Mitch Albom's probably best known, at least among theater fans, for his popular but cloying "Tuesdays With Morrie," the best-selling book that became a TV movie and a stage play. He also wrote the similarly popular and similarly sentimental novels "Five People You Meet in Heaven" and "For One More Day."
His comedy, "And the Winner Is," is still about death and dying but it has a different tone. Albom goes mostly for laughs, not tears, in his play about an actor who's been nominated for an Oscar but dies the night before the ceremony.
The comedy has been compared to "It's a Wonderful Life," but it also takes some satirical stabs at Hollywood.
"And The Winner Is" is the last production of the 2013-14 season at Island Players. It opens today and runs through May 25.
The plot revolves around Tyler Johnes, a self-obsessed movie star. When he dies just before the Academy Awards, he bargains with his heavenly gatekeeper to return to Earth to find out if he has won his first Oscar.
James Thaggard directs the production, which stars Talley Reeve as Tyler.
Details: May 15-25, Island Players, 10009 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria. Show times: 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $20. Information: 941-778-5755, theislandplayers.org.
-- Marty Clear