Bernadette Peters to Read Love Letters at September Benefit

News   Bernadette Peters to Read Love Letters at September Benefit Two-time Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters will perform the role of Melissa Gardner in an upcoming benefit of A.R. Gurney's Love Letters.
Tony winner Bernadette Peters.
Tony winner Bernadette Peters.

The Sept. 24 evening at New World Stages will benefit Opening Act, the non-profit organization that "provides free after-school theatre programming to New York City's most under-served public high schools." Michael Mastro will direct the 8 PM performance; Peters' co-star will be announced shortly.

Love Letters is the third annual benefit reading for Opening Act. Previous benefits have boasted the talents of Laura Benanti, Michael Badalucco, Michael Berresse, Andrew McCarthy, Alicia Minshew and Frank Wood.

Love Letters, according to production notes, "chronicles a relationship solely through written correspondence. The story is about Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner (Peters) whose poignantly funny friendship and ill-fated romance takes them from second grade through adolescence and then into maturity and middle age." The work premiered at Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre in 1989 with Joanna Gleason and John Rubenstein and has been performed all around the world. Laura Linney and Steven Weber starred in a television version of the play.

Bernadette Peters was last on Broadway in the acclaimed revival of Gypsy, for which she received a 2003 Tony Award nomination for her performance as Rose in the Sam Mendes-directed production. She won her two Tonys for her performances in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song & Dance and Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun, and she has also starred on Broadway in Mack & Mabel, On the Town, Sunday in the Park with George, The Goodbye Girl and the original production of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. Peters' newest live recording, "Sondheim, Etc., Etc.—Bernadette Peters Live at Carnegie Hall (The Rest of It)," is available on the Angel Records label. Masterworks Broadway has also released a "Legends of Broadway" CD celebrating her theatrical career. Peters' screen credits are numerous.

A.R. Gurney's plays include The Dining Room, The Cocktail Party, The Perfect Party, Another Antigone, A Cheever Evening, Sylvia, Ancestral Voices and Buffalo Gal. He is the recipient of a Drama Desk Award, a Rockefeller Award and two Lucille Lortel Awards. New World Stages is located in Manhattan at 340 West 50th Street. Tickets, priced $40-$100, are available by visiting www.openingactnewyork.org. A 7 PM reception will precede the performance.