Month: November 2017

Preview: Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays 2017_header

By Monica Jarrell, Guest Blogger

Come celebrate the wonder, warmth and magic of the season.  Home for the Holidays is an unforgettable experience that is bound to leave you and your family in the Christmas spirit.

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Home for the Holidays 2014

Home for the Holidays has become a tradition at the Lone Tree Arts Center.  It is a celebration of holiday songs, music, dancing, and tons of energy that will thrill the whole family! Mrs. Claus and Santa are the hosts of the show.  Santa will be played by local actor Colin Alexander, who was last seen in LTAC’s The Explorers Club.  Mrs. Claus will be played by Margie Lamb (Town Hall Arts Center, Next to Normal).  The emcee of the show is Rob Costigan, who was last seen at LTAC in EVITA. Trent Hines, recently seen in DCPA’s The Wild Party is the music director and Piper Lindsay Arpan (LTAC, Reunion ’85) is pulling triple duty as assistant director, dance captain, and assistant choreographer.

This year the show is completely new with singers, dancers, and musicians both local and from out of town – and maybe even a few surprise guests! This year’s performances also includes a kids choir. So, invite all your friends and family to come join in the celebration. It is sure to get you in the holiday spirit!

Lone Tree Arts Center

10075 Commons St, Lone Tree, CO 80124

The show is starting Thursday, December 7 running through Sunday December 16.  Get your tickets here for this popular event.

Review: Love Letters

Candy Brown and Mark Rubald 6

Photo by Danny Lam

By Keilani Fleming, Guest Blogger

Lone Tree Arts Center presents Love Letters, an intimate two person play in an equally intimate setting. A.R. Gurney’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play, normally staged with nothing more than two actors and a pile of letters seated next to each other, has been expanded to a fully staged set, including props and space for the characters to dance, sometimes literally, around each other.

Love Letters follows the relationship highs, lows, and in-betweens of Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, from precocious 2nd grade ramblings of children to the heart-breaking, one sided letter to a love lost. Whereas this play clocks in around an hour and a half, it spans an entire 50 year lifetime.

Mark Rubald plays the proper and upstanding Andy Ladd easily and with a likable charm, even when he’s sometimes doing unlikable things. It’s hard to capture the frantic and sometimes confused energy of a child when you are, in fact, a full grown adult, but Rubald is able to convince the audience he is that ball of energy. Rubald’s transitions are smooth throughout Andy’s life, as each life stage clicks, almost audibly, into place with his energy visibly calming as age and maturity set in.

Candy Brown’s performance of Melissa Gardner is a bit more complicated. The character never really grows up even as time passes around her. Many of her letters, mannerisms, and actions could as easily be plucked from a pre-teen as they could be attributed to the adult Brown is sometimes portraying. That lack of growth is built into Brown’s character through Gurney’s writing, as the trauma of her upbringing stagnates maturity but because of Melissa’s inherited wealth, she isn’t burdened with the necessity of growing up at the same pace as the average person.

Rubald’s performance seems more rehearsed, with him looking less at the letters and more towards the audience whereas Brown’s performance references the “love letters” far more often, feeling more like the original adaption of Gurney’s play. Though Brown’s delivery is a bit less polished than Rubald, it is in her moments of silence when she really shines. The subtlety in her facial expressions as she receives the letters is where your attention should be, which makes this staging particularly difficult. The characters are often on opposite sides of the stage so the audience can’t watch both Andy as he reads his letter and Melissa as she reacts to it.

Seated a few rows back and as close to the center as possible will give the best viewing of the performance as the staging has the actors almost exclusively facing forward even though a third of the seats in the auditorium are perpendicular to the set. Due to the size of the auditorium, however, there is no “bad” seat, and even if there was, the writing of A.R. Gurney is truly the star of the show.

Love Letters, directed by Bruce K. Sevy and starring Candy Brown and Mark Rubald, plays the Lone Tree Arts Center from Thursday, November 9, 2017 through Sunday, November 19, 2017.

Review: Love Letters

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Photo by Danny Lam

By Michelle Marx, Guest Blogger

The November 9th opening night performance for Love Letters at the Lone Tree Arts Center was a refreshing throwback to good old-fashioned letter writing in an age of emojis and texts.

