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Ernie Harwell’s story coming to MSU

EAST LANSING, Mich. ―To celebrate the Detroit Tigers opening of the 2015 season, Wharton Center is thrilled to announce the play “Ernie” by Michigan’s own award–winning author, Mitch Albom, as the opening show of its 2015-2016 season.

“Ernie” is the smash hit play about the “Voice of Summer,” Ernie Harwell, and recounts the life of the beloved Tigers announcer.

“Ernie,” is set on Ernie Harwell’s last night at Comerica, when the Hall of Fame broadcaster is about to give a moving thank you to a grateful city.

Just before he walks onto the grassy field, he encounters an unusual boy who is eager to know all about him, coaxing Harwell into giving one final broadcast – the “broadcast of his life.”

In real life, Harwell and Albom spoke often about doing a stage play one day.

According to Harwell’s longtime friend and attorney, S. Gary Spicer, Ernie “had always hoped Mitch would author it.”

Having called Harwell a friend for 25 years, Albom, the hugely successful playwright behind Tuesdays With Morrie, was willing to collaborate, but in 2009 Harwell’s health faded and the project had to be shelved.

After Ernie’s passing, Albom picked up the pen again, and the result has thrilled over 80,000 theater-goers over the past four summers.

“Ernie’s story transcends sports,” Albom says. “It’s a story of 20th century Americana and a love affair with baseball and a childhood sweetheart. Ernie went through the Depression, World War II, the segregation of sports –he also called some of the grandest moments ever witnessed on a ball field. It’s an honor to bring such a rich character to the stage – especially for so many fans who loved him.”

The play features actual footage from historic baseball moments, supplied courtesy of Major League Baseball, and boasts many unmistakable Harwell calls.

Tiger fans will get a glimpse of the time that Ernie met the Great Bambino and Ty Cobb.

They’ll witness how he “recreated” games in his early days, and what was behind his broadcasts of the Tigers’ 1968 and 1984 World Series.

Tickets go on sale, April 10. Performances will be Aug 19-22. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18-20, 8 p.m. Aug. 21 and 2 p.m. Aug. 22

Performances will be held at the Pasant Theatre located on the campus of Michigan State University.

Tickets are $32 plus applicable fees.

A special VIP meet and greet with Mitch Albom will be held opening night only.

Tickets for the VIP event are $95

For more information, contact the ticket office by visiting www.whartoncenter.com or calling (517) 432-2000 or 1-800-WHARTON.

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