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Las Cruces two ‘best’ actors star in ‘Love Letters’ Valentine’s Day at Black Box Theatre


Continuing a long-standing tradition, Black Box Theatre (BBT) will present a single performance of A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters” at 8 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, Feb. 14.

Veteran Las Cruces actors Karen Buerdsell and Ed Montes will perform.

Buerdsell is currently appearing in BBT’s production of “Love, Loss, and What I Wore.” Montes last appeared at BBT in its production of “The Standby Lear” last May.

Buerdsell and Montes were voted best actress and best actor in the 2022 Bulletin’s Best.

Montes has a personal connection with Gurney (1930-2017), who was his freshman college advisor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1970, where Gurney was a professor of humanities. Montes graduated from the prestigious university with a degree in mathematics in 1974.

“Professor Gurney was incredibly helpful in guiding me, this kid from a little west Texas town, through the maze of high-powered academia in which I found myself,” Montes said. “He made MIT, and Boston itself, approachable,” Montes said.

“Even though I was planning to major in science or math, in my application I emphasized theater as one of my principal high school activities,” Montes said. “Because of that, I guess, I was assigned, of all things, a professor of humanities as my freshman advisor. He turned out to be professor Albert R. “Pete” Gurney, the playwright of this piece. He shepherded me quite ably and very patiently through that first year, transitioning from high school to college. He was already an established writer but had not yet sprung forth with ‘Love Letters.’ I am both proud and humbled to be a part of this production and dedicate my performance to his memory,” Montes said.

“Love Letters,” which premiered at the New York Public Library in 1988, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play has had both Broadway and Off-Broadway productions.

Gurney was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame and of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City in 2004 and received an Obie (Off-Broadway theatre awards) lifetime achievement award in 2016. He and Molly, his wife of more than 60 years, had four children.

“Love Letters” had its first performance at BBT in 2001 and was also performed at BBT in 2002, 2005 and 2022.

Tickets are $12-$15 and are available online at http://no-strings.org/tickets.php and also will be available at the theatre before the performance until all seats are filled.

BBT is located at 430 N. Main St. downtown.

Visit http://no-strings.org/ and https://argurney.com/.