Sunday, August 3, 2014

"Love Letters" and Voices of Hope

When my dear friend (and everybody's dear friend it seems) Jordan Rich posted on Facebook that he was going to co-star in "Love Letters" to benefit Voices of Hope, I immediately went to the North Shore Music Theater's website and bought tickets for my husband and me.

Voices of Hope are a group of "Ordinary people on an extraordinary mission," as they raise money to find a cure for cancer. Most recently, monies raised by Voices of Hope, and the money raised from the performances of "Love Letters," are going to the Henri & Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies at the Mass General Cancer Center.

The Henri and Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies offers new hope to patients and their families at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and beyond, as the center defines the future of cancer therapy.

Led by Keith T. Flaherty, MD, a renowned expert in personalized cancer medicine and melanoma specialist, the Termeer Center offers a comprehensive translational research program to speed the discovery and delivery of new targeted therapies to patients with early and advanced stage cancers.

The Termeer Center brings together cutting-edge research resources and provides a foundation for
collaborations among physicians and investigators from a broad spectrum of biomedical disciplines, resulting in a rapidly expanding arsenal of weapons against cancer. Leading specialists from the Cancer Center’s 23 disease centers participate in the Termeer Center by enrolling their patients in its fast-growing portfolio of Phase I, Phase II and Phase III clinical trials.

"Love Letters," a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, is a two person play by A.R. Gurney. "Love Letters" takes audience members on a journey through the lives of free-spirited Melissa Gardner and the conservative Andrew Makepeace Ladd III — lifelong friends who share their most intimate thoughts and feelings through the letters written to each over their lifetime. The New York Times reported that there is talk of a revival of "Love Letters" for the 2014 Fall Broadway Theater season.

The Backstage Bistro, part of the North Shore Music Theater, is located just off of 128. The ambiance is delightful inside and outside.

We were greeted at the door by Ed Siegal, Vice President and Treasurer of Voices of Hope asking us how we heard about the performance. His passion is infectious as he shared with us about Voices of Hope and how proud he was of his wife's coming out from behind the curtain to perform this week and next in "Love Letters."

There is casual summer dining available and service begins at 5:30pm. We had dinner before the show and told our waitress we don't drink. She said that wasn't a problem and offered us non alcoholic beverages as well as a dessert menu. She said that if we had just eaten, we could always opt to have dessert at intermission when food and beverage service would resume.

Here is our date night selfie that we took before the show:

Two envelopes with LL in calligraphy contained our programs and information about Voices of Hope. Since the play focuses in part on the lost art of letter writing, it was a delightful touch to have the programs presented in this way complete with a small heart sticker, simulating sealing wax. I was transported back in time before the lights were even dimmed.

I had not done any research on the play before the performance. I'm so glad that I did not know the synopsis of the play so that I could ride the waves of emotions as Jordan, and his co-star and Executive Artistic Director for Voices of Hope, Dana Siegal bring their characters to life through the love letters they wrote to each other over 50 years.

When you leave a musical still humming the score, you know you've had an enjoyable theatrical experience. I can still hear the echoes of Jordan and Dana's voices as they bring Gurney's characters of Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III to life.

There are performances on August 7, 8 and 9 at 8:00pm. Get your tickets today and fall in love with "Love Letters" and Voices of Hope.

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