“LOVE LETTERS” ARRIVE JUST IN TIME FOR YOUR VALENTINE


BONNIE GOLDBERG

In this age of e-mails, text messages, twitters and facebook, it is refreshing to return to a gentler and kinder and more personal time when people took pen to paper and actually exchanged handwritten letters.  Now with Valentine’s Day upon us, we have the unique opportunity to combine the art of penmanship with the composition of notes with a romantic flair in A. R. Gurney’s “Love Letters” playing weekends at Music Theatre of Connecticut until Sunday, February 20.

Jodi Stevens portrays Melissa Gardner who has had a fifty-year relationship with childhood friend Andrew Makepeace Ladd III played by her real life husband Scott Bryce.  The two meet in grade school, second grade to be exact, and even though she is outlandish, outspoken and a tad rebellious and he is straight arrow, conservative and a bit stuffy, they form a connection that endures over time and geographical separation.

Whether they are exchanging postcards from summer camp, notes about escapades at private school, get well missives after she breaks her leg skiing, congratulatory words on his top of the class college graduation or the inevitable letters of apology for some slight or misstep, Melissa and Andy mark all the big and small moments of their friendship and affection by writing to each other.  Even their pauses in communication speak volumes, when one or the other is miffed.

Into her notes, Melissa inserts drawings of cats, bears and kangaroos that hint early on about the art career she will pursue, pursue all the way to Italy.  Into his letters, Andrew reveals his love of the law and of politics that suggests his future path in life.  Kevin Connors directs this poignant interchange of heartfelt, sometimes silly, often loving, communication that spans five decades.

For tickets ($25-45), call Music Theatre of Connecticut, 246 Post Road East, Westport in Colonial  Green at 203-454-3883 or online at www.musictheatreofct.com.  Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Let real life husband and wife Scott Bryce and Jodi Stevens share the intimacies of Andrew and Melissa so beautifully, expressing how he spent his whole life trying to rescue his lost princess of Oz.

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