They’ll laugh. They’ll cry. They might even get a hug from the author.
Theatergoers at two of Israel’s top playhouses will be joined in early May by writer Mitch Albom, who will attend the first Hebrew-language performances of “Tuesdays With Morrie,” his best-selling 1997 memoir.
A co-production of the Haifa Municipal Theatre and Tel Aviv’s Cameri Theatre, the show will premiere in both cities in the presence of the author, who’s sold more than 11 million copies of “Morrie” and has seen the book translated into dozens of languages. The play follows the real-life relationship between the author and Morrie Schwartz, a Brandeis University sociology professor who battled Lou Gehrig’s disease before his death in 1995. The book and the play catch up with Albom 16 years after graduation, when the writer, a sports columnist, learned of his former teacher’s illness on television, reuniting with him and recording his insights and life lessons.
Performed off-Broadway in New York in 2002, “Morrie” has also been adapted for the small screen, winning four Emmys in 2000 for a TV movie starring Jack Lemmon. The Israeli production stars stage actor Yossi Gerber as the title character, and regular TV and film performer Yiftach Klein as Albom. In addition to attending the show’s Israeli premieres — May 5 in Haifa, and the next day in Tel Aviv — Albom is using his trip to promote Tishkofet, an Israeli organization that provides support to patients who have serious illnesses, as well as to their doctors and loved ones.
The author will also celebrate the Hebrew-language release of “Have a Little Faith,” a 2009 memoir partly inspired by Albom’s experience writing a eulogy for a rabbi.