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Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal to star in UK Tour of LOVE LETTERS

Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal
Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal – Photo by Austin Hargrave

Hollywood legends Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal star in the upcoming UK tour of LOVE LETTERS, celebrated playwright A.R. Gurney’s enduring romance about first loves and second chances. Following a critically-acclaimed Broadway run and sell-out US Tour, this wonderful production comes to the UK for a twelve-week tour, opening on Monday 11 September 2017 at the Theatre Royal Bath. Tickets go on sale early 2017.

Andrew Makepeace Ladd III (O’Neal) wrote his first letter to Melissa Gardner (MacGraw) to tell her she looked like a lost princess; they were both seven years old. For the next fifty years, through personal triumphs and despair, through wars and marriages and children and careers, they poured out their heartfelt secrets to each other. They defied a fate that schemed to keep them apart, and lived for the one most meaningful thing, their undying love for each other.

David Ian, Producer, said: ‘I am absolutely thrilled to be bringing two such huge stars to the UK in this wonderful and moving play. Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal ‎are true Hollywood legends and it will be very special indeed to see them live on stage together‘.

“SMART, DELIGHTFUL and MOVING.” – The Huffington Post

Ali MacGraw (Melissa Gardner) was born in Westchester County, New York and attended Wellesley College where she studied art history, languages and literature. She began her professional career as Diana Vreeland’s assistant at Harper’s Bazaar. After leaving Harper’s Bazaar, she went to work as a stylist for photographer Melvin Sokolsky in New York for six years. Ali’s acting career began when producer Stanley R. Jaffe and director Larry Peerce offered her the leading role of Brenda Patamkin in the screen version of Philip Roth’s short novel, Goodbye Columbus. The movie was an international success, opening to tremendous popular and critical acclaim. Wanting her next film to be something special, Ali looked for a script that touched her on a personal level. That picture was Love Story and it proved to be her major break. An original screenplay (and later a best-selling novel) by Erich Segal, the film earned Ali international fame, an Academy Award nomination, a Golden Globe award, and many additional honors worldwide. Ali’s third picture, The Getaway, co-starring Steve McQueen, completed her trio of blockbuster films. Nevertheless, after The Getaway, Ali took a five-year hiatus from Hollywood to raise her son Joshua. She returned to the screen to co-star in Sam Peckinpah’s Convoy with Kris Kristofferson. Other film credits include Players co-starring Dean Paul Martin, and Just Tell Me What You Want, directed by Sidney Lumet and co-starred Alan King and Myrna Loy. Ali has appeared in a number of television projects, starring in Herman Wouk’s epic mini-series, The Winds of War, with Robert Mitchum. In addition, she guest-starred for a season on the popular ABC TV series, Dynasty. Ali published her autobiography, Moving Pictures, (Bantam Books) and watched it climb the New York Times Bestseller List. The book went on to become an international bestseller in England, France and South America. She also teamed up with Warner Home Video to distribute an instructional yoga video called Yoga Mind & Body. The video features respected yoga instructor Erich Schiffman. It was filmed in beautiful White Sands, New Mexico and remains popular in the U.S. and in Europe selling over 500,000 copies. Ali currently lives in New Mexico. She travels extensively, appearing in documentaries and working on behalf of numerous social, animal and environmental causes including the Humane Society of the United States, Animal Protection of New Mexico and a number of specific animal sanctuaries. She is actively involved with the Santa Fe Rape Crisis and Trauma Treatment Centre, the Lensic Theatre for the performing Arts, Santa Fe Pro Musica, the Tibetan Centre of Santa Fe, and many other New Mexico non-profits. She received the Luminaria Award in 2008 from the Santa Fe Community Foundation, and the Governor’s Award for contribution to the Arts in the same year.

