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Shirley Jones, Marty Ingels Star in ‘Love Letters’ at Carpinteria’s Plaza Playhouse Theater

(Cast Productions video)

Academy Award-winning actress Shirley Jones and her husband, comedian Marty Ingels, bring a touch of Broadway to Carpinteria’s Plaza Playhouse Theater when they appear in A.R. Gurney’s humorous, romantic and heartfelt play, Love Letters, in late April.

The play, which had a recent run in New York, centers on the reading of  correspondence exchanged by two longtime friends — now in their twilight years — as they shared their life experiences over the decades from childhood through adulthood and beyond.

Jones, honored with an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her dramatic work in Elmer Gantry with Burt Lancaster in 1960, co-starred in many of the best Hollywood musicals of the mid-1950s and early ’​60s, including Oklahoma!, Carousel and The Music Man.

She’s perhaps best known as the bus-driving “mother hen” of the The Partridge Family, a long-running ’70s TV series about a musical group, which also featured her stepson, David Cassidy.

Ingels is an actor, comedian, voice-over artist, comedy sketch writer and longtime theatrical agent who began his career in the early ’60s, appearing in various films and TV shows. He co-starred with John Astin in I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster, which aired for one season on ABC-TV in 1962. His raspy voice and unique delivery has been prominently featured in commercials and cartoon series over the years.

In 1977, Jones and Ingels were married and, in 1990, they co-authored an autobiography, Shirley & Marty: An Unlikely Love Story. (Jones’ self-titled memoir, co-written with Wendy Leigh, was published in 2013 and provided an unfiltered look at her upbringing and later successes on the stage, screen and TV).

Which leads us back to Love Letters, also an unlikely love story between two friends, who, while they admire and respect each other, never seem to get around to becoming actual lovers, something, it appears over time, they both regret.

“In this age of cell phones, email, Twitter, texting, Facebook and Instagram, audiences will be treated to a time when actual letter writing was the norm and primarily the only way to stay in touch with friends and family, other than long-distance telephone calls, which, back in the day, could get very expensive,” said Peter Bie, a board member of the Plaza Playhouse Theater and who, along with his wife, Melinda, is producing the play.

There will only be three performances of Love Letters: 8 p.m. Friday, April 24, and Saturday, April 25, and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 26.

Seating is limited. General admission tickets are $45. Click here to purchase them online, or call the box office at 805.684.6380.

This is the inaugural production for the newly formed company, Bie & Bie Productions, which consists of husband and wife team, Melinda and Peter Bie. The couple have been Plaza Playhouse Theater board members since its rebirth.

The Plaza Playhouse Theater , 4916 Carpinteria Ave., is ADA compatible and wheelchair accessible. There is plenty of free street and lot parking within walking distance of the venue.

— Maureen McFadden of McFadden & McFadden P.R. represents Plaza Playhouse Theater.

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