Central Park Players Celebrates Valentine’s Day with “Love Letters” Play in Grand Haven, Ferrysburg, and North Muskegon

GRAND HAVEN, MICH. (January 25, 2024) – Central Park Players will host a fundraiser dinner and a play at Central Park Place in Grand Haven on Saturday February 10 at 6:00 PM. Instead of their usual place on the stage of the Acacia Theatre, the actors will perform amidst the audience in the Mackinaw Ballroom.

Residents of a local senior care community will see the play onsite during a closed event on Monday, February 12. On Tuesday, February 13, the Friends of the Walker Memorial Library will host a free public showing at Community Methodist Church in North Muskegon.

A Pulitzer Prize nominated piece, “Love Letters” by A.R. Gurney has been performed by many stars such as Alan Alda, Mia Farrow, William Hurt, and Kathleen Turner. In this production, roles of Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardnerboth are portrayed by a different cast for each performance: Joe and Natalie Carmolli on February 10, William Mitchell and Jen Christman on February 12, and Mark Baker and Becky Anderson on February 13. The characters, born to wealth and position, are childhood friends whose lifelong correspondence spans over fifty years. Their lives take different paths, but their attachment to each other remains strong.

The special theatrical piece is directed by Darcie Beekman, and she is supported by assistant director Rebecca Gierhart and producer Anna Wolffis.

“Love Letters is a wonderful story that many will relate to,” said Beekman, who also serves as president of the Central Park Players Board of Directors. “A relationship formed in childhood. From friends… to puppy love, joy, curiosity, confusion, and disappointment with each other. Whatever these two were going through in life, they wrote to each other about. 

“They cared so much and formed a bond that time, distance, and life’s ups and downs couldn’t shift. Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd iII know that timing can be everything, and so can a deep-rooted love that started many years ago.”

The February 10 fundraiser will help offset the increasing costs of licensing, materials, and performance and storage space. The volunteers who run the organization hope that a good turnout at this event will help them maintain ticket pricing, which hasn’t increased in over a decade.

“The fundraiser on February 10 helps to support our ability to bring live theatre to our community while providing a memorable way to celebrate the season of romance,” said Amber Ponce, treasurer of the Central Park Players Board of Directors and organizer of the event. “The price for the event is comparable to dinner and a movie. The proceeds support our mission to keep our regular production ticket pricing accessible and to put on free shows like the ones we are performing in Ferrysburg and North Muskegon.”

Tickets to the Saturday Dinner are $65/person for seating at a shared table with other patrons. Private tables for two people are $75/person. Admission without a meal is $20/person. To purchase tickets, visit https://cpp.ludus.com. To sponsor or volunteer at the event, contact Amber Ponce, amber@centralparkplayers.org, (616) 229-0530.

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