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East Lynne Theater Company presents "Love Letters" with a Rotating Cast of Couples with a Connection

originally published: 08/29/2023

East Lynne Theater Company presents "Love Letters" with a Rotating Cast of Couples with a Connection

Real life couple Mat Labotka and Veronique Hurley

(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- Before East Lynne Theater Company (ELTC) revs up its fall lineup, the curtain prepares to close on its summer 2023 Mainstage Season with a six-week run of A. R. Gurney’s “Love Letters”– but with a twist. From September 6 to October 14, the play will be performed by a real-life couple with a connection each of the six weeks: three married couples, an engaged duo, and two pairs who share a romantic past. 

“Love Letters” is Gurney’s funny and poignant portrait of love and friendship between Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, childhood friends who share a lifetime of correspondence that starts with birthday party thank-you notes and ends with a heartfelt goodbye.

Much like other plays by Gurney, such as “Sylvia” and “The Dining Room,” “Love Letters” revolves around themes like suppressed desire, family dynamics and WASPs.

The idea to use different couples who have some kind of romantic connection, whether past or present, was conceived by Craig Fols, East Lynne’s new artistic director. 

“East Lynne has had two fabulous acting couples for years: Veronique Hurley and Mat Labotka, and Alison J. Murphy and Mark Edward Lang. I wanted to do something special for them, and then thought of asking actors I know from New York, too,” said Fols, who also directs the production. “It was just this fun idea that I never thought would work out, but somehow all of the stars aligned and we have the most incredible and talented rotating cast.”

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The casts are as follows:

September 6-9 - Veronique Hurley and Mat LabotkaBoth performed in “Who Am I This Time?” and “The Rainmaker” at East Lynne, among others.

September 13-16 - Veanne Cox and Ezra Barnes. Cox appeared in the original Broadway productions of “Caroline, or Change” and “An American in Paris,” as well as TV’s “Seinfeld” and “Sex and the City.” Barnes, known for off-Broadway’s “Breakfast with Mugabe,” opened East Lynne’s 2023 season in “A Tale of Two Cities, Cobbled Together by the Brothers Lovejoy.” 

September 20-23 - Nance Williamson and Kurt Rhoads. Dubbed the “King and Queen of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, “Love Letters” will be their 73rd play together.

September 27-30 - Marlena Lustik and Roy Steinberg. The husband-and-wife team behind the neighboring playhouse Cape May Stage.

October 4-7 - Alison J. Murphy and Mark Edward Lang. Dubbed “The Lunt and Fontanne of Cape May,” this couple met at East Lynne. “The Guardsman and the Actress” was their most recent ELTC show, adapted by Lang.

October 11-14 - Arija Bareikis and Craig FolsBareikis was in the original cast of “Last Night of Ballyhoo” on Broadway, and played the female lead in the movie “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.” 

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“Love Letters” runs 8:00pm Wednesdays to Saturdays, September 6 through October 14. Tickets are $35 for general admission, $30 for seniors, $20 for students and military. Audiences are encouraged to view the show multiple times to experience what each couple brings to their characters with the “Love Fest” promotion, where return patrons pay just $10 cash at the door.

“Come once or come every week as it’s guaranteed to be a fresh, new show each time,” said Fols.

Look for spooky stories to come to life when ELTC presents “Tales of Horror & Suspense” on October 27- 28, and prepare for “The Death of Sherlock Holmes?”, a radio-style performance on November 3, 4, 10 and 11. ELTC is in residence at Cape May Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St., Cape May.

East Lynne Theater Company is an Equity professional theater located in Cape May, New Jersey. Named after a popular melodrama of the 19th Century, East Lynne was founded in 1980 to resurrect plays from America’s theatrical past. Over the years, our mission has expanded to include contemporary work on American themes.




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