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LOVE LETTERS Returns To CVPA Ballroom For Valentine's Day Weekend

"Love Letters" shares the funny, passionate, and heartwarming tale about the overlapping lives and love of a couple over a number of years.

LOVE LETTERS Returns To CVPA Ballroom For Valentine's Day Weekend

"Love Letters," the timeless play by A.R. Gurney, will be presented for two dinner performances Saturday Feb. 12 in the ballroom at The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road in Munster, Ind. Directed by William Pullinsi, "Love Letters" will star Philip Potempa, noted newspaper columnist for Chicago Tribune Media Co. opposite actress and comedienne Jeannie Rapstad.

"Love Letters" shares the funny, passionate, and heartwarming tale about the overlapping lives and love of rebellious Melissa Gardner and buttoned-up Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, spanning their exchanged notes, cards and letters during 50 years as they are recounted as a reading with the interplay of the two featured stars. The story timeline starts with second grade and details summer vacations, college life and marriages, including children, happiness and heartache starting in youth during the 1930s to the adult married life of the late 1970s.

"Love Letters" has earned an iconic ovations status with a masterful and moving simple production premise: a paired actor and actress comfortably seated on stage, with scripts as clear focal points, as they deliver the riveting story of a complicated couple's lifetime relationship.

The play opened off-Broadway in March 1989, starring Kathleen Turner and John Rubinstein. When the show transferred to Broadway in October of that year, it was with Lynn Redgrave, John Clark and others teamed in the starring roles. Touring productions have included Robert Wagner and his actress wife Jill St. John, Charlton Heston and wife Lydia Clarke, Robert Foxworth and wife Elizabeth Montgomery, Marty Ingels and wife Shirley Jones, and most recently, Barbara Eden opposite Hal Linden.

Throughout three decades, the play's signature marquee draw has remained the same: changing the two-person cast for notable names to appear throughout the run. The last Broadway revival of A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters" was in 2014 featuring paired star names like Brian Dennehy opposite Mia Farrow, and later, Carol Burnett, as well as Alan Alda with Candice Bergen, and Anjelica Huston with Martin Sheen. In October 2015, Ryan O'Neal joined Ali MacGraw for a national tour which launched in Los Angeles.

The two dinner theater performances of "Love Letters" presented Feb. 12, 2022 in the ballroom at The Center for Visual and Performing Arts herald director William Pullinsi's 1959 nod to creating the new audience and acting concept termed as "dinner theatre," with both meals and performances all hosted in the same room. It was 60 years ago in 1961 when Pullinsi, credited as "the Godfather of Dinner Theatre," opened Candlelight Playhouse in Summit, Ill. drawing Chicagoland audiences hungry to embrace the opportunity to dine while dazzled with sold-out performance runs such as "Man of La Mancha," "Follies" and "Phantom," among other popular titles, for 38 years until it ceased operations in 1997.

The Feb. 12 "Love Letters" performances in the Ballroom of The Center for Visual and Performing Arts begin with doors open for the matinee at 11:30 p.m., dinner served at noon and show at 1 p.m., and then doors opening again at 5:30 p.m. for the evening seating, dinner at 6 p.m. and show at 7 p.m. The play runs just under two hours, which includes a 20-minute intermission. The dinner menu is Tomato Bisque, followed by Chicken Marsala in a Mushroom and Wine Sauce served with Mashed Red Bliss Potatoes and Capri Blend of Vegetables and Assorted Dinner Rolls with Butter and Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake with Raspberry Drizzle for dessert. Tickets are $40, which does not include tax and gratuity. To purchase tickets, call 219-836-1930, Ext. 2 or visit www.CVPA.org.

Founded in 1989, The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Ind. is also home to Theatre at the Center, the South Shore Arts Gift Shop and Art Galleries, the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra and Trama Catering and Events. In addition to plenty of free parking, The Center for Visual and Performing Arts is located off I90/94, just 35 minutes from downtown Chicago.



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