The telling of the beautiful life-long friendship between Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner begins at age seven with a birthday party invitation. Their heartfelt and occasionally tumultuous relationship spans fifty years from the sweetness of puppy love to uncertainty during college to the tenderness and wisdom gained in later adulthood. Love Letters succeeds in placing the relationship at the center of the story and reminds us that our relationships are central to our lives as well.

Although Andrew and Melissa both come from privileged backgrounds, Melissa is the more tragic of the two coming from an unstable home with divorce and stepfamilies. Their childhoods greatly influence their definition and expectations of love. Candy Brown is captivating as independent and vivacious Melissa. She is a quick wit and flashes a beautiful smile. Although Andrew is less dramatic, Mark Rubald captures Andrew’s vulnerability and conveys warmth and a romantic side in his yearnings for Melissa.

Held in the LTAC’s 150 person theater, the setting complements the production and reflects the intimacy of the storyline. It is the relationships in our lives that make the journey valuable and worthwhile.

Not limited to just formal letters, the story is propelled forward with a variety of correspondence including invitations, RSVPs, Christmas cards, and brief notes. This variety helps the pacing and allows personalities to emerge with teasing and sarcasm.

Both friends endure rough patches in life and correspondence stagnates and it is heartbreaking when there is no response. But soon enough there is the realization that the connection is more important than the fear and shame of sharing one’s failures. Love Letters is a tender reminder that for a friendship to withstand fifty years, both parties need to offer patience and understanding, to reach out and participate, to be vulnerable and respect the vulnerability of others.

Love Letters continues through November 19.

Preview: Love Letters

LT-Love Letters-Approved

By Keilani Fleming, Guest Blogger

“This is just me, me the way I write, the way my writing is, the way I want to be to you, giving myself to you across a distance, not keeping or retaining any part of it for myself, giving this piece of myself to you totally, and you can tear me up and throw me out, or keep me, and read me today, tomorrow, any time you want until you die.”
― Andrew Makepeace Ladd III,  Love Letters by A.R. Gurney

In the age of texts and Twitter, Love Letters brings back the dying art of letter writing at Lone Tree Arts Center this November. A.R. Gurney’s play, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, premiered in 1988 with a surprise debut performance at the New York Public Library and since has traveled the world, from Broadway and Carnegie Hall, and even to television.

Gurney originally wrote and initially performed Love Letters with only two actors of similar age, seated side by side for the entirety of the play, who read a series of letters at the audience but for each other. LTAC’s production of the show however, will include a set, costumes, and props, making it a fully staged production.

Live a lifetime in the course of two hours while following the journey of Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner, both born to wealth and position in the 1930’s, over the span of their fifty year relationship. Although Andrew and Melissa are physically apart, they grow to be emotionally one, as they intimately interact with little more than the written word. Childhood rapport develops into a deep friendship, love, and eventually heartbreak as missed opportunities, regret, and longing intersperse life.

Love Letters, directed by Bruce K Sevy and starring Candy Brown and Mark Rubald, will play at the Lone Tree Arts Center beginning Thursday, November 9, 2017 through Sunday, November 19, 2017.

Tickets and more information are available here: http://www.lonetreeartscenter.org/loveletters

Preview: Love Letters

LT-Love Letters-Approved

By Michelle Marx, Guest Blogger

Premiering in 1988, Love Letters follows the fifty-year relationship between Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner. Beginning in their childhood with postcards from summer camp, their lives are chronicled through their letters. These letters are forthright and vulnerable exposing their hopes and fears, successes and failures.

Written by playwright A.R. Gurney and named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the play centers on the relationship and therefore is performed with only two actors. Love Letters has had some impressive Hollywood star pairings over the years. The high profile pairings include Elizabeth Taylor and James Earl Jones, Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks, and Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal.

LTAC Love Letters Set. Design by Lisa Orzolek.

Love Letters was adapted by Gurney for the small screen back in 1999. Traditionally held with sparse staging, LTAC’s production will mimic the staging developed by Gurney for the TV movie.

Smart and funny, Love Letters will delight with its simple means of storytelling about the complexities of life and love.

Love Letters, directed by Bruce K. Sevy and starring Candy Brown and Mark Rubald, will play at the Lone Tree Arts Center beginning Thursday, November 9 through Sunday, November 19.

Tickets and more information are available here:  http://www.lonetreeartscenter.org/loveletters