Due to her previous commitment to the Actors' Fund Chess benefit concert — also scheduled for Sept. 22 — Murney has bowed out of the Sept. 22 evening, which will now feature recent Mamma Mia! star Mason and composer Andrew Lippa. This is the final of several Monday evenings of the acclaimed Gurney work being presented at the Duplex Cabaret Theatre in New York's West Village.
The Love Letters series kicks off Aug. 4 with Randy Graff and Lonny Price, and they will be followed by pairings of Charles Busch and Jim Dale (Aug. 11), Alison Fraser and Stephen Bogardus (Aug. 18), Daisy Eagan and Matt Bogart (Aug. 25), Phil Geoffrey Bond and Kristy Cates (Sept. 1), Seth Rudetsky and Leslie Kritzer (Sept. 8), Tonya Pinkins and Jerry Dixon (Sept. 15) and Mason and Lippa (Sept. 22).
Karen Mason starred as Tanya in the hit musical Mamma Mia! at the Winter Garden Theatre. She also received much praise for her performance as Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard, where she was standby for Glenn Close, Betty Buckley and Elaine Paige. Mason's other Broadway credits include Jerome Robbins' Broadway and Torch Song Trilogy. She appeared in the Off Broadway revue And the World Goes 'Round, and she is one of the top draws on the cabaret scene. Her solo recordings are numerous and include "When the Sun Comes Out," "Not So Simply Broadway" and the aforementioned "Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!"
Love Letters traces the lifelong correspondence between two friends: lawyer Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and artist Melissa Gardner. The piece 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. 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.
Tickets for Love Letters are priced at $18 plus a two-drink minimum; call (212) 255-5438 for reservations. The Duplex Cabaret Theatre is located at 61 Christopher Street.