‘The Gin Game’ canceled; ‘Love Letters’ a quick fix

Published 10:40 am Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A death and a health condition have led to the cancellation of the Albert Lea Community Theatre’s performance of “The Gin Game,” which was slated to begin this weekend.

However, the show “Love Letters” will be performed in its place Feb. 23 through Feb. 26.

“The Gin Game” tickets will be honored at the “Love Letters” performances.

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Karen Szymanowski, president of the ACT board, said there will be a reimbursement plan in place for ticket holders. Season ticket holders who cannot make it to the show because of the cancellation of the first three dates will be reimbursed.

She said the board thought about adding another show to the bill this season; however, that would be “quite laborious.”

“There’s a tremendous amount of work involved in postponing or canceling a play,” she said. “Not only do you have to stop the activity but replan it again for a second week. “It’s double the amount of work to postpone.”

According to Glen Parsons, director of both shows, the first three dates of “The Gin Game” were taken off the schedule last week after his mother died. He said frequent driving back and forth to Minneapolis to be with her was causing a disruption in the rehearsal schedule, and the cast and crew simply weren’t going to be ready for opening night.

He said ACT board members sought to contact ticket holders to let them know what was going on.

The second blow came this week, when one of the lead actors in “The Gin Game” had to step down because of health issues. Parsons received the news Monday night.

“On Tuesday, several of us — board members and cast — met and were trying to brainstorm what could we possibly do in place of this show,” Parsons said.

He said calls to different directors led to the two-person performance of “Love Letters.”

“Love Letters,” written by A. R. Gurney, centers on two characters, Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III. They sit side by side at tables and read the notes, letters and cards that have passed between them throughout their lives. During a relationship that began in the second grade, their ambitions, dreams, disappointments, victories and defeats are written about in their 50-year relationship.

“It’s funny. It’s entertaining. It’s really delightful,” said Parsons. “It goes through the ups and downs and turmoils through their lives.”

Parsons and his wife, Pat, will take the lead in this performance. Parsons said they both sing and act, and worked together on “I Do! I Do!” several years ago.

Tickets, please
Who: Albert Lea Community Theatre
What: “Love Letters”
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23-26
Where: Marion Ross Performing Arts Center
Cost: Single admission $14 adults, $10 students; season ticket holder rates/reimbursements to be determined