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Stockton Civic presents two performances of ‘Love letters’

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POSTED February 4, 2012 12:07 a.m.

STOCKTON — Stockton Civic Theatre will present two performances only of A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters,” on Sunday, Feb. 12, and Sunday, Feb. 19, both at 2:30 p.m.

This special presentation, directed by Dominee Muller-Kimball, is a fundraiser for the theatre and has been carefully scheduled between the season’s productions of “Dearly Beloved” and “I Do! I Do.”

The Pulitzer Prize-nominated “Love Letters” is a charming play detailing a 50-year relationship between two individuals as told in the correspondence they have with each other throughout their lives.

First produced at Connecticut’s Long Wharf Theatre in 1988, it has over the years starred such luminaries as John Rubenstein, Stockard Channing, Kathleen Turner, Christopher Walken, Swoosie Kurtz, Richard Thomas, Elaine Stritch, Cliff Robertson, Colden Dewhurst, Jason Robards, and many others.

The story centers on Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and his friend, Melissa Gardner, played by Al Muller and Bobbie Wallinger on Feb. 12, and Kevin and Elizabeth Costello on Feb. 19.  Though both come from the same upper middle class background, they are exact opposites in personality.  Andrew is a staid, no-nonsense, play-by-the-rules kind of guy, even at the early age of seven, while Melissa is impulsive, impetuous and lively. Through their letters to each other, beginning with simple birthday thank-you notes and summer camp postcards and progressing to their adult lives, we learn more and more about the subtle differences in their upbringings, their different outlooks on life, and their differing personalities.

Yet despite their differences, the two are drawn to each other, keeping up a correspondence that lasts over 50 years. Andrew graduates from Yale, marries, and becomes a lawyer and Senator.  Melissa is an artist who also marries and divorces, has a drinking problem, is estranged from her family, and seems always in search of herself.  Over the years, their letters to each other become a source of consternation, inspiration, comfort, and love.  These two opposites seem to complete each other.

“Love Letters” features a $20 per seat fundraiser price for all performances.  The theatre is located at 2312 Rose Marie Lane, Stockton.  For tickets call the SCT Box Office Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at (209) 473-2424, or go online at sctlivetheatre.com.

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