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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Coronavirus: Tisch Mills theater re-starting ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’

Coronavirus

The Forst Inn Arts Collective

Zachary Lulloff, left, and William Fricke (as Morrie) in “Tuesdays with Morrie.” (The Forst Inn Arts Collective).

TISCH MILLS, Wis. (WFRV) – A crossroads theater in farmland southeast of Green Bay plans to resume traditional performances June 12 with limited seating.

The Forst Inn Arts Collective will restart its run of “Tuesdays with Morrie,” based on the popular book by Mitch Albom.

Performances are June 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 26 and 27. Info: forstinn.com.

“Seating is limited to about one-third of our house to allow for empty social distancing tables,” according to an email to patrons. The capacity of the cabaret-style theater is approximately 90, so audiences will be limited accordingly.

“In addition, we are changing up our food offering for the unique needs of 2020 by returning to the days of the Little Sandwich Theatre,” the email says. “The meal will be plated and will include packaged items featuring a deli-meat sandwich, chips, cookie, sweet treats and macaroni salad.”

Little Sandwich Theatre, which served sandwiches, was the forerunner of the current theater, which has served a wider array of small servings of food, with dessert at intermission.

The original run of “Tuesdays with Morrie” started just as tighter restrictions for public gatherings were ordered by Gov. Tony Evers.

The March 14 performance was the last traditional performance I saw before the performance scene shut down entirely in Northeastern Wisconsin.

Final performances of “Tuesdays with Morrie” were rescheduled to resume May 22, but another postponement was called for.

It just so happens “Tuesdays with Morrie” is filled with lessons in life.

At the performance Saturday, March 14, the atmosphere in the playhouse was dramatic, like being on the cusp of change – whatever that might be.

Morrie Schwartz probably would have some advice about matters with the coronavirus COVID-19, like, “Cool it, roll with the flow.”

What that audience faced was not what Morrie Schwartz is caught up in in the play.

Morrie Schwartz is living life as best he can while he is dying of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the slowly debilitating ALS.

Like the coronavirus COVID-19, “Tuesdays with Morrie” is all about mortality.

In that theater that night, everyone’s mind was on mortality in two ways – Morrie Schwartz’s and his or hers in the matter of COVID-19.

It was an interesting experience, to say the least.

The Forst Inn Arts Collective’s excellent production is directed by Michael Sheeks.

Local actors with notable experience hit a rhythm on the homey stage March 14.

William Fricke portrays Morrie Schwartz, a sociology professor who is full of wisdom.

Zachary Lulloff portrays Mitch Albom, a super-busy and headstrong sports columnist who is suddenly changed.

The real-life Mitch Albom turned his visits with his favorite professor into a book that sold a whopping 14 million copies 20 years ago.

The opening night audience was held in the grip of Morrie Schwartz was saying and what Mitch Albom was learning in part because the story is from real life.

Also shrouding the situation was news about the coronavirus COVID-19 that was getting more chilling by the day.

The audience hung on such words as these from Morrie Schwartz: “The most important thing is life is learn how to give out love, and let it come in.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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