Father Figure




Unless you know someone willing to part with a season ticket, it’s probably way too late to actually get a seat for the current three-week run of “Tuesdays With Morrie” being presented by the Peterborough Players. In fact, you need to act fast to get a ticket for any of the shows at the Players’ wonderful (and recently refurbished) backwoods theater when they host their annual performance by theatre (and film) icon James Whitmore. But this show is special. Most folks are familiar with Mitch Albom’s autobiographical story of a career-obsessed journalist and his ailing former college professor. In it, a simple visit turns into a weekly pilgrimage and then a last class in the meaning of life. The story originally took shape as a heart-warming and instructive book that graced the New York Times best-seller list for more than four years. The popular 1999 TV movie starred Jack Lemmon (in his final credited role) and Hank Azaria. What adds a deliciously poignant twist to this production is that the candid and sage-like Morrie is played by the candid and sage-like James Whitmore and the journalist who learns to love and then to let go of Morrie is played by Whitmore’s own son, James Jr. Jon Egging, a director for the Players, says that, while the play is not explicitly about fathers and sons, it has plenty of significance when viewed in that way. He notes that the casting was not the product of forethought so much as serendipity. The company had been trying to acquire the rights to the play for years, and James Whitmore Sr. had long been the prime candidate for the Morrie role. Last year James Jr. appeared with his father on the Peterborough stage production of “Inherit the Wind.” It was the first time in a couple of decades that the father and son had acted together and it sparked a sort of “renaissance” in their relationship, says Egging. When the rights to “Tuesday With Morrie” were finally acquired, it seemed obvious to cast them in it together. The play runs from June 21 to July 9. Last October the Peterborough Players began an extensive renovation of their intimate, 208-seat 18th-century barn theater. Improvements include 42 additional seats and expanded stage, backstage and fly galleries. Improved heating and air conditioning will make it possible to laugh and cry to great theatre without simultaneously sweating or shivering. www.peterboroughplayers.com Most folks are familiar with Mitch Albom's autobiographical story of a career-obsessed journalist and his ailing former college professor. In it, a simple visit turns into a weekly pilgrimage and then a last class in the meaning of life. The story originally took shape as a heart-warming and instructive book that graced the New York Times best-seller list for more than four years. The popular 1999 TV movie starred Jack Lemmon (in his final credited role) and Hank Azaria. What adds a deliciously poignant twist to this production is that the candid and sage-like Morrie is played by the candid and sage-like James Whitmore and the journalist who learns to love and then to let go of Morrie is played by WhitmoreÅfs own son, James Jr. Jon Egging, a director for the Players, says that, while the play is not explicitly about fathers and sons, it has plenty of significance when viewed in that way. He notes that the casting was not the product of forethought so much as serendipity. The company had been trying to acquire the rights to the play for years, and James Whitmore Sr. had long been the prime candidate for the Morrie role. Last year James Jr. appeared with his father on the Peterborough stage production of ÅgInherit the Wind.Åh It was the first time in a couple of decades that the father and son had acted together and it sparked a sort of ÅgrenaissanceÅh in their relationship, says Egging. When the rights to ÅgTuesday With MorrieÅh were finally acquired, it seemed obvious to cast them in it together. The play runs from June 21 to July 9. Last October the Peterborough Players began an extensive renovation of their intimate, 208-seat 18th-century barn theater. Improvements include 42 additional seats and expanded stage, backstage and fly galleries. Improved heating and air conditioning will make it possible to laugh and cry to great theatre without simultaneously sweating or shivering. www.peterboroughplayers.com Blips FUN FACT: State laws make various exceptions for when a teen can marry before the legal age of adulthood at 18. The state with the lowest marriage age is New Hampshire, which allows 13-year-old girls and 14-year-old boys to marry, although parents can annul their children’s marriages until the children reach 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CELTIC CONNECTION: A new Web site highlighting the strong connections between Londonderry on the Irish banks of the Foyle and Londonderry in New Hampshire has been launched by the Ulster-Scots Agency. The site, www.1718migration.org.uk, traces the story of those colonists who left County Londonderry in Ireland in the 18th century to settle in what was then the town of Nutfield, in 1723, bringing with them the first Irish potatoes ever planted in the New World. ON A ROLL?: Is the spiffy new Segway of Northern New England dealership in Concord a sign of progress for Manchester inventor Dean Kamen’s much-hyped and much-mocked “human transporter”? Perhaps a better sign is the recent purchase of $580,000 worth of Segways by the city of Chicago for police and security services. THAT’LL DO, PIG: Forget Babe and meet Christopher Hogwood in Sy Montgomery’s latest book, “The Good Good Pig” (www.goodgoodpig.com). The Peterborough naturalist and writer has published amazing accounts of journeys as a naturalist, but this book is a reminder that, for profound adventure, you need look no farther than your own back yard.

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