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Purple Rose Theatre Company’s “Morning After Grace”: Healing Through Humor

Photo by Sean Carter Photography. Lynch Travis and Randolph Mantooth.
Photo by Sean Carter Photography. Lynch Travis and Randolph Mantooth.

By Crystal Hayduk

Award-winning playwright Carey Crim’s fifth world premiere, “Morning After Grace,” is a must-see comedy this fall at the Purple Rose Theatre Company (PRTC). Crim’s story will appeal to anyone who wants to laugh, has ever suffered loss or disappointment, or wished to live happily ever after.

Abigail, played by Michelle Mountain, wakes in Angus’ Amelia Island retirement condo. Mountain, a PRTC Resident Artist, deftly expresses every emotion between happiness and hurt to disgust and anger as the morning progresses, but when called upon to assume her role as grief therapist, she is the consummate professional. Mountain communicates the realities women face throughout their lives with heartfelt warmth and sparkle.

Neighbor Ollie visits Angus to pay his respects following Grace’s funeral, while Abigail attempts to remain hidden. Nothing is as it seems, and every misunderstanding leads to further commotion in this fast-paced, riotous production.

Returning to PRTC since his last appearance on this stage in 2012’s “Superior Donuts,” Randolph Mantooth plays the part of Angus, a retired attorney with a modern social perspective who still finds value in owning a phonebook. A committed actor with a career spanning four decades, possibly best known for his role as John Gage in the long-running television series, “Emergency!” Mantooth capably portrays a witty and perceptive Angus.

Award-winning Lynch Travis, PRTC Associate Artist, shatters old stereotypes in his role as the outgoing, likeable Ollie. In a nod to the Detroit area, Travis gives a strong performance as a former Tiger baseball player who now enjoys golf and yoga. His character is the perfect complement to Angus and Abigail.

The sleek set design encompasses a comfortable living area and kitchen of a modern condominium, complete with appliances and running water. As with all PRTC productions, music choices perfectly supplement the script, and sound cues are right on target.

Crim weaves a rich tapestry of the human condition with tightly interlaced threads of humor and compassion. The depth of the script, combined with the engaging performances of Mantooth, Mountain, and Travis, makes “Morning After Grace” a memorable story about finding healing, even when restitution and “happily ever after” endings are impossible.

“Morning After Grace”
What: Playwright Carey Crim’s fifth world premiere
When: Now playing through Dec. 17
Where: Purple Rose Theatre, 137 Park St.
Director: Guy Sanville
Cast: Randolph Mantooth, Michelle Mountain, and Lynch Travis
Crew: Design includes set by Bartley Bauer, properties by Danna Segrest, costumes by Shelby Newport, lighting by Dana White, and sound by Tom Whalen. Stage manager – Thomas Macias; managing director – Katie Doral.
Tickets: Available by logging onto or calling 734-433-7673.

About The Purple Rose Theatre Company: Founded in 1991 by actor, playwright, musician and Chelsea native Jeff Daniels, the Purple Rose Theatre Company is a creative home for original American plays. In the 168-seat theatre, patrons experience an intimate encounter with live theatre.

Photo by Sean Carter Photography. Michelle Mountain and Randolph Mantooth.
Photo by Sean Carter Photography. Michelle Mountain and Randolph Mantooth.


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