Theatre in the Square will be presenting the world premier of Conversations With My Wife, a tenderly human and funny love story about one man struggling to write the next chapter of his life seven years after the death of his wife. Conversations With My Wife, by Leonard Gross, opens Wednesday, September 29, at 8 p.m. on the Main Stage. Tickets are available at the Box Office by calling 770-422-8369.

Conversations With My Wife will touch the heart of anyone who has ever known and lost a love. “Everyone in our audience knows what loss feels like – and therefore, telling a story about someone learning to live again is a very important story to tell… in a way that only theatre can tell it”, said Director Heidi Cline McKerley. The play is partly based on and wholly inspired by the illness and death, in 2001, of Jacquelyn Wagoner Gross, Leonard Gross’ wife of 49 years.

Over the span of his career, Mr. Gross has been a print journalist, an author and now a playwright. Conversations With My Wife is the sixth of seven plays he has written. He admits that his fear for writing this play was twofold: “Having come late in life to playwriting, would I have the ability to write such a challenging play? Second, would revisiting the events I’d spent years coming to terms with reawaken my doubts and sorrow?”

Conversations With My Wife is a play in one act starring Judy Leavell (Sara), who was last seen at Theatre in the Square in The Savannah Disputation and John Stephens (Sam), Theatre Gael’s Artistic Director. Members of the artistic team that will bring this compelling story to life on stage are director Heidi Cline McKerley, set designer John Thigpen, lighting designer Michael Callahan, sound designer Brian Patterson, costume designer English Benning, props designer Lindsay Moore, and stage manager Julie A. Richardson.

Performances are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. There is a Wednesday matinee at 2:30 p.m. on October 27 only and preview performances on Sunday, September 26 at 7 p.m. and Tuesday, September 28 at 8 p.m. There is no 7 p.m. performance on Sunday, October 31. Student matinee performances are available, and the play is recommended for ages 16 and up.

Tickets are $24 to $33 and are available at the Theatre in the Square Box Office by calling 770-422-8369. Discount rates are available for groups of 12 or more by calling 770-422-8369 x29. Theatre in the Square is located off of historic Marietta Square at 11 Whitlock Ave.

On Stage:

Judy Leavell (Sara) is pleased to be back at Theatre in the Square, having last appeared as Mary in The Savannah Disputation. A proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, she has appeared at the ART Station (Driving Miss Daisy, The Lady With All the Answers, among others); Theatrical Outfit (Shiloh Rules); the Horizon and Aurora Theatres (The Spitfire Grill); Alliance Theatre (Managing Maxine); Georgia Ensemble Theatre (Steel Magnolias, The Lady With All the Answers); as well as the Springer Opera House (Enchanted April, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof). Look for her in the feature film Butter, due out in 2011. Deepest thanks to the Codys for their help and inspiration.

John Stephens (SAM) John is very happy to be working Theatre in the Square once again. John has directed a number of plays on this stage including: Death Of A Salesman, Stones In His Pockets, The Caretaker, A Life In The Theatre and The Boy Who Would Be King. He is the Artistic Director of Atlanta’s Theatre Gael, the oldest professional, Irish-American theatre in the country and WORLDSONG, their arts-in-education program. He is also a playwright whose work has been produced at Theatre in the Square, Alliance Children’s Theatre, Center for Puppetry Arts and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. This fall, look for the premiere of Brief Candle, Remembering Anne Frank. Many thanks to all my friends at T-Square.

Behind the Scenes:

Heidi Cline McKerley (Director) – is very pleased to return to Theatre in the Square where she has directed Secrets of a Soccer Mom and Tracers as well as appearing in The 1940’s Radio Hour and Oil City Symphony. She has been a part of the Atlanta theatre community for 21 years working as an actress, director, teacher, costume designer and producer. Heidi feels fortunate to have worked with many of Atlanta’s theatres, including Alliance, Horizon, Theatrical Outfit, Georgia Shakespeare, Shakespeare Tavern, Actor’s Express, 7 Stages, Atlanta Lyric, Aurora, Theatre Gael, Jewish Theatre of the South, and Dad’s Garage, to name a few. She was founding Producing Artistic Director of Soul-stice Repertory for nine years, presenting over 30 theatrical classics in the Backstage Theatre of 7 Stages. Outside of Atlanta, Heidi has worked for the Hippodrome State Theatre and the Oasis Theatre Project in Florida, the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, the Gainesville Theatre Alliance, UGA, and the Lagrange Lyric Theatre. Love and thanks to my terrific daughters, Hannah Rose and Arden, as well as my fabulous partner and husband, Jeffrey. Xoxoxo

