BIPOC ‘Love Letters’ at the Canalside Stage

Around Town

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The JCC CenterStage will present A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters” on the Dawn Lipson Canalside Stage at the JCC this Sunday, June 27 at 2:00 p.m.

J. Simmons, who plays Andrew Ladd, and Jennifer Galvez Caton, who plays Melissa Gardner, discussed this unique version of the classic story Wednesday during News 8 at Noon.

“Number one, A.R. Gurney’s ‘Love Letters’ is – they always say it’s a timeless piece – and it definitely is,” said Simmons. “But what I think is really wonderful about this piece is the fact that it follows two friends over their lifetime, starting when they were in second grade. It’s Andrew Ladd and Melissa Gardner and they start with passing notes in class and it turns into letters and correspondence and really a relationship. But, for the audience, something that they get to participate in through the narrative, through the letters that they send back and forth.”

The acronym BIPOC refers to black, indigenous, and other people of color. This edition of “Love Letters” has been produced by Annette Ramos to reflect and promote racial diversity. Galvez Caton believes the audience will embrace the performance. “I think it’s important for people to remember that we’re doing this as an all-BIPOC cast and crew, but it’s also important to remember that while you’re watching the production I believe the audience is just going to forget what color we are and just fall in love with the characters and really feel that they’re coming on this journey with us.”

“Love Letters” will serve as a fundraiser for the JCC CenterStage. “It’s a very exciting time for the JCC CenterStage and I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to revive the arts and include inclusion,” Galvez Caton said. “This is a chance to do that and I really appreciate everything that Ralph Meranto at the JCC CenterStage has done as well as Dawn Lipson in helping us build the Canalside Stage.”

For Simmons, this return to the stage has special meaning. “This is my life. I gave up my 9-to-5 job to be a working actor and it is something that I’m very passionate about. Being able to come back into a space and share the air, and share the energy, and share the love and the passion with other fellow people in that space – not restricted through technology or anything else like that is just so special and it’s something that’s been highly underrated before now. I will never, never – never, never, never – take it for granted ever again how special it is just to be in the same room with another person.”

Remaining tickets for “Love Letters” are $18. Order them online at

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