Seven-time Emmy Award winner Ed Asner will bring his one-man comedic stage reading to Hannibal in January, courtesy of Bluff City Theater and Hannibal Regional Healthcare System.
Called “A Man and His Prostate,” the play puts a decidedly funny spin on what is in reality a potentially tragic situation.
Written by Asner’s longtime friend and collaborator, Ed Weinberger — nine-time Emmy nominee and winner of the Outstanding Comedy Series award for his work on “Taxi” — this is based on a true story of a man who “discovered his inner self in more ways than one.”
Best known for his masterful portrayal of Lou Grant, first as Mary Tyler Moore’s boss on her eponymous show, then in the dramatic spin-off of his own, “The Lou Grant Show,” Asner has been touring the production across America for over a year with stops on both coasts and many cities in-between.
“That he has chosen America’s Hometown for an exclusive performance speaks volumes about how Hannibal is coming into its own as a significant theater center,” Bluff City Theater Executive Director Joe Anderson said.
Hannibal became the location for the first Missouri performance of “A Man and His Prostate” after Anderson responded to an enquiry from Asner’s daughter and manager, Liza.
“We receive a large number of proposals from writers, performers and producers each year,” Anderson said. “As soon as I received this one, I knew we wanted to book the show. Ed Asner was an icon to my generation and is one of the truly great actors from the Golden Age of TV.
“At age 88, Ed Asner is a remarkable example of how vibrant today’s seniors can be. He delivers this show with a skilled comedic timing that leaves audiences in tears from laughing.
“Obviously, our 90-seat theater was not large enough for a production of this importance so we’re glad that Hannibal High School has a great performing space available to the community. At 810 seats, it’s quite spacious, but still intimate enough for a one-man show to succeed,” Anderson said.
Described by critics as “not just a play, but a public service in a comedy format,” “A Man and His Prostate” takes an unflinchingly serious look at a disease that afflicts nearly a quarter of a million American men every year. That’s what brought Hannibal Regional Health System to the table as a sponsor. Over 27,000 American men die each year from prostate cancer, and it’s a disease that is treatable, even curable, when diagnosed early. Yet, men are often reluctant to admit to, let alone discuss, their symptoms, which delays treatment, sometimes fatally.
According to experts, it’s often the woman in a relationship who recognizes the symptoms and pushes her husband or partner to seek medical advice. A production like this has the ability to open men and women up to talking about the problem, in much the same way other plays have drawn attention to women’s health issues.
The combination of Weinberger’s writing and Asner’s talent makes for 90 minutes of pure enjoyment despite the serious subject.
“A Man and His Prostate,” starring Ed Asner, will be performed Jan. 13 at Hannibal High School Auditorium for one show only at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and range from $25 to $45. For an additional $15, audience members may participate in an after-show meet-and-greet with Asner.
Purchase tickets online at eventshannibal.com or call the box office at 573-719-3226.