And The Winner Is was Mitch Albom’s second comedy. It saw its world premiere at the Purple Rose Theater in Chelsea, MI, in the summer of 2005 and its west coast premiere at the Laguna Playhouse in the summer of 2006. And the Winner Is tells the comic story of Tyler Johnes, a self-obsessed movie star, who is finally nominated for an Oscar, then dies the night before the awards. Outraged at his bad luck and determined to know if he wins (even though he's dead), he bargains with a heavenly gatekeeper to return to earth for the big night. Along the way, he drags his agent, his acting rival, his bombshell girlfriend and his ex-wife into the journey, in a wildly twisting tale of Hollywood, the afterlife, and how we are judged.
And The Winner Is was directed by Purple Rose Theatre Co.'s Artistic Director Guy Sanville. “It’s a quirky, heartfelt and slightly wicked tale of life, death and sacrifice,” Sanville says. About his second collaboration with the playwright, he continues, “Mitch uses humor as a window into the human heart.”
The play has been hailed for its wit, originality and hilarious portrayal of Hollywood values.
"'Winner' shares with Albom's bestselling 'Morrie' and 'The Five People You Meet in Heaven' the subject of life and the lessons it teaches." --Daryl H. Miller, Los Angeles Times
"I suppose it is always a worthwhile thing to be reminded about mending relationships and getting right with God before it is too late. But it is truly a rare and special thing to have such a reminder included in one of the funniest plays I’ve ever seen." --Robert Delaney, The Detroit Monitor
It’s A Winner: "Think It’s A Wonderful Life right down to the Seamus/Clarence character. But Albom’s version offers a fresh, funny twist. Look for plenty of digs at Hollywood, the movie business, lengthy awards shows and celebrity egos... Much of the humor is rooted in ridiculous truth." --Judith Cookis-Rubens, Oakland Press
Albom play, cast win in the end: Despite simple appearances, Winner has considerable ambitions: "...takes on considerable emotional heft and poignancy, and Albom achieves a fitting end that is simultaneously inevitable and surprising. Albom also, throughout the play, offers up a good deal of bright, cynical humor..." --Jenn McKee, The Ann Arbor News