Julie A Richardson (Stage Manager) has worked extensively in the southeastern US for many years—from Florida to Kentucky as well Ohio and Texas. She’s returning here, where she was the SM for Sanders Family Christmas, Uncle Vanya and more, after being away for several years. Most recently she was a SM at the Blowing Rock Stage Company in Blowing Rock NC as well as Theater Emory in Atlanta. She is the Artistic Director/Production Coordinator for Horn In The West in Boone, NC. Julie has worked as PSM for the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Seaside Music Theater, Orlando Shakespeare Festival, American Stage, and others and has served as staff SM at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Alliance Theatre, Actors Theater of Louisville, Flat Rock Playhouse, and Dallas Theater Center. She served as Auditions Director for the Southeastern Theatre Conference and is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association. If you enjoy this show please tell five friends and thank you for supporting the Arts.

John Thigpen (Scenic Designer) has 28 years experience in set design for film, television and theatrical productions. His designs have appeared on many professional and educational stages in the Atlanta area. Favorite designs for Theatre in the Square include Turned Funny (Jenny Award 2007), Of Mice and Men, The Diviners and Take Me Out. Mr. Thigpen was recently commissioned to produce a public art sculpture on the newly renovated City of Stone Mountain Main Street.

English Benning (Costume Designer) is excited to be working with this design team and T-Square. Locally she has designed for Theatre Emory (Time of Your Life, Alcestic), Synchronicity (Give a Mouse a Cookie, Language of Angels), Actors Express (100 Saints, Zanna Don’t, Some Men, Octopus, I Am My Own Wife, Pillowman, Kimberly Akimbo, Bent, Love Song of Oppenheimer, Love Jerry), Theatrical Outfit (Godspell, Keeping Watch, Magician’s Nephew, The Lion the Witch…), Alliance Theatre (26 Miles, Elliot; a Soldiers Fugue, Sheer Madness, Einstein is a Dummy, Little Baby Snuggle Fleeter, Music Lesson, Below the Belt). English holds a BFA from East Carolina University and a MFA from UGA.

Lindsay Moore (Props Designer) is a recent graduate from Agnes Scott College. She spent last year as the production intern here at Theatre in the Square and just finished a summer season as Props Artisan at Georgia Shakespeare. She wants to thank all of the people here at Theatre in the Square for giving her the chance to work on Conversations with My Wife.

Mike Post (Lighting Designer) – Mike currently teaches for Georgia Perimeter College and has been designing in Atlanta for over ten years. He has lit shows for many theatres including Tennis at Nablus at The Alliance, A Confederacy of Dunces and Driving Miss Daisy at Theatrical Outfit, King Lear and Love’s Labor’s Lost at Georgia Shakespeare and Some Men and Slasher at Actor’s Express. Mike recently received a Suzi Bass nomination for Lighting Design on T-Square’s Ethan Frome.

Brian Patterson (Sound Designer) – Brian is excited to be back at Theatre in the Square. Brian grew up in the beautiful north Georgia mountains and has a degree in theatre from the University of Georgia. Previously he was on staff here at Theatre in the Square for 14 years but is currently the Director of Technical Services at North Metro Church. Brian is the proud parent of Haley. Thanks to Kathleen and the gang for inviting me back.

Jude Futral (Assistant Stage Manager) is very happy to be working with Heidi, Julie, John, and English again, this time at Theatre in the Square. Atlanta theater and dance companies she has had the pleasure of working with recently include Actor’s Express, Brooks & Company, Essential, Horizon, Lyric, Moving in the Spirit, Room To Move Dance, Theater Emory, and True Colors. Thank you for supporting theater and dance in Atlanta, and enjoy the show!

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