The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 22, 2013

RiverStage Community Theatre presents ‘Love Letters’


— LEWISBURG — RiverStage Community Theatre will present the romantic drama “Love Letters” for two weekends at venues in Bloomsburg, Shamokin and Lewisburg. 

All seating is general admission and tickets are $15, with group and subscriber discounts available.

“Love Letters,” the Pulitzer Prize-nominated play by A.R. Gurney, opened on Broadway in 1989 and tells the story of Melissa and Andrew, two childhood friends and sweethearts who separate into their different lives but never lose touch with each other. This funny and touching drama is told entirely through their letters to each other over a 50-year time span as they discuss their hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, and victories and defeats that have passed between them throughout their lives. 

It has been a longstanding favorite among TV, film, and stage actors, and various productions have starred Kathleen Turner, Lynn Redgrave, Elizabeth Taylor, Carol Burnett, William Hurt, Christopher Reeve, Christopher Walken, Jeff Daniels and James Earl Jones.

“We are excited for our audiences to see a local production of this really unusual, really poignant play,” says director Dodie Ripon-Lovett. “Everything about it seems very simple at first:  there are just two actors, one man and one woman, and instead of them walking around a set talking to each other, we listen to these two characters sit and read their letters aloud. But as the story unfolds over time, we really get caught up in their give-and-take, we see two people grow from schoolchildren into their separate identities, their separate families. We see them get more sophisticated, but also see their missteps and stumbles along the way, and we get to know them even better than they know themselves because we’ve watched their entire lives.

“It’s a very rich, human drama that also gives our actors a chance to bring the warmth and beauty of the spoken word to life in a unique way. I think everyone will be able to see a piece of themselves in these characters and will really enjoy the show.”

Lovett received her bachelor’s degree in English and theater from Bucknell University, studying under the late Professor Harvey Powers, and has directed and performed across the Susquehanna Valley with the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Valley Players, and Lycoming College. The production stars Ken J. Kopf as Andrew and Mary Ann Stanton as Melissa. Stanton, also a graduate of Bucknell’s theater department, appeared on stage last season in RiverStage’s “Flywheel, Shyster & Flywheel: The Marx Brothers Lost Radio Show.” Kopf has been an actor, producer and director with regional groups including Susquehanna University, Valley Players, and Milton Area Theatre of the Arts, and appeared as Dr. Zubritsky in last year’s RiverStage production of Neil Simon’s “Fools.”

RiverStage Community Theatre, formerly known as the Milton Area Community Theatre, was founded in 2003 as a nonprofit group of actors, directors, musicians and artists committed to bringing top-notch theater to the Greater Susquehanna Valley. After “Love Letters,” its season will continue with Arthur Miller’s classic drama “All My Sons” and Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Gypsy,” with performances in Milton and Bloomsburg. 

For more information or to join RiverStage’s mailing list, visit www.riverstagetheatre.org.