Love Letters – Review by Marlene S. Gaylinn

Just in time for the Valentine Season, Music Theatre of Connecticut’s (MTC) director, Ken Connors brings us A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters.” I admit that this is not one of my favorite, Gurney works. On the surface, it’s simply a reading of childhood to adult letters that reveal the everlasting relationship between two pen pals named Melissa and Andy. However, beneath the surface are deeper meanings to reflect upon. While the couple carried on this platonic relationship for over 35 years, their long-distance exchanges of petty jealousies and more mature up and down life’s experiences are certainly another form of love to ponder.

Last weekend we saw Tony-Award Winner Joanna Gleason and husband, Oscar nominee Chris Sarandon play before an opening night crowd. Relaxed and seated at a table, the couple read Gurney’s clever phrases, which issued knowing chuckles from the mixed-aged audience members.

The timing and delivery of both actors was excellent. While this production is perfectly geared for MTC’s intimate theatre setting, it was unfortunate that the actors were seated at the farthest end of a magnificent, ruby-red oriental rug – which in effect took center stage. Ms. Gleason’s voice is weak compared to her husband’s and her sentences sometimes faded across the carpet.

Writing more than one sentence on a piece of paper may be quite a chore these days, so it’s become a novelty to discover what grandparents have written and stored about their romantic relationships. There are all kinds of love and one can love many persons equally, and at the same time. Take MTC’s excellent, last play, “The Bridges of Madison County,” for example. While writing may be out of style, “Love Letters” is another presentation for anyone who has experienced a loving attraction towards someone from afar.

Broadway actress Beverly Ward and her Olivier Award nominee husband Kirby Ward take over the roles of Melissa and Andy on February 2-4 followed by Broadway actress Jodi Stevens and 2-time Emmy award nominee husband Scott Bryce on February 9-11. It should be quite a treat to see these well-known actors locally.

Plays weekends to February 11 Tickets: 203-454-3883

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