ALTON — Bankside Repertory Theatre returns to Jacoby Arts Center, 627 E. Broadway, with “Love Letters” by A.R. Gurney.
“Love Letters” is a thoughtful, funny and touching romance, set long before texts, tweets and emoticons. The two characters, Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, reading from their letters to each other, take the audience on a decades-long journey as each faces their own separate life challenges, only to return in writing to their one true friend.
“Love Letters” will be performed two weekends: Friday, Feb. 5, and Saturday, Feb. 6; and Friday, Feb. 12, and Saturday, Feb. 13.
All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for the Feb. 5, 12 and 13 shows. The Feb. 12 show will feature special Valentine desserts from State Street Market.
On Saturday, Feb. 6, JAC will host a special Mardi Gras celebration dinner and show, with beads and king cake. Dinner from locally renowned J. Edward Co. features all-you-can-eat jambalaya from Justin’s Jambalaya of Soulard, traditional or non-alcoholic hurricanes, coffee and iced tea. A vegetarian option is available upon request. Doors open for dinner at 5:30 p.m. with the show starting at 7:30 p.m.; tickets are $40. Reservations are required for the dinner-show.
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, “Love Letters” opened on Broadway in March 1989 with a host of name actors rotating in each week and has been performed by an impressive array of actors ever since. Bankside Repertory Theatre Company’s production will feature three actors over two weekends: Chrissy Calkins Steele and John J. O’Hagan will perform Feb. 5 and 6, and Trish Brown will perform with O’Hagan on Feb. 12 and 13. Caleb King is directing.
“It’s been wonderful having Jacoby so graciously open its door to the performing arts as well as the visual,” O’Hagan said. “The space is so intimate, making for a palpable connection between audience and performer which, for me, heightens the theatrical experience.”
O’Hagan is one of six members of Bankside Rep, an Equity theater group formed in 2015. Other members include theater professionals and educators King, Chrissy Steele, Sue Ellen Coughtry, Trish Brown and Geoff Callaway.
“I love working at Jacoby Arts Center,” Callaway said. “It reminds me of my early days as an actor in Chicago doing ‘storefront’ theater, which is so exciting because of the intimate relationship the actors have with the audience. And the fact that Jacoby really is/was a store that we can do plays in makes it a unique experience every time.”
Tickets can be purchased at the door or at www.jacobyartscenter.org/events. Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis and doors open 30 minutes in advance.