Mitchell husband, wife take the stage in heartwarming love storyTwo local actors will bring love alive on stage during this year’s Mitchell Area Community Theatre production of “Love Letters.” Dan Miller and Melissa Vatter-Miller, a husband-and-wife team with experience in community and Dakota Wesleyan University theater, comprise the cast of this year’s annual dinner theater, which tells the story of two friends over the years.
By: Jennifer Jungwirth, The Daily Republic
Two local actors will bring love alive on stage during this year’s Mitchell Area Community Theatre production of “Love Letters.”
Dan Miller and Melissa Vatter-Miller, a husband-and-wife team with experience in community and Dakota Wesleyan University theater, comprise the cast of this year’s annual dinner theater, which tells the story of two friends over the years.
“Love Letters” is at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Masonic Temple. Tickets are $28 for the meal and show, or $12 for just the show and dessert. All ACT members receive a $2 discount. Tickets are available at the Antique Mall on Main Street, Mitchell.
The meal includes spinach salad, chicken cordon bleu, green beans almandine, red-skin garlic mashed potatoes, a dinner roll and dessert by Top Tier Cakes.
Proceeds from the show will be split between the ACT and the Mitchell High School theater students, who are in the process of raising money for a trip to England, Scotland and Ireland in June. The students will serve the meal during the show.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning piece, “Love Letters,” written by A.R. Gurney, portrays the correspondence of two friends via letters over the years. Andy and Melissa, both born to wealthy families, began writing to each other in the second grade and continue their correspondence, eventually finding themselves romantically attached.
“They become best friends,” said Vatter-Miller, who is cast as Melissa. “But something is always pulling them apart and then bringing them back together.”
Through the show’s epistolary style, the audience will see their friendship and love grow.
The letters continue until middle age when a tragedy strikes, and Andy, played by Dan Miller, realizes it’s too late to declare his love to Melissa.
The Millers have worked together for more than 21 years in theater, and this show in particular comes naturally to them.
Miller is director of theater at DWU, and Vatter-Miller is a theater director at Mitchell High School.
In the script, Andy is conservative, whereas Melissa is flamboyant and outgoing. Vatter-Miller said those same qualities mirror her and Dan.
“The characters are very similar to he and I. I’m much more the outgoing one and he’s the reserved one,” she said.
If Vatter-Miller isn’t on stage with Miller, she finds herself behind the scenes, working with costumes.
“We collaborate well. Yeah, we butt heads and there are times we do challenge each other.
“He doesn’t think he’s more difficult on me. He just expects more of me,” she said.
Although Miller said there is no set director for the show, Vatter-Miller joked that it’s easier to let her husband take the reins.
Miller said the show resembles their marriage.
“Despite the fact we are husband and wife, we are involved in a show that is about two friends. To have a great relationship, you need to be friends. We’re best friends,” Miller said. “We know everything about each other. And despite that, he added with a laugh, “we’re still together.”
Vatter-Miller said she hopes the audience can take away a few lessons, one being to live in the moment.
“I think to some people this is very cliché, but you need to live in the moment. Say things as they come to you. Don’t wait, because it could be too late,” she said.