Frewen plays Morrie Schwartz and Damon Bonetti plays Mitch Albom. Both actors are people of influence in two of the most dynamic theatre towns in America. Frewen is a Chicago institution who has appeared on every stage in that town and served as the Artistic Director of the Drury Lane Theatre for more than a decade. Additionally, he appeared in the First National Tour of Les Miserables. Bonetti has been acted everywhere one can act in Philadelphia including more than a dozen shows the world-famous Walnut Street Theatre. He also serves as the Co-Founding Artistic Director of the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective and boasts a robust film and TV career. Totem Pole is honored to have them both “in the room.”

Tuesdays With Morrie is co-directed by David Hemsley Caldwell (Totem Pole’s Artistic Director, Emeritus) and Ryan B. Gibbs (Totem Pole’s current Producing Artistic Director.) Filling out the creative team is Matthew Knerr (Scenic Designer), Elizabeth Angelozzi (Costume Designer), Isaach Bardach (Prop Designer), Ryan B. Gibbs (Lighting Designer), Abby Scott (Sound Designer), and returning Stage Manager Luke Reed.

The story is set in 1994, during the final year of Schwartz’s life. His thoughtful approach to dearth was brought into the spotlight by Nightline, The New York Times, and Oprah’s Book Club. Oprah also produced a movie by the same name starring Jack Lemon and Hank Azaria. “This

happened years before social media, but this story went completely viral. It captured the attention of a nation overnight” added Gibbs.

The 74th season at Totem Pole is open and is currently running. After Tuesdays with Morrie, the playhouse will present Jersey Boys. The season will close on August 31st with a series of concerts entitled Music in the Pines.

Tickets and subscriptions are on sale now by calling the Totem Pole Playhouse Box Office at (717) 352-2164 Mondays through Fridays open at 10 a.m.; Saturdays and Sundays open at 11 a.m.; First Show Fridays open at 3 p.m.

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