Brooks Atkinson Theatre, (9/18/2014 - 12/14/2014)

First Preview: Sep 13, 2014
Opening Date: Sep 18, 2014
Closing Date: Dec 14, 2014
Total Previews: 6
Total Performances: 95

Category: Play, Revival, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Nederlander Organization (James M. Nederlander: Chairman; James L. Nederlander: President)

Produced by Nelle Nugent, Barbara Broccoli, Frederick Zollo, Olympus Theatricals, Michael G. Wilson, Lou Spisto, Colleen Camp, Postmark Entertainment Group, Judith Ann Abrams/Pat Flicker Addiss and Kenneth Teaton; Produced in association with Jon Bierman, Daniel Frishwasser, Elliott Masie, Mai Nguyen, Paige Patel and Scott Lane/Joseph Sirola; Associate Producer: Jonathan Demar and Jeffrey Solis

Written by A.R. Gurney

Directed by Gregory Mosher; Assistant Director: Kenneth Ferrone

Scenic Design by John Lee Beatty; Costume Design by Jane Greenwood; Lighting Design by Peter Kaczorowski; Sound Design by Scott Lehrer; Associate Sound Design: Walter Trarbach; Assistant Lighting Design: Keri Thibodeau

General Manager: Peter Bogyo; Company Manager: Elizabeth M. Talmadge

Technical Supervisor: Hudson Theatrical Associates; Production Stage Manager: Matthew Farrell; Stage Manager: Karen Armstrong

Casting: Telsey + Company, William Cantler, CSA and Andrew Femenella, CSA; Advertising: AKA; Marketing: AKA; Digital: AKA; General Press Representative: Polk & Co.; Photographer: Carol Rosegg

Opening Night Cast

Brian DennehyAndrew Makepiece Ladd III
(Sep 13, 2014 - Nov 08, 2014)
Mia FarrowMelissa Gardner
(Sep 13, 2014 - Oct 10, 2014)

Standby: Maureen Anderman (Melissa Gardner) and Steve Vinovich (Andrew Makepiece Ladd III)


AP: "Broadway's 'Love Letters' is thin missive"

What's the minimum requirement for putting on a play? Is it performers? Sets? Memorization? Surely, at a minimum, it's acting, right?

More than a quarter-century after "Love Letters" premiered, A.R. Gurney's charming ditty of a play has landed on Broadway with virtually none of the characteristics of what you might expect in a play.

While the script is clever, the thinness of the spectacle — which the author himself insisted upon — is sadly deflating, as if the audience is being asked to watch an early rehearsal instead of a polished jewel demanding $60 for even the worst seats.

Two actors — in this case, Brian Dennehy and Mia Farrow — come onstage in unremarkable clothes, sit down at a desk and begin reading aloud from binders for the next 90 minutes. They never stand and only glance at each other at the end. The most excitement you get is when an actor licks their finger to turn another page.

Good stuff for a benefit. Not so much for a big night out on Broadway.

You almost feel sorry for Dennehy and Farrow, who are both trapped in a twilight between full-on acting and reading. It's like putting a mighty Rolls-Royce engine into a Fiat 500.

The play is made up of letters, Christmas cards, birth announcements and notes between a woman and a man over decades, starting in 1937. We see their friendship and budding romance deepen, from birthday parties to high school dances and rare meetings. We hear them juggle depression, jobs, jealousies and marriages. The notes establish a rocky but important relationship — perhaps the most important relationship for each.

But Gurney has straightjacketed his work by insisting on "no mugging," no crying, no music, no looking at each other "until the end," no curtain, no costume changes, no memorization, "no embellishments." And he even wants the male actor to pull out his companion's chair before they can begin.

A stroke of promotional genius has put this on Broadway: A starry rotating cast will continue the work after Dennehy and Farrow have gone. The next slated celebs include Carol Burnett, Alan Alda, Candice Bergen, Stacy Keach, Diana Rigg, Anjelica Huston and Martin Sheen. How each will play — sorry, read — their parts should be fascinating.

