by A.R. Gurney
January 27 - March 4, 2012
Review: In Love Letters, writing gets to the heart of things
In the era of Twitter and Facebook, there’s something inescapably nostalgic about A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters,” a bittersweet lifelong romance seen entirely through the stack of handwritten correspondence it has left behind.
And one of the cleverest things about this clever 1988 play — being given a sterling performance by Valerie Leonard and Nigel Reed at Annapolis’ Bay Theatre Company — is the way the nostalgia dovetails with the central preoccupation of Gurney’s works: the foibles and decline of Northeastern white Anglo-Saxon Protestants.
Gerald Fischman, Staff Writer, The Capital
February 15, 2012 [Read more]
Review: Actors Nigel Reed and Valerie Leonard on love and marriage
Love comes naturally to the actors in Love Letters
For the busy theatrical couple Nigel Reed and Valerie Leonard, Valentine’s Day is more than a once a year affair. It’s nearly the definition of their marriage. Be it comedy or drama, hearing that either is in a show is reason enough to check it out. She was fantastically funny in Fox on the Fairway and stunning in King of the Jews and he has gifted us with outstanding performances ranging from the quartet comedy of Travels with My Aunt, and the solo show Barrymore, both at Rep Stage to a muscular performance as the heavy in Mauritius, and the just closed comedy Becky’s New Car at Bay Theatre. The two seem to have made a home at the Annapolis venue. We noticed them running tech there for Matthew Vaky in Chesapeake, and now they are making a rare appearance together in A. R. Gurney’s Love Letters, which is where we began our conversation...
Lorraine Treanor, February 9, 2012, DCTheatreScene.com [Read more]
Review: Love Letters
“Because paper has more patience than people.”
So wrote Anne Frank, and so declares Love Letters, the half-a-century-spanning story of two people falling in and out of love though paper, pen, and the twists and turns that make our lives worth writing down. Written in 1988 by A.R. Gurney, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Love Letters chronicles the lives of Andrew Makepeace Lad III (Nigel Reed) and Melissa Gardner (Valerie Leonard), two well-to-do friends raised in the same circle but catapulted into different stratospheres. As their lives bring them through puberty, boarding school, adventures abroad and tumultuous careers, Andrew and Mellissa remain connected (if not grounded) through their steady habit of letter writing.
In fact, the play is told solely through the recitation of these letters, the two characters sitting side by side, reading from their pasts. Ken Sheat’s set is elegant and timeless, managing to suit tales of a troubled 1950’s home life and the spoils of a politician from the 1980’s. Andrew F. Griffin’s inviting light design and Christina McAlpine’s costumes bring the audience into the hearts and minds of the characters with ease..
Sarah Ameigh, February 1, 2012, DCTheatreScene.com [Read more]
Review: Bay's 'Love Letters' is a touching Valentine's Day performance
Two actors bring new life to modern-day theater standard
For this Valentine's season, the folks at Bay Theatre are offering A. R. Gurney's 1989 off-beat near-classic, "Love Letters." This two-person play is ideally suited to Bay's intimate space, as well as its intention of extending the Valentine season through March 4.
Contemporary playwright Gurney describes his work as, "a sort of play which needs no theater, no lengthy rehearsal, no special set, no memorization of lines and no commitment from its two actors beyond the night of performance."
Real-life husband and wife Nigel Reed and Valerie Leonard appear in this season's third production. Reed, winner of a Helen Hayes Award, is an established Bay favorite, most recently seen as Steve in "Becky's New Car" and as Dr. Framingham in last season's "Beyond Therapy." Now, as Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, Reed offers what may be his most compelling Bay performance to date.
Mary Johnson, Special to The Baltimore Sun, February 2, 2012 [Read more]
Review: Show and tell: How to write a love letter
“Love Letters,” opening Friday in Annapolis, stars real-life married couple and D.C. theater veterans Valerie Leonard and Nigel Reed. The play follows the story of childhood-friends-turned-adult-lovers who spend much of their lives communicating through the mail. Though Leonard and Reed have yet to exchange love letters in real life, they’re game to share whatever expertise they’ve gleaned from working on “Love Letters” with us.
Says Reed: “You write about the other person. You don’t write about yourself. It’s not enough to say ‘I love you.’ You have to say what is wonderful and beautiful about that person that makes you love them.”
Jessica Goldstein, January 20, 2012,
[Also, read article and view video from The Washington Post.]
