Linda Kelsey Heads Benefit Performance of LOVE LOSS AND WHAT I WORE

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Linda Kelsey, Saint Paul actress, five-time Emmy Award™ nominee and co-chair of Park Square Theatre's $4.2 million Next Stage Campaign, is raising money the old fashioned way – by putting on a show. To perform Love, Loss and What I Wore, Kelsey has assembled a cast of great women from the Twin Cities theatre scene to join her in the production: Sally Wingert (the Guthrie veteran last seen at Park Square in Spinning Into Butter), Mo Perry (featured in The Last Seder and Othello), Virginia Burke (who earned rave reviews for her turn in August: Osage County) and Aditi Kapil (one of Park Square's new Artistic Associates). Leah Cooper, who directed Park Square's searing season opener August: Osage County, will direct. The benefit performance will take place at Park Square one night only on Monday, February 13, 2012. Tickets are "pay what you think it's worth" and reservations will be available starting Friday, January 13.

"I've been reaching out to so many great theatre artists to help with this campaign," says Kelsey. "Now that we're in the final countdown to build the new stage, I realized it's finally time to put some of these great volunteers on stage to do what we're trained for – put on a show. This script is a funny, powerful, bittersweet, collection of stories that celebrate our relationships, our clothes, and each other as women."

In the opening monologue, Gingy says "These dresses tell a story." Do they ever! From a first Brownie uniform, to a first bra to a powder blue prom dress and that unfortunate Madonna-as-Desperately-Seeking-Susan outfit and, finally, to the outlandish hats worn during chemo, these clothes are the milestones of a woman's life. The show is an intimate collection of stories based on the best-selling book by Ilene Beckerman, along with acerbically-written additions by Nora Ephron and her friends. From Gingy's three marriages, multiple motherhood and the death of a child, to the story of a woman who gave up wearing miniskirts in college after being raped, to the decision by a cancer survivor to have a tattoo on her newly reconstructed breast, these stories get up close and personal. The poignant memories, however, are liberally leavened with humor about the tyranny of dressing-room lights and terror of handbags, as well as the great loves and friendships that make finding something to wear worth the effort.

The New York production, which opened in October 2009, continues to play with a rotating cast of stars. Cast alumnae include Rosie O'Donnell, Fran Drescher, Janeane Garofalo, Loretta Swit and Jane Lynch. A national tour and productions in Chicago and Los Angeles continue to earn great reviews and audiences.

"Gathering this group of actresses to be directed Leah Cooper is truly a 'once in a lifetime' evening of theater," affirms Kelsey, so we've decided to ask the audience to 'pay what you think it's worth.' Not only what you think it's worth to see us volunteer our time to entertain, but also what Park Square and its new stage is worth to our community. I also wouldn't be surprised if there are a few 'once in a lifetime' surprises to help boost the giving that night," she adds with a sly smile. "Stay tuned!"

Park Square Theatre seeks to enrich our community by producing and presenting exceptional live theatre that touches the heart, engages the mind, and delights the spirit. The 2011-2012 season brings 10 plays and more than 160 artists to the proscenium stage. Now in its 36th season, the theatre is in the final phase of its Next Stage Campaign-a comprehensive effort to transform Park Square and its ability to serve the community. The first physical change has already taken place – a $500,000 remodeling of its 350-seat proscenium auditorium. When the campaign has reached its goal, construction will begin on an additional playhouse–an intimate 200-seat thrust stage in the company's Historic Hamm Building home. The theatre has raised nearly $3.4 million (81%) of its campaign goal. Park Square is located in the Historic Hamm Building, 20 West 7th Place, Saint Paul. More information can be found at www.parksquaretheatre.org and the ticket office can be reached at 651.291.7005.



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