Love Letters (Toronto)
A.R. Gurney’s LOVE LETTERS opened on June 20, 1990 at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto.
Produced by Marlene Smith for the Marlene Smith Group
Starring Victor Garber and Madeline Kahn
Directed by John Tillinger; Production Stage Managed by Toby Simkin
Colleen Dewhurst and E. G. Marshall took over July 3.
Toronto critics praised Madeline’s “particularly vibrant and self-assured performance“.
MADELINE KAHN was born Madeline Gail Wolfson of Russian Jewish descent on September 29, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts. Madeline was one of the most popular comedians of her time – and one of the least understood. Madeline had a prolific career that spanned film, TV, Broadway and opera. She is best known for “Paper Moon” (1973) with Ryan O’Neal, which was followed the next year by work with directors Mel Brooks and Peter Bogdanovic and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1973 & 1974 for “Blazing Saddles” & “What’s Up Doc”. On Broadway she starred in ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG and TWO BY TWO with Danny Kaye. Madeline Kahn and Gilda Radner both starred on the short lived sitcom, “First Family”, in 1980. Both stars passed away from Ovarian cancer; Madeline Kahn, aged 57, died on December 3, 1999 in New York City, after a yearlong or so battle, during part of which time she was a cast member of “Cosby” (1996).
VICTOR GARBER OC was born on March 16, 1949 in London, Ontario, a leading player on Broadway for most of his career, unsurprisingly became a powerful force on screen as well. Most well known for his film hits “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993), “Titanic” (1997), playing Goldie Hawn’s ex-husband in “The First Wives Club” (1996), “Legally Blonde”(2001), “Tuck Everlasting” (2002) and “Argo” (2012) for which he won a SAG award. Victor made his TV series debut in 1983 on “Ryan’s Hope” for ABC, thereafter, made regular appearances on TV on “Alias” (ABC) “Nurse Jackie” (Showtime), “Queen” (CBS), “Frasier” (NBC) , “Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows” (ABC) “Will & Grace” (NBC) and “Glee” (Fox) and ”Everything She Ever Wanted” (Lifetime). He returned to the small screen with roles as King Maximilian in “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” (ABC, 1997) and as Daddy Warbucks in “Annie” (ABC, 1999). Back on the big screen, Garber co-starred in “Milk” (2008). He came to prominence on stage after a Canadian production of GODSPELL in 1973 in which he played Jesus opposite Martin Short and Andrea Martin. He reprised his Jesus for the film version of “Godspell” later that year. He earned a Theatre World Award in Henrik Ibsen’s GHOSTS (1973). His Tony Award-nominated performance in DEATHTRAP in 1978 propelled his career, into SWEENEY TODD (1979), touring as the lead in THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG (1981) a starring role in LITTLE ME (1982), NOISES OFF (1983) which earned a Drama Desk Award. He received another Tony Award nomination for LEND ME A TENOR (1989), played John Wilkes Booth in ASSASSINS (1990) and earned his 4th Tony Award nomination in the revival of DAMN YANKEES (1994). Victor starring in Tom Stoppard’s ARCADIA (1995), and co-starred with Alan Alda and Alfred Molina in ART (1998), A LITTLE LIGHT MUSIC (2009), PRESENT LAUGHTER (2010) and co-starred in the revival of HELLO, DOLLY! in 2018 opposite Bernadette Peters. Victor received the 2018 Theatre World John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2022 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.
JOHN TILLINGER (Director). Broadway: BORN YESTERDAY by Garson Kanin, starring Madeline Kahn and Ed Asner (production supervisor); SWEET SUE by A.R. Gurney, starring Mary Tyler Moore and Lynn Redgrave; LOOT by Joe Orton (Outer Critics’ Circle Award, Tony nomination); CORPSE! by Gerald Moon; THE GOLDEN AGE by A.R. Gurney, starring Irene Worth, Jeff Daniels and Stockard Channing; SOLOMON’S CHILD by Tom Dulack. West End: CORPSE! by Gerald Moon. Off-Broadway: WHAT THE BUTLER SAW by Joe Orton; ANOTHER ANTIGONE by A.R. Gurney; THE BIG LOVE by Brooke Allen, starring Marsha Mason; CONFESSIONS OF A NIGHTINGALE by Ray Stricklyn and Charlotte Chandler; THE PERFECT PARTY by A.R. Gurney; IT’S ONLY A PLAY by Terrence McNally; THE LISBON TRAVIATA by Terrence McNally; AFTER THE FALL BY Arthur Miller, starring Frank Langella and Dianne Wiest; SERENADING LOUIE by Lanford Wilson (Drama Desk nomination); ENTERTAINING MR. SLOAN by Joe Orton (Drama Desk Award); A CALL FROM THE EAST by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. National tour: THE HOUSEKEEPER by James Prideaux, starring Cloris Leachman. Regional: ANOTHER ANTIGONE by A.R. Gurney (Old Globe Theatre): SWEET SUE by A.R. Gurney (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Literary Manager and Consultant for the Long Wharf Theatre, where he has directed SCENES FROM AMERICAN LIFE and LOVE LETTERS, both by A.R. Gurney.
A R (“PETE”) GURNEY was a prolific writer, with nearly 50 full-length plays some of which have been produced in New York at Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theater Club, Playwrights Horizons, and Primary Stages. Among his well-known commercial plays such as THE DINING ROOM, THE COCKTAIL HOUR, LOVE LETTERS, SYLVIA, FAR EAST, THE FOURTH WALL, BIG BILL he also wrote some more political plays — O JERUSALEM, MRS FARNSWORTH, SCREEN PLAY, and POST MORTEM. Gurney also wrote several published novels, as well as the libretto for Michael Torke’s opera Strawberry Fields, presented by the New York City Opera. A former Professor of Literature at M I T, he was elected in 2005 to the Theater Hall of Fame and in 2006 to The American Academy of Arts and Letters. He passed away in June 2017.