Thursday, April 21, 2005

Couple revives art of letter writing

In the age of faxes, e-mail and on-the-run cellular connections, playwright A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters," starring Robert Wagner and Jill St. John, remains a welcome homage to the intimate, intensely personal and admittedly old-fashioned art of letter writing.

"Love Letters" will be at the Rialto Square Theatre for a dinner/theater engagement at 6 p.m. May 7. Very limited seating is available. Tickets also will be sold to the show only. The show begins at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $65.50 for the dinner and show or $32.50 to $42.50 for the show only. Tickets can be purchased at the Rialto box office, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet; by calling (815) 726-6600 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or between 9 a.m. and noon Saturdays; or online at On performance days, the box office remains open until the completion of intermission. Tickets also may be purchased through all Ticketmaster outlets by calling (312) 902-1500 or online at

Gurney's charmingly crafted acting exercise, which takes the form of reading, traces the lifelong correspondence between two friends and sometime lovers. And it suggests that the sound of a pen scratching on paper and the secretive folding of a letter into its envelope may foster relationships that are deeper and more meaningful than those dependent on modern technology.

Since its premiere in 1988, "Love Letters" has become a favorite vehicle for show-biz couples. The latest pairing is between Robert Wagner and his wife, Jill St. John, veterans of film and television.

One of the most popular and successful stars in the entertainment industry, Robert Wagner has had a career highlighted by three hit television series, "Hart to Hart," "Switch" and "It Takes a Thief," and a portfolio of movies for film and television. In summer of 1999, Wagner recreated his role of "Number Two," the villainous henchman to Dr. Evil, a cryogenically revived special agent who squares off against the title character in the sequel to "Austin Powers," starring Mike Myers.

He also was in the Sony release, "Crazy in Alabama," directed by Antonio Banderas and starring Melanie Griffith; and TBS's first original movie, "Fatal Error," starring Antonio Sabato Jr. and Janine Turner. In 1998, Wagner was in "Wild Things," starring Matt Dillon and Kevin Bacon, for Mandalay Films, playing attorney Tom Baxter. In 1997, he co-starred in New Line's box-office hit "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery," starring Mike Myers and Elizabeth Hurley.

Jill St. John is known throughout the world as a film and television star. At the age of 10, Jill appeared in the first TV movie ever made, the Charles Dickens' classic, "A Christmas Carol." She made pictures with Frank Sinatra, such as "Tony Rome" and Neil Simon's "Come Blow Your Horn," and acted with Dean Martin in "Who's Been Sleeping In My Bed." She also played Tiffany Case in the James Bond film "Diamonds Are Forever" with Sean Connery.

She was the host of "Good Morning America's" cooking segment for three years. She is now writing a series of three new cookbooks.

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