Popular character actor, TV pitch man for Quaker Oats and Liberty Medical, former Marine, ranch hand, wrangler, blacksmith and born-in-SLC Utahn Wilford Brimley will share the stage with award-winning American film and stage actress Katharine Ross in a two-night performance of “Love Letters” at the St. George Electric Theater.
On Friday, February 10 and Saturday, February 11- in their second performance together of A. R. Gurney’s two-character play – Brimley and Ross will share the relationship from childhood to death of these two lifelong friends, as chronicled in the letters they write to each other. In “Love Letters” the characters Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner, both born to wealth and position, discuss throughout their separated lives spanning nearly 50 years, their hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, victories and defeats.
Andy and Melissa begin their lifelong correspondence with birthday party thank-you notes and postcards from their respective summer camps and continue to exchange letters through their boarding school and college years—where Andy goes on to excel at Yale and law school, while Melissa flunks out. Andy and Melissa remain strongly connected even when Andy fights in WWII and elissa marries. They stay in touch after he marries, becomes a successful attorney, gets involved in politics and, eventually, is elected to the U.S. Senate. Meanwhile, her marriage in tatters, Melissa develops bad habits and becomes estranged from her children. The two friends have a brief affair, but quickly realize it is too late for both of them. Andy’s last letter, written to her mother after Melissa’s untimely death, makes it movingly clear how much they really meant, and gave to, each other over the years. The two friends may have been physically apart, but were spiritually connected as only true lovers can be.
Brimley, whose lengthy career includes parts in many films, including The China Syndrome, Cocoon, The Electric Horseman, High Road to China, The Firm and The Natural, will play the part of the stuffy Andy. Ross, who played “Elaine Robinson” in The Graduate (for which she won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated as Best Supporting Actress for an Academy Award); and, who also played “Etta Place” in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (for which she won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress), is the free-spirited Melissa.
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