Thoughts & Musings

Warren’s 2nd Story plans a summer of compassion, conflict and comedy

Ed Shea's 2nd Story Theatre has planned a summer of shows with characters who "do not go gently into that good night," he said.

by Channing Gray, Providence Journal
  • 8th April 20168/04/16
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Ed Shea’s 2nd Story Theatre has planned a summer of shows with characters who “do not go gently into that good night,” he said.

And those include “Tuesdays with Morrie,” the touching story of a journalist who reunites with a former teacher who is dying; “Harold and Maude,” about the bond between a 19-year-old and a 79-year-old woman who teaches him to live life to the fullest; and Neil Simon’s popular “The Sunshine Boys,” about the reunion of an estranged vaudeville team.

Shea said he was interested in a summer of plays with “compassion at their core, but with conflict and comedy.”

“I’m just tired of seeing plays about people on stage who hate each other. You can get that at home.”

Not that they don’t all have some bite, he said of his selections. “But they are all about older people who put up a bloody fight at the end, squeezing the best out of life.”

The season opens in June downstairs with Mitch Albom’s “Tuesdays with Morrie.” Albom is a journalist who took a professional interest in a former professor battling Lou Gehrig’s disease. And what starts out as a one-time visit becomes a regular ritual that provides a crash course in the meaning of life.

In July, the company moves upstairs for “Harold and Maude,” which interestingly stars Evan Kinnane, who made his 2nd Story debut a decade ago in “Auntie Mame.” Now 19, he’s about to graduate from The Boston Conservatory and is spending the summer playing Harold, who leads a staid predictable life until he meets 79-year-old Maude, who shows him how to live.

The season ends upstairs in August with Bob Colonna and Bill Oakes teaming up as the Sunshine Boys, the estranged vaudeville act persuaded to reunite for a TV comedy hour, opening the door to forgiveness.

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