Thursday, April 28, 2011

'Ernie' world premiere a huge success!

By Matt Harding
In Play on Facebook

Mitch Albom's play, Ernie, about Tiger legend Ernie Harwell, premiered Thursday evening in front of a packed City Theatre. In attendance was the Illitch family, local television personalities, '84 Tigers Dan Petry and Frank Tanana, amongst others, including Mitch Albom himself.

The City Theatre doorman greets guests with a smile
Photo by Matt Harding / In Play! Magazine

Dan Petry heads into the City Theatre to see 'Ernie'
Photo by Matt Harding / In Play! Magazine

Before the play commenced, Albom took a moment to tell In Play! how he believed fans would respond to the play: "I hope they'll enjoy it. I think if they liked Ernie Harwell coming in, they'll certainly like him going out. We enhance his life and bring it to people on a personal level that they might not know. A lot of people didn't know his own story. And, he's got quite an interesting story."

The play, starring Will Young as Ernie Harwell and Timothy Corbett as the boy, lasted roughly 90 minutes and featured vintage MLB footage including that of Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, and Willie Mays.

The play is set during Ernie's last day at Comerica Park. Harwell encounters a boy shortly before he goes out onto the field and gives his final broadcast, telling his life's story in nine innings, starting with his childhood.

Albom was absolutely correct in saying you'd get to know Ernie personally. After leaving the event, one fan told In Play! Magazine, "I feel like I just met Ernie and got to know a person, not just a broadcaster."

Fans left the City Theatre in awe
Photo by Matt Harding / In Play! Magazine

During the play, the audience laughed, cried, and clapped; sometimes, they seemed to be doing all three at the same time. Mitch Albom put together one heck of a play.

And, don't worry if you didn't catch it yet. There are 37 more shows scheduled every Thursday through Sunday (at various times) from now until June 26. But, be sure to remember that the City Theatre is only a 399 seat venue. Buy your tickets now before they're loooooooong gone!

The "Ernie" marquee outside of the City Theatre
Photo by Matt Harding / In Play! Magazine