posted September 10, 2007

Hope to Feature “The Belle of Amherst”

Multi-Emmy-nominated actress Linda Kelsey will perform the one-woman show "The Belle of Amherst" on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 21-22, at 8 p.m. at Hope College in the Dewitt Center main theatre.

The play is based on the life and writings of Emily Dickinson, and makes use of her work, diaries, and letters to recollect encounters with significant people in her life. The play had a very successful run on Broadway in 1976-77.

Although it was written by William Luce, the author himself notes that at least half of the lines are taken directly from Dickinson's work. The play splits her earlier and later life between two acts, which are set in her home in Amherst, Mass., from 1845 to 1886.

Kelsey originally took on the role of Emily Dickinson in 2002 and is restaging the show with director Jon Cranney.

Kelsey is best known for her portrayal of reporter Billie Newman in the critically acclaimed CBS series, "Lou Grant." During her five years on the series she received five Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations. She was also a regular in the NBC series, "Day By Day," and co-starred in Billy Crystal's "Sessions" series for HBO.

Her stage experience is extensive and includes productions at the renowned Guthrie Theatre at the start of her career. She has appeared on stages throughout the country and her directors include John Lithgow and Charlton Heston.

Kelsey's television credits include more than 30 different series, including "ER," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "MASH" "and "The Twilight Zone," and she has appeared in numerous television movies and miniseries.

While a student at the University of Minnesota she appeared as Anne Frank in a production by then first-time director, John Tammi. Tammi is now a professor of theatre at Hope College and co-founder of the Hope Summer Repertory Theatre (HSRT).

"We are thrilled to be hosting Linda (Kelsey) in this remarkable performance," Tammi said. "She is a major talent and an utterly charming person."

Tammi said Cranney also has a Hope College connection. After appearing in the first show at the then-new DeWitt theatre, Cranney returned twice to direct for HSRT and was recently a guest director the department of theatre.

Tickets for the performance are $10 for regular adult admission and $5 for senior citizens and students, and are on sale at the ticket office in the DeVos Fieldhouse. The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at (616) 395-7890.

The ticket office is in the main lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse, which is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets. The DeWittCenter is located at 141 E. 12th St. on the corner of Columbia Avenue and 12th Street