Easy on the Cheese

Mitch Albom (Tuesdays With Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven) is, well, a bit of a cheeseball. A prosperous, prolific cheeseball, yes — but a little hokey-pokey around the edges, with all those stories of redemption, forgiveness and hope. Albom’s And the Winner Is…, however, while certainly a story about redemption, “is not a drama or a dramedy, by any stretch,” says Craig A. Bond, who directs the production’s regional premiere. “I would bill this completely as a comedy,” he says. “There’s very little that’s touching in such a way that the audience will cry.”

The script — originally commissioned for Jeff Daniels’s Purple Rose Theatre Company — follows Tyler Johnes, a self-obsessed movie star who dies the night before the Academy Awards ceremony at which he has been nominated. Unsatisfied with his fate, the actor sells his soul for a chance to attend the big show, stopping to examine his life along the way.

“It is Scrooge-like,” says Bond of the way the main character reflects, from an afterworld distance, on various moments during his life when he hurt others. But it’s not as simple as A Christmas Carol set in Hollywood. “I think it’s inspired by an L.A.-story-meets-Dickens, as far as the Scrooge-like character goes — the L.A. story being the agents and the uptight L.A. lingo and how the characters explore those dynamics.”

Starring Kurt Brighton as Johnes, And the Winner Is… opens tonight at Vintage Theatre, 2119 East 17th Avenue, and plays weekends through March 22. Tickets are $17 in advance and $22 at the door. For showtimes and tickets, go to www.vintagetheatre.com or call 303-839-1361.
Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Tue., March 3, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Feb. 20. Continues through March 22, 2009


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