January 9 2007


If you missed this Pulitzer Prize nominated play at the Paramount in December, you can catch it now at the Hamner. LOVE LETTERS by A.R. Gurney, one of the most poignant love stories of the twentieth century, opens January 18th at the Hamner Theater in Nellysford.

“The play is bittersweet, romantic comedy at its best,” says Boomie Pedersen, co-artistic director of the Hamner. Peter Coy, the other half of the artistic direction at the Nelson County theater, will direct the production.

When LOVE LETTERS ran on Broadway, many of the most notable actors in New York played in the starring roles of Melissa and Andrew: Christopher Reeve, Jane Curtin, Richard Thomas, Jason Robards, Kathleen Turner, Blythe Danner, William Hurt, and Lynn Redgrave to name a few.

“We’ve taken our cue from Broadway,” says Coy. “We’ve brought in eight of the best actors available in central Virginia. It’s a two character play, a man and a woman. We have four casts, each performing three times in two weeks. It’s going to be a great series of shows.”

LOVE LETTERS is exactly that, an exchange of letters from 1937 to 1989 between Melissa Gardner and Andrew Ladd. It’s the story of their lives and the special love they have for each other – sometimes tender, sometimes turbulent, but always deep and always full of humor.

The play is also a paean and an elegy to a time when courtesy and respect were values that counted. “Gurney most often writes about the passing of an era,” says Coy. “This play is no exception. He chronicles the loss of something wonderful but he doesn’t romanticize it. He sees the dark cracks in the veneer of the past. And he sees them with great humor.”

The casts for the show include Michael Volpendesta and Carol McAvoy, who is a member the singing group TigerLily; Chris Baumer and Boomie Pedersen, last seen at the Hamner in the title role of CARRIE ROSE; Jim Johnston and Chris Courtenay, who delighted theatergoers with their portrayal of the grandparents in THE HOMECOMING; and Doug Schneider and Dinah Pehrson, actors and singers who have electrified audiences in the Hamner Cabaret Series.

Tickets are $10. If you want to see more than one cast, you can buy a $20 pass that will allow you to see all four casts. For information call 434.361.1999 or visit our website, at www.thehamnertheater.com.