Orpheum's LOVE LETTERS to Benefit Church Health Center This June
Love Letters, A.R. Gurney's disarmingly funny, emotional portrait of the rebellious Melissa Gardner and straight-as-an-arrow Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, is coming to the stage of the Orpheum's Halloran Centre for two nights on June 23 and June 24.
The play chronicles the relationship of Melissa and Andrew through letters and notes that span 50 years - from their childhood meeting, summer vacations, college, and well into adulthood. The pair spends their lifetimes sharing their hopes, dreams, ambitions, disappointments, as well as their victories and defeats.
Mary Morris was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where as a teenager she performed with the likes of Gilda Radner who went on to stardom on Saturday Night Live, the acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, and Academy Award nominee Tom Hulce (Amadeus). While living in New York, Ms. Morris was cast in As the World Turns. She was also part of the creative team that developed the Alka Selzer slogan "I can't believe I ate the whole thing!" As a model, she appeared in numerous commercials for national brands including Johnson & Johnson and KFC.
When she arrived in Memphis, Ms. Morris became a cast member at Playhouse on the Square and Theatre Memphis, where she focused on children's plays including The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It is widely felt that her experience with children's plays has prepared her well to perform opposite Mr. Halloran.
Mary is also a noted soprano and enjoys performing whenever the opportunity arises. She is married to Dr. Scott Morris, founder and CEO of Church Health.
Pat Halloran, a native Nebraskan, has had a much more limited onstage career. In fact, his only role was that of Otis Skinner in a high school production of Our Hearts Were Young and Gay. The small Catholic high school in Omaha closed immediately after Halloran's graduation. Nobody can remember back that far, so let's say the reviews were mixed.
Halloran produced his own rendition of Love Letters for the Orpheum Broadway series in 1993. The cast included noted actor Stacy Keach and Michael Learned, beloved for her role as Olivia on The Waltons.
When Halloran asserted himself into the male role in Love Letters, many were concerned that this production might turn out to look more like Beauty and the Beast. However, Director Randall Hartzog assures the audience that this will not be the case.
After 35 years at the helm of the Orpheum Theatre, Halloran retired on June 30, 2016. Two days later, he accepted his longtime friend Dr. Scott Morris' invitation to serve as a consultant at Church Health as it prepared to move to Crosstown Concourse.
The proceeds from the two-performance production of Love Letters will go towards Church Health's Creative Movement Studio at Crosstown in honor of Mary Morris, whose commitment to the organization's mission of providing quality healthcare to working uninsured people has spanned three decades.
Tickets will go on sale on Monday, May 15 through the Orpheum box office (901-525-3000) and Ticketmaster or online at orpheum-memphis.com.