Dennehy is great as a young earnest lover and is wonderful years later as a respected man torn in several directions emotionally. Farrow is inspired as a bored, girlish rich girl whose later years are marked by darkness and neediness.

Behind them is an impressive roster of theater's big names whose contributions will leave you scratching your head: Two-time Tony Award winner John Lee Beatty supplied a wooden desk. That's it. A desk. Tony winner Jane Greenwood has dressed Dennehy in a blue open-necked shirt and suit jacket, while Farrow got a long-sleeve jersey and pants. Street clothes and a desk?

It gets worse: Tony winner Peter Kaczorowski's lighting will remind you of the inside of a Wal-Mart. And Gregory Mosher's directing — especially with two acting thoroughbreds onstage — amounts to handing them binders and wandering off.

The understated can get a bad rap in the theater, but can work on Broadway wonderfully, proven this year by the musical "Violet." This old play would require months of work simply to be understated.

Forget the love letters. Someone deserves to start writing apology notes.


New York Daily News: "Love Letters"

Before her career was totally upstaged by personal traumas, Mia Farrow could be flighty and flinty, delicate and dynamic — and always real — in her acting.

Good news, she’s still got the magic. It’s in full view in the first-class Broadway revival of A.R. Gurney’s 1988 play, “Love Letters.” And Farrow’s matched note-for-note by Brian Dennehy.

The two-character play takes the audience on an emotional ride through the lives of free-spirited Melissa Gardner and the conservative, law-abiding Andrew Makepeace Ladd III. Wealthy and privileged WASPs, they’re lifelong friends and sometime lovers who share their most intimate thoughts through 50 years of notes, cards and letters.

The play “is designed to be read aloud by an actor and actress of roughly the same age, sitting side by side at a table,” the prolific Gurney writes in an author’s note. Director Gregory Mosher follows the instruction.

An hour-and-a-half of “he read/she read” on a bare stage, save for a ghost light, could be a static and blah affair. In lesser actors’ hands, the play could end up a pity party you don’t want to attend. With this duo, though, the play emerges as sweet, elegant and touching, as two lives come into vibrant focus. The evening also makes the case for the value of letter-writing.

Melissa, who’s sometimes catty, has money that buys her ski trips to Aspen and life in Florence. But happiness is elusive. Marriages go bust. Same with motherhood — and a grip on life. Through all her trials, she’s always honest with Andy, whom she accuses of being too obedient.

Andy is ambitious and occasionally callous, a man who knows what his life should look like. A Japanese woman he loves doesn’t fit into the picture on his way to becoming a family man and U.S. senator.

Stage vet Dennehy brings a steady sturdiness as Andy, narrowing his eyes and shifting in his seat to suggest regret and uncertainty under the calm surface. Melissa is the more colorful character. Farrow brings her to life with vivid facial expressions and vocal inflections.

One of her many fine moments comes when an adolescent Melissa anticipates a trip to meet her dad’s new wife and their kids. She dreams that it’ll be a happy new beginning for her. “I hope, I hope,” she says. But then the look on her face tells us the visit was a disaster. The actress makes us care about doomed Melissa.

It helps that Farrow and Dennehy, who share the stage through Oct. 10, look like the people Melissa and Andy would grow up to be. Waiting in the wings are Alan Alda, Candice Bergen, Carol Burnett, Anjelica Huston, Stacy Keach, Diana Rigg and Martin Sheen — fine actors ready for their own special delivery.

New York Daily News

Replacement/Transfer Info

The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.

Brooks Atkinson Theatre

(9/18/2014 - 12/14/2014)


Alan Alda
Andrew Makepiece Ladd III (Nov 9, 2014 - Dec 14, 2014)
Candice Bergen
Melissa Gardner (Nov 9, 2014 - Dec 14, 2014)
Carol Burnett
Melissa Gardner (Oct 11, 2014 - Nov 8, 2014)

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