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Published: Wednesday, 3/17/2010

Owens campus studying Albom

BY CLAUDIA BOYD-BARRETT
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Heather Kalka styles Corey DiNardo's hair as Owens students, working on a video in relationship to their study of Mitch Albom's work, f<0x200A>ilm in the South Toledo home of college instructor Jeremy Meier. Kristen Keller is by the video camera. Heather Kalka styles Corey DiNardo's hair as Owens students, working on a video in relationship to their study of Mitch Albom's work, f<0x200A>ilm in the South Toledo home of college instructor Jeremy Meier. Kristen Keller is by the video camera.
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Owens Community College students and interested members of the public will have a chance to immerse themselves in all things Mitch Albom over the next few months.

Between now and May, the college is hosting a variety of activities related to the well-known author, sports journalist, and playwright. The events complement a collegewide read of Mr. Albom's book Tuesdays with Morrie and culminate with an appearance by the author at the college's Toledo-area campus May 11.

Activities will include two free screenings of the 1999 movie

Tuesdays with Morrie in March, an "Arts and Letters" contest where students can enter their own creative interpretations of Mr. Albom's book, and a performance in April of Mr. Albom's play And The Winner Is.

"I think Mitch Albom is a name people are familiar with, so he's accessible to our students," said Ellen Sorg, a member of Owen's Literacy Committee. The committee partnered with the college's Center for Fine and Performing Arts to set up the events.

"We feel this will reach a number of different students, not just inside the classroom, but outside the classroom as well, and make for a really positive learning experience," Ms. Sorg said.

Tuesdays with Morrie is one of three best-selling books by Mr. Albom, a nationally recognized sports journalist for the Detroit Free Press. The book tells of Mr. Albom's weekly visits with his former college professor, Morrie Schwartz, and the life lessons he learned from him.

For Ms. Sorg, Tuesdays With Morrie seemed the perfect book to promote literacy at the college and get students thinking about the big picture. "I think people can take from it that we need not fear life or death, but instead we should learn from it," Ms. Sorg said. "I'm really excited to see how students respond through the contest. I'm excited to see those entries and see how students have taken this and done something with it in their own lives."

Students from the Center for Fine and Performing Arts will stage Mr. Albom's play, And the Winner Is, about a self-obsessed movie star who is nominated for an Oscar but dies the night before the awards ceremony. Desperate to see if he won, the actor bargains with a heavenly gatekeeper to return to Earth for the big night.

"It's a goofy play about Hollywood but also just the basic concept of how someone is judged and what it means to be successful," said Jeremy Meier, performing arts instructor. "I thought that it was a very accessible theme for just about anybody to relate to, but especially for students who are constantly taking classes and being graded."

In addition to the play, students are filming sketches related to the drama that will be shown to audiences the day of the performance.

"I've always found that the things you learn in the classroom are great, but to really start to develop a process of what it is to be an actor, the best way to learn is to actually be in a show," Mr. Meier said. "These actors are getting the experience of working on both a stage play and a movie script, so it's two shows in one."

Free screenings of the film Tuesdays with Morrie are set for 4 p.m. March 23 in Room 141 of Owens' Findlay-area Campus on 3200 Bright Rd., Findlay, and 4 p.m. March 30 in Room 100 of College Hall at the Toledo-area campus, 30335 Oregon Rd. in Perrysburg Township.

And The Winner Is will be performed April 8-11 at 7:30 p.m. at the College's Center for Fine and Performing Arts on the Toledo-area campus. There also will be a matinee at 2:30 p.m. April 11.

Mr. Albom will be at the Toledo-area campus for "An Open Discussion with Author and Sports Writer Mitch Albom" at 7 p.m. May 11 in the Student Health and Activities Center. For tickets, priced at $20, $40, and $60, call the Center for Fine and Performing Arts Box Office at 567-661-2787, ext. 2787.

Contact Claudia Boyd-Barrett at:

cbarrett@theblade.com

or 419-724-6272.



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