Review: Love Letters at The Bay Theatre Company, Inc. - 5 stars
A sentimental slip into time gone by with romantic notions, heart-breaking sorrow, and a great bond between two friends is the charming tale you will find in The Bay Theatre Company’s production of Love Letters. Two actors: one male, one female, hundreds of letters that cover the intimate details of their lives, their friendships, their struggles, their relationship, capturing 50 years of two people through simple words on paper. Director Alan Wade brings a stunning production of this burgeoning classic to the stage with breath-taking moments of joy, heart-stopping moments of sorrow, and gut-bursting moments of laughter. Wade transforms what could be a rather dull reading of letters between two characters and creates a masterpiece of intimacy and develops a world of moments that passed and moments that could have been all through the words of these two characters’ written correspondence..
By Amanda Gunther, MDTheatreGuide.com, January 30, 2012 [Read more]
Becky's New Car
by Steven Dietz
December 2, 2011 - January 8, 2012
Review: "Becky’s New Car" at Bay Theatre Company
How often have you seen an actor break the fourth wall to give an audience member a can of soda or hand a theatergoer a box of papers and ask that person to collate them? Not often, one wagers.
That’s the chummy atmosphere of “Becky’s New Car” by Steven Dietz. It is a bit of theatrical fluff that keeps pinching its own adorable apple cheeks and telling itself how cute it is. Yet as mounted in a droll production by Bay Theatre Company in Annapolis, where it runs through Jan. 8, the play turns out to be a lot of fun, as long as you don’t go all “theatrical purist” on it.
Jane Horwitz, The Washington Post- December 12, 2011 [Read more]
Review: Bay Theatre takes amusing ride in "Becky's New Car"
Having gotten one audience member to hold a roll of toilet paper and another to position a bucket under a damp spot in the ceiling, frazzled career woman / housewife Becky Foster (Janet Luby) proffers a nugget of wisdom from her late friend Rita:
"When a woman says she needs new shoes, what she really wants is a new job. When she says she needs a new house, she wants a new husband. And when she says she wants a new car, she wants a new life."
Given that the Bay Theatre Company's latest production is called "Becky's New Car," that ought to give audience members a general idea about where Steven Dietz's comedy is heading. But it's still a funny, briskly paced ride, featuring spot-on performances.
Gerald Fischman, The Capital - December 8, 2011 [Read more]
Another 5-star review for "Becky's New Car"!
Bay Theatre is serving up laughs along with life lessons this holiday season in its offering of the East Coast premiere of Steven Dietz's "Becky's New Car," a play that first appeared in October 2008 after Dietz was commissioned by a Seattle businessman to create a play as a birthday present for his wife. Now this contemporary escapist fare becomes Bay's holiday gift for us to share as we enter Becky's humdrum life, soon to hum with excitement.
By Mary Johnson, Special to The Baltimore Sun - December 7, 2011 [Read more]
If you need a change of pace to shake off the humdrum doldrums of your life then Becky’s New Car at the Bay Theatre Company in Annapolis is the way to go. This hilarious tale is buzzing with energy, complex situations, and good feelings that send wave after wave of laughter crashing out over the audience. The story presents us with Becky, a middle-aged housewife who has lost the proverbial wind in her sales. Her mid-twenties college son still lives at home, her romantic life is average, work is a bore. She’s not unhappy she just wants something more. Enter Walter, an eccentric rich widower who inadvertently catches Becky’s eye late one night at the dealership where she works. The story would stop there if Becky hadn’t accidentally let on that her very alive husband was actually dead. And it all rolls downhill in a tumble of laughs and comic moments from there. It provides a brilliant display of genius on stage with great audience participation and interaction; a feel good funny story for the holiday season.
by Amanda Gunther - December 3, 2011
by Margaret Edson
September 30, 2011 – November 6, 2011
Nurse "Susie", Mundy Spears, talks with "Vivian", Rena Cherry Brown
A 5 star rave for 'Wit' on MD Theatre Guide
"The Bay Theater Company and Director, Richard Pilcher, do a fantastic job with this production. The acting, design, and direction are flawless... Spears knows how to draw compassion from the audience. As Susie, she humanizes the soulless healthcare system, and she sees Vivian as more than a specimen for research....Rena Cherry Brown is phenomenal as Vivian Bearing...Wit is a brilliant play, and this production is a ‘Must-See.” The acting is phenomenal. Audiences will learn about healthcare, poetry, death, and will laugh and cry." Mariya Danilenko
by Will Bartlett
June 4 to August 14, 2011 and December 27-29, 2011
A musical adaptation of the children’s fairytale Rumpelstiltskin!
"Rumple Who is a... pure, heartwarming delight, and I caught myself snorting from laughter more than once. Be sure to bring the kids – they’ll love it." Teal Ruland, Maryland Theatre Guide..