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DECATUR — Relationships can form and remain strong through the written word.

The story of a 50-year correspondence between a man and a woman portrayed in the Broadway play “Love Letters” will be on stage Saturday, Sept. 14, at Millikin University’s Kirkland Fine Arts Center.

Well-known actors Barbara Eden and Barry Bostwick will be in Decatur to perform the lead roles.

The story follows the relationship of Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, played by Bostwick, and Eden’s character Melissa Gardner, through their letters to one another. The letters begin as a thank-you note after a child’s birthday party. As life goes on, the pair’s paths follow different directions, except for a brief affair among the couple.

Barry Bostwick

Barry Bostwick to perform at Kirkland Fine Arts Center In "Love Letters."

“It is a wonderful story,” Eden said. “The characters are very different from each other.”

Both children come from rich families. However, his family is supportive and she is raised by a nanny. “Her only anchor is this one man or boy,” Eden said. “They are very good friends and keep in contact with each other through their lives.”

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The play was written by playwright A.R. Gurney and produced for the stage in 1989. According to the author’s script description, the play was written with simplicity.

"Needs no theatre, no lengthy rehearsal, no special set, no memorization of lines, and no commitment from its two actors beyond the night of performance," Gurney stated.

Barbara Eden

Barbara Eden to perform at Kirkland Fine Arts Center in "Love Letters."

Bostwick and Eden have had other opportunities to work together. However, “Love Letters” is one of the coveted roles. According to Eden, actors enjoy performing in the play.

“It is beautifully written,” she said. “It is rich in character.”

One of Eden’s first opportunities to play the part of Melissa was with Larry Hagman, the actor who played opposite of her in the 1960s sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie.”

“I started out with my master,” Eden said.

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Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR

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"Together Decatur" Columnist and Food and Drink Reporter

“Together Decatur” columnist and food and drink reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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