`Letters' shows off area talent

September 15, 2000|By J. Wynn Rousuck

A.R. Gurney may have written his 1989 epistolary play, "Love Letters," for a cast of two, but 64 local actors will be performing it at the Audrey Herman Spotlighters Theatre, beginning today.

The actors, however, will be appearing in pairs, one couple per performance, through Nov. 5.

"It's a great cross section of Baltimore theater history," said Steve Yeager, who is directing the play, in which a pair of seated actors read a correspondence spanning several decades.

The lineup includes several real-life married couples, among them: WJZ anchor Denise Koch and Jackson Phippin, director of the acting program at Catholic University of America; jazz singer Ethel Ennis and writer Earl Arnett; and Donald Hicken, head of the drama department at the Baltimore School for the Arts, and actress Tana Hicken.

Yeager, a 1998 Sundance Filmmakers Trophy winner for his documentary "Divine Trash," began his directing career at the Spotlighters more than three decades ago and wanted to honor the theater's founder, the late Audrey Herman, who gave so many local theater folk their start.

"The primary reason I'm doing this is because of Audrey," said Yeager. "I really tried to get a cross section of people."

The opening-night audience will see Beverly Sokal, president of Fell's Point Corner Theatre, and John Bruce Johnson, former president of the Vagabond Players.

As leaders in Baltimore's community theater scene, they are an appropriate pair to launch the production, which is a memorial to Herman, who died in December. Ticket proceeds will benefit the newly established Audrey Herman Theatre Scholarship Endowment at Towson University.

Show times at the Spotlighters, 817 St. Paul St., are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $15. For more information, call 410-752-1225.

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