Think about an activity you’ve devoted yourself to for your entire life. Whether it’s a livelihood, a routine after work or a hobby, chances are you’re quite attached to this pursuit and couldn’t picture your life without it. Now imagine this: a divine decree has been issued from the heavens, declaring that this passion of yours is to be completely erased from the Earth. No longer will your flights of fancy engage with the realm of physical possibility. What would you do?
Such is the concept for Hockey: The Musical! — a show created by Michigan sportswriter, author and playwright Mitch Albom, also known for works such as Tuesdays with Morrie and Ernie. In the musical, God Himself concludes that there are too many sports in the world and sends an angel down to Earth to pick one for elimination. The angel settles on hockey, which doesn’t sit well with Stanley, a fervent enthusiast who is present at the proclamation. Determined to save his favorite sport, Stanley strikes a deal with God: if he can find five loyal fans to plead their case for the game, God will allow hockey to stay. Stanley decides to call on five well-known figures in the hockey world, including Wayne Gretzky and Steve Yzerman. Unfortunately, the names get mixed up by God’s messenger, leaving Stanley stuck with five random people as his only hope. For example, instead of Don Cherry, he’s left with Dawn Cherry.
While the storyline is certainly outlandish, the musical has captivated audiences in its home state of Michigan. Hockey: The Musical! premiered last summer at the City Theatre in Detroit, opening to a five-week run of successful shows and adoring reviews. The play charmed audiences with its oddball tale, numerous jokes and zany songs, consisting of both original tunes by Albom and riffs on classic hits by artists such as the Bee Gees. Of course, there’s also the fate of hockey on the line, which holds a dear place in the hearts of many Michiganders.
“There are bits throughout the show that specifically have to do with hockey in the state of Michigan,” said Tara Peplowski, marketing and group sales manager at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts. “There’s something about the sport that really resonates with audiences here, which is why we thought the show was a lot of fun.”
However, the show’s appeal is not limited to hockey disciples. “Personally, I’m not a hockey fan, but the show is fun. You still get it,” said Bob Hoffman, public relations manager at the Wharton Center. “If you know hockey, it’s going to be funnier, but you don’t have to be a hockey fan to enjoy it.”
As part of its first statewide tour, Hockey: The Musical! is playing from Aug. 24-26 in the Pasant Theatre at the Wharton Center. On opening night, there will be a pre-show meet and greet with Mitch Albom in the Jackson Lounge for VIP ticket holders. You can purchase show tickets and VIP passes by visiting whartoncenter.com or by calling 1-800-WHARTON. This unique, wacky show is only around for four performances, so don’t miss it!