Ryan O’Neal (Andrew Makepeace Ladd III) Born Patrick Ryan O’Neal on April 20, 1941 in Los Angeles, California, Ryan O’Neal was born into show business as the son of writer Charles “Blackie” O’Neal and actress Patricia O’Callaghan. Determined to make his own way, O’Neal trained to become a professional boxer, competing in two Golden Gloves championships in Los Angeles in 1956 and 1957. He had an impressive amateur fighting record – 18 wins to 4 losses, with 13 knockouts. In the late 1950s, O’Neal and his family moved to Germany for his father’s job writing broadcasts for Radio Free Europe. O’Neal landed his first job in the entertainment industry as a stuntman on the American television series Tales of the Vikings. In 1964, O’Neal’s first major television role in Peyton Place led him to starring in films such as The Big Bounce (1969), and The Games (1970). His big break soon followed when he was chosen from more than 300 hopefuls for the role of Oliver Barrett opposite Ali MacGraw in Arthur Hiller’s adaptation of Erich Segal’s best-seller Love Story in 1970. The film was a huge success and landed O’Neal both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor. After Love Story, O’Neal turned to comedy and starred opposite Barbara Streisand in smash hit What’s Up Doc (1971). He then starred with Warren Oates and Jacqueline Bisset in The Thief Who Came To Dinner (1973). O’Neal next played a drifter working con games with his daughter (played by real life daughter, Tatum) in the critically acclaimed hit Paper Moon (1973) for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actor. Tatum won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role. O’Neal then went on to star in Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 historical drama Barry Lyndon; Oliver Story, a sequel to Love Story in 1978; and the noir hit The Driver, also in 1978. In 1979, O’Neal scored another box office win with The Main Event, starring again with Barbara Streisand. In 1979, O’Neal met and fell in love with actress Farrah Fawcett. Together they had one child, a son Redmond. O’Neal and Fawcett co-starred in the made-for-TV miniseries Small Sacrifices (1989), based on the true story of Diane Downs. O’Neal returned to episodic television, again co-starring with real-life love, Farrah Fawcett in 1991 with the sitcom Good Sports. O’Neal’s other roles included starring alongside Robert Downey in Chances Are (1989), Faithful co-starring Cher (1996), and the comedic Malibu’s Most Wanted (2003). O’Neal can currently be seen on FOX’s hit crime drama Bones and will soon make an appearance in Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups (2015).

Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal
Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal – Photo by Jeremy Daniel

A.R. Gurney (Playwright) has been writing plays for quite a while. Besides Love Letters, his more familiar ones are The Dining Room, The Cocktail Hour, Sylvia and Ancestral Voices. He taught literature at MIT for many years before turning to writing full time. Besides plays, Gurney has written three novels, two opera librettos, and several efforts for TV. Most of his plays have been produced Off-Broadway by such theatre organizations as Playwrights Horizons, Lincoln Center, Primary Stages and the Flea Theater in Tribeca. He has received a number of professional awards, along with honorary degrees from Williams College and Buffalo State University. A member of the Theater Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he is the father of four children, eight grandchildren and has been married to his wife Molly for 57 years.

Gregory Mosher (Director) is the former director of Lincoln Center Theater and artistic director of the Goodman Theatre, and the producer or director of nearly 200 plays at those theatres, on Broadway and in London’s West End.

LOVE LETTERS UK tour is produced by David Ian Productions.

LOVE LETTERS was originally produced on Broadway by Nelle Nugent, Barbara Broccoli, Frederick Zollo, Olympus Theatricals, Michael G. Wilson, Lou Spisto, Colleen Camp, Postmark Entertainment Group, Judith Ann Abrams/Pat Flicker Addis, Kenneth Teaton in association with Jon Bierman, Tim Degraye, Daniel Frishwasser, Elliott Masie, Mai Nguyen, Scott Lane/Joseph Sirola.

Twitter: #LoveLettersUKTour

Tickets go on sale early 2017

Theatre Royal, Bath
11 September – 16 September 2017

Theatre Royal, Newcastle
18 September – 23 September 2017

The Alhambra Theatre, Bradford
25 September – 30 September 2017

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
2 October – 7 October 2017

Theatre Royal, Norwich
9 October – 14 October 2017

New Victoria Theatre, Woking
16 October – 21 October 2017

Lyceum, Sheffield
23 October – 28 October 2017

Empire Theatre, Liverpool
30 October – 4 November 2017

Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton
13 November – 18 November 2017

Opera House, Manchester
20 November – 25 November 2017

Theatre Royal, Nottingham
27 November – 2 December 2017

Bord Gais Theatre, Dublin
4 December – 9 December 2017


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