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Brilliant and funny,
Love Letters is worth seeing twice!

by Liz Warren

Photos by Ben Gorman

Time is running out to catch Oak Creek Theatre Company’s production of the touching, memorable A.R. Gurney hit play Love Letters.

Featuring a rotating cast of exciting regional favorites, the production is a wonderful way to celebrate the Valentine’s season.

Love Letters chronicles the relationship that unfolds between Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III through their 50 years of correspondence. From birthday party thank you notes to summer camp postcards, each letter unfurls with the insight and humor characteristic of Gurney.

"He’s a wonderful author," says OCTC Producing Artistic Director Mary G. Guaraldi. "We have enjoyed sharing his works Sylvia and The Dining Room with the community and are especially excited to bring Love Letters to Sedona with some truly remarkable performers."

Betsy Palmer, who was featured in week one of the production with Jon Cypher (Hill Street Blues, Major Dad), returns for the week of February 14 — 18 with Sedona favorite Dick Levy, whose recent credits include Sedona Arts Center’s Community Theatre production of Chicken Man and Shakespeare Sedona’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Palmer has an extensive career on stage and in film and television. Her Broadway roles include turns in South Pacific, Cactus Flower and An Affair of Honor. She was in the national tour of Love Letters and of Gigi, and has shared the screen with luminaries such as Tyrone Power, Maureen O’Hara, Henry Fonda and Anthony Perkins.

Tricia Greer and Tim McCavitt close OCTC’s Love Letters during the week of February 21 — 25.

Greer has over 25 years of acting experience, and was most recently seen as Amanda in OCTC’s production of The Glass Menagerie. She has performed in Sedona productions by Actors Repertory Theatre of Sedona, Southwest Theatre, Sedona Arts Center and Swiftwind. McCavitt has worked as an actor in New York and Los Angeles for more than 20 years. Recent theatrical credits include Doc in Crimes of the Heart at Phoenix Theatre and Feydor in A Random Scaring of Sparrows at First Stage in Los Angeles.

"We’ve been fortunate to have had so many amazing actors available to perform in our production," says OCTC Producing Artistic Director Mary Guaraldi. "Each of them brings their own life experiences to the characters, and it’s incredible to see how nuances in dialogue and action can highlight different aspects of the play."

"Love Letters is always a different experience," says Palmer, who has performed in the play several times, including under the direction of the author himself. The character of Melissa, she notes, is always trying to roil up the water and get Andrew going, but like his name, Makepeace, he is at heart a peacemaker.

The complex relationship, with its roots in childhood, metamorphoses over the years in a way that rings poignantly true to life. Each time the OCTC production changes actors, the show changes aspect, revealing new facets of the rich story.

Love Letters plays at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays — Saturdays, with 2:00 p.m. matinees on Sundays. General admission is $15, with a $12 price available to members of SAC and a $9 price for full-time students. Group rates are available, call for details.

Tickets can be purchased locally by phone at 520.282.3809 or toll-free at 888.954.4442. Tickets are also available at OCTC outlets: Rycus’ Corners, Bashas’, Sedona Arts Center Gallery and Gift Shop and the Sedona Chamber of Commerce.

All Wednesday night performances are $10, based on seating availability.

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