Albom co-adapted Tuesdays With Morrie for the stage with Jeffrey Hatcher, but is now flying solo as a playwright. The new play will have its premiere in Chelsea, Michigan, 60 miles west of Detroit, by the Purple Rose Theatre Company. The Equity troupe was founded by actor Jeff Daniels in his hometown and has been the birthplace for a number of works by Daniels and others. Purple Rose commissioned the world premieres of Lanford Wilson's Rain Dance and Book of Days.
Purple Rose artistic director Guy Sanville will direct the Albom play, which is described this way: "From the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple to the backwater swamps of Alabama, this world premiere follows a big city tabloid journalist on the trail of an out-of-this-world tale. Bat Boy, Elvis and Half Man/Half Alligator are nothing compared to the zany people in this new play from the award-winning Detroit Free Press columnist and celebrated author of 'Tuesdays with Morrie.'"
Performances play June 24-Aug. 28, 2004. Given the high-profile name of Albom, scouts and producers from outside Michigan are sure to inquire about Duck Hunter.
Advance donor sales begin April 19, 2004, and general tickets go on sale begin May 3, 2004.
The 2003-04 Purple Rose season will open with the world premiere of a collection of short comedies, The Fabulous Farkleberrys, by Jeff Daniels. Sanville will direct. The acting company will include Sandra Birch, Ryan Carlson, Randall Godwin, Terry Heck and Tom Whalen. Performances run Sept. 25-Nov. 30. Advance donor sales begin Aug. 11, general ticket sales begin Aug. 25.
A winter show to be announced will play January-March 2004, followed by the Michigan premiere of The Underpants, the farce by Carl Sternheim as adapted by Steve Martin. Anthony Caselli will direct.
Previously seen in New York in a staging by Classic Stage Company, the play is described thus: "When a government clerk's young wife accidentally drops her unmentionables at the King's parade, he is totally unprepared when she becomes an instant celebrity. You won't believe how fast people get 'wild and crazy' after one tiny glimpse of underpants." Performances play April 1 June 5, 2004.
For information about Purple Rose Theatre Company, visit www.purplerosetheatre.org.