An Abbotsford theatre company is heading back to the stage this month for the first time since the pandemic brought live theatre to a halt.
Fraser Valley Stage, whose last live production – Mamma Mia! – closed on Feb. 29, 2020, offers two plays. Opening night is set for Oct. 13 with Last of the Red Hot Lovers. The following night, Love Letters comes to town. Both shows run for five performances until Oct. 23 at the Community Arts Addition (2329 Crescent Way).
Last of the Red Hot Lovers is a comedy in the classic Neil Simon style. The play is quick, witty and fun and tells the story of Barney Cashman, a middle-aged, married man who desperately wants to join the sexual revolution before it’s too late.
This is one of Simon’s best-known plays. It debuted on Broadway in 1969 with James Coco as Barney (garnering a Tony Award nomination). It was well-received by audiences and reviewers and played for over 700 performances during that two-year run.
“The cast is perfectly chosen for the show,” sayd co-producer Kathy McWhinney of the FVS production.
Lawrence Locke is Barney, a determined but nervous and shy character who plays straight man to three women: Elaine (Kathryn Ferguson), Bobbi (Kaitlyn Busswood) and Jeanette (Shayna Kerrie).
Last of the Red Hot Lovers is not recommended for audiences under 19 years of age.
Love Letters is a sweet, sometimes funny, poignant story about two people who met as children and remained friends for almost 50 years.
“The beauty of this show is in its simplicity – two incredible actors, minimal sets and props, and a story that touches your heart,” says director Dann Wilhelm. “Who could ask for anything more?”
Opening on Broadway in 1989, audiences fell in love with Love Letters, and it was described by critics as “wry, witty and emotionally rich.” The play was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1989 and continues to be popular today.
“This is a beautiful telling of a long-lasting relationship that survives many challenges,” McWhinney says. “A lot of people will relate to the characters and the highs and lows of loving someone.”
Larry Doan and Paulina Harskamp – both long-time performers with FVS – play the leads.
Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for seniors and students. They are available online at fraservalleystage.com or at Prospera Credit Union (West Oaks). Showtimes are 7:30 p.m., with matinees at 2 p.m. on Oct. 16 and 23.
Proof of full vaccination are required, and masks are mandatory.