Brian Dennehy on Broadway’s ‘Love Letters’: It’s All About ‘Not Getting in the Way’ of the Words

If it hadn’t been for The New Yorker, A.R. Gurney’s 1988 play might have never made it to the Great White Way.

At the show’s Broadway opening on Thursday at the Brooks Atkinson Theater the playwright explained that he submitted the script to the publication in the 1980s for consideration. When he received a rejection note saying they “don’t publish plays” Gurney and his agent figured the editors were right and “Love Letters” was in fact a play.

A very low maintenance, cost-effective two-hander.

The two-actor cast — Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy — required only a table and two chairs. From there, with the text of the letters in front of them, the duo read the 90-minute epistolary tale of the lifelong correspondence between a man and a woman who may or may not be the love of each others’ lives.

“It felt different this time around,” Gurney said at the Brasserie 8 1/2 afterparty. “I made a couple little cuts (to the script) which I’ve wanted to do for years, so that made it a tiny bit shorter.”

As for acting from a chair with a script in front of you, Dennehy said it’s all about “not getting in the way” of the words.

“We only started rehearsals last week,” he said.” It’s so beautifully written so you just help it along a little bit with the acting.”

Dennehy and Farrow are the first of a crop of big-name actors who will rotate in and out of the show in the coming months. Among the actors on board for stints in the show are Alan Alda, Candice Bergen, Stacy Keach, Diana Rigg, Anjelica Huston and Martin Sheen.

“It’s hard to find an actor 50 or older who hasn’t performed this play at a benefit of some sort,” said Farrow, who herself read the play with Sam Waterston at fundraiser years back. “This time around I can say I’m much more invested in the production.”

(Pictured: Brian Dennehy, Mia Farrow and playwright A. R. Gurney at the opening night party of “Love Letters”)

SEE ALSO: Broadway Review of “Love Letters” With Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy

Popular on Variety

More Legit

  • Broadway-Breakfast-Split

    Variety to Celebrate Second Business of Broadway Breakfast With Thomas Schumacher, Diane Paulus and Diablo Cody

    Variety has announced the lineup for its second annual Business of Broadway breakfast presented by City National Bank. Joining the breakfast on Oct. 7 is the president and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions Thomas Schumacher, who will take part in the event’s keynote conversation. In his position, Thomas oversees the company’s worldwide stage productions, which [...]

  • Sue Wagner John Johnson

    Tony-Winning Producers Sue Wagner and John Johnson Announce New Venture, Wagner Johnson Productions

    Sue Wagner and John Johnson, seven-time Tony award-winning producers, announced Wednesday that they have embarked on a new theatrical business venture, Wagner Johnson Productions. Under the name, they will produce and general manage a wide scope of theater productions. One of Wagner Johnson Productions’ current projects is a musical rendition of “Almost Famous,” which will [...]

  • Sam Rockwell and Laurence Fishburne

    Sam Rockwell, Laurence Fishburne Starring in Broadway Revival of 'American Buffalo'

    Laurence Fishburne and Sam Rockwell will star in an upcoming Broadway revival of David Mamet’s “American Buffalo.” The show marks Rockwell’s first appearance on the Great White Way since his 2014 performance in the revival of Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love.” The five-year absence saw him pick up an Oscar for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, [...]

  • Secret Derren Brown review

    Broadway Review: 'Derren Brown: Secret'

    Audiences love to be fooled, whether it’s with clever plotting with a twist, the arrival of an unexpected character or even a charming flimflam man with a British accent. The latter is Derren Brown, and he’s entertaining audiences for a limited run at the Cort Theatre, where he is playing head-scratching mind games and other [...]

  • Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica ParkerNew York

    Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker to Reunite on Broadway for 'Plaza Suite'

    Real-life couple Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker are hitting the Broadway stage again for a reboot of the late Neil Simon’s 1968 play “Plaza Suite.” The staging will mark the Broadway directorial debut of Tony award-winner John Benjamin Hickey. Set in New York City’s Plaza Hotel in Suite 719, “Plaza Suite” is comprised of [...]

  • Derren Brown

    Listen: Derren Brown Spills His Broadway 'Secret'

    Derren Brown has spent a lot of his career performing magic shows on theater stages — but he’ll be the first to tell you that magic usually doesn’t make for great theater. Listen to this week’s podcast below: “If you’re a magician of any sort, you can make stuff happen with a click of your [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content