‘Love Letters’ starts theater season and honors Gauerkes

| September 30, 2015
Theater: Bettsy and Jim Gauerke star in “Love Letters,” which kicks off the Footlight Players 67th season and celebrate the couple’s 60 years of involvement with the theater group. Beacon photo by Josie Sellers

Theater: Bettsy and Jim Gauerke star in “Love Letters,” which kicks off the Footlight Players 67th season and celebrate the couple’s 60 years of involvement with the theater group. Beacon photo by Josie Sellers

COSHOCTON – The Footlight Players generally don’t precast plays, but when Susan Metz picked “Love Letters” to start this season, she knew Jim and Bettsy Gauerke were the perfect people for the production.

“I was so pleased when I called and they accepted,” said Metz, who is directing “Love Letters.”

The play, written by A.R. Gurney, focuses on letters written between Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner, who were both born to wealth and position. They are childhood friends whose lifelong correspondence begins with birthday party thank you notes and summer camp postcards and continues through the following 50 years. The letters exchanged and shared with the audience chronicle their lives, the joys, the sorrows, the complexities, in the ever-changing kaleidoscope of life.

“In the play the actors come out together and read the series of letters,” Metz said. “It’s been done by many, many different couples and been on Broadway at least three times that I’m aware of. It made me think of Jim and Bettsy.”

The Gauerkes were honored that she thought of them.

“I was very flattered and thrilled,” Bettsy said.

Jim added that saying yes was an easy decision.

“I didn’t have to think more than two seconds about it,” he said.

Their roles also are a way for the Footlight Players to pay tribute to Jim and Bettsy’s 60 years of involvement with the theater group.

“We’ve worked together on several plays and directing them is an awesome experience,” Metz said. “Both of them have been in over 100 productions each in one way or another.”

Both Jim and Bettsy said being part of the theater is fun.

“I enjoy doing different parts and playing different people and ages,” Jim said. “It’s also a thrill when the audience appreciates what you do.”

“Love Letters” will be performed at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, at Triple Locks Theater, 685 N. Whitewoman St.

“This play really grabs you,” Bettsy said. “It’s funny, but also kind of heartbreaking. It has a little bit of everything.”

Tickets for “Love Letters” are $12 for adults and $7 for students. They can be ordered online at www.footlightplayers.com or by calling 740-622-2959 from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday or 2 to 4 p.m. on performance days.

Those who attend the play also will have the opportunity to win a bracelet from corporate sponsor Dean’s Jewelry. The bracelet will be on display in the green room and a donation will give you the chance to win it. The winner will be drawn after the final show on Saturday, Oct. 24. All proceeds will be donated to Hopewell School in Jim and Bettsy’s honor in memory of their son Jimmy.

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Category: Arts & Entertainment

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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