Hollywood legends to make Edinburgh stage debut

An artist's impression of the proposed shop front. Picture:  Michael Laird Architects.

An artist's impression of the proposed shop front. Picture: Michael Laird Architects.

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THEY’RE Hollywood royalty known the world over, but next October Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal will swap the arc lights and exotic international locations for the stage of the Festival Theatre, when they star in the UK tour of AR Gurney’s Love Letters.

Following a critically-acclaimed Broadway run and sell-out US Tour, Gurney’s enduring romance about first loves and second chances comes to the Capital as part of a 12-week tour.

The piece tells the story of Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner.

When Ladd wrote his first letter to Gardner to tell her she looked like a lost princess, they were both seven years old.

For the next 50 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.

For MacGraw and O’Neal the production is the latest chapter in a working relationship that started in 1970.

That was when O’Neal got his big break, being chosen from more than 300 hopefuls for the role of Oliver Barrett opposite MacGraw in Arthur Hiller’s adaptation of Erich Segal’s bestseller Love Story.

It was a role that saw him nominated for Best Actor at both the Oscars and Golden Globe Awards.

The play’s producer David Ian, says, “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 to see them on stage together”.

New York-born MacGraw’s acting career began when she was offered the leading role of Brenda Patamkin in the screen version of Philip Roth’s short novel, Goodbye Columbus.

Her other credits include The Getaway with Steve McQueen, Convoy with Kris Kristofferson and the TV mini-series The Winds of War, with Robert Mitchum. O’Neal, 75, appeared opposite Barbara Streisand in the 1971 smash hit movie What’s Up Doc and later played opposite real life daughter, Tatum in the hit movie Paper Moon.

Love Letters runs at the Festival Theatre from October 2-7 2017. Tickets on sale January 4.