Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Off-Broadway Review: Tuesdays with Morrie with Len Cariou


Chris Domig and Len Cariou. Photo: Jeremy Varner

Tuesdays with Morrie
By Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom, based on the book by Mitch Albom
Directed by Erwin Maas
Presented by Sea Dog Theater
St. George’s Episcopal Church, 209 East 16 St. NYC
Through April 20

By Lauren Yarger
Len Cariou gives a truly moving performance in a story of friendship and forgiveness in an Off-Broadway adaptation of Mitch Albom's bestselling book Tuesdays with Morrie.

Cariou is Morrie Schwartz, a sociology professor at Brandeis University who strikes up a friendship with his student,  Mitch Albom, (Cris Domig). The two meet at office hours, mostly on Tuesdays and soon find they are chatting about much more than the various classes Mitch takes during his college years. They talk about life and whether Mitch will follow his dream of being a jazz pianist. It is a friendship that has the student calling Morrie "Coach" and promising to stay in touch with his mentor after graduation.

But he doesn't. Time speeds ahead with Mitch becoming a sports writer accumulating all that someone earning big bucks at the top of his profession can enjoy. He seems to be cruising with the addition of a wife who is a professional singer, but his life comes to a screeching halt when he hears that Morrie is dying of ALS, the debilitating disease that claimed Lou Gehrig's life.

Mitch begins flying from Detroit to Boston every Tuesday to visit with Morrie, who encourages Mitch to ask any questions he would like. The first visit is awkward for Mitch . He feels guilty. Why didn't he keep up with this friend after he promised he would. Morrie's attempts to reach out had gone unanswered. But Morrie holds no grudge. He is genuinely thrilled to see his old friend and the men take up where they left off 16 years ago. What follows is a masterclass on the meaning of life. 

The more he prepares to die, Morrie, rells us, the more he knows about how to live.

Domig effectively portrays the conflicted Mitch who wonders whether he is a good person or whether he knows how to really love.

"It was taught from experience." he tells us "There was no required reading, but many topics were covered: love, work, aging, family, community, forgiveness ... and death. The class met
on Tuesdays and had only one student. I was that student." 

Cariou himself gives a masterclass in acting. Direction by Erwin Maas is minimal with Cariou hugging the grand piano dominating Guy de Lancey's set, or sitting in a wheel chair as the disease takes hold of Morrie's body. We have no doubt of the man's spirit, conveyed by Cariou through dialogue, body movement (or lack of it) and facial expressions. Morrie helps Mitch forgive himself and discover that his life has meaning. He gives him hope through his own death-- not a bad trick for the professor who used to be agnostic.

It's moving and like the book (which Albom adapted with Jeffrey Hatcher), leaves us wishing we all had a Morrie in our lives. The old church setting lends to some echoing and sound and music effects can be stark and overwhelming at times. And the seats are exceptionally uncomfortable -- bring a pillow. But the experience is worth the trip and Tuesdays with Morrie has just been extended through April 20.

Additional credits:
Lighting, Set, and Costume Designer: Guy de Lancey; Sound Designer: Eamon Goodman; 
Recorded Vocal Performance: Sally Shaw; Original Music Composition: Chris Domig; 
Sound Mixer: Chris White

Family-Friendly Factors:
No notes

Artist Portrait Series: Len Cariou + Heather Summerhayes Cariou from Sea Dog Theater on Vimeo.

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists. Her play concept, "From Reel to Real: The Jennifer O'Neill Story" was presented as part of the League of professional Theatre Women's Julia's reading Room Series in New York. Shifting from reviewing to producing, Yarger owns Gracewell Productions, which produced the Table Reading Series at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT. She trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Intensive and other training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run. She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She wrote reviews of Broadway and Off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She was a contributing editor for She previously served as theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

She is a Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is a former vice president and voting member of The Drama Desk.

She is a freelance writer and playwright (member Dramatists Guild of America). She is a member if the The Outer Critics Circle (producer of the annual awards ceremony) and a member of The League of Professional Theatre Women, serving as Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter. Yarger was a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008- 2024 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women or people of a certain race are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide, or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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