Doctor, former dean to star in TheatreVCU production

Taneasha White
Contributing Writer

TheatreVCU this week will welcome patrons to its first production of the school year: A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters.”

The play stars Nancy Langston, a former dean of the School of Nursing, and Richard Wenzel, a former chairperson of the department of Internal Medicine. The pair are joining forces with director David Leong on the production.

Leong said “Love Letters” is a play that offers a look into the character’s personal lives through letters. He said the play will be a change of pace for attendees of past TheatreVCU productions.

“This play is different from other plays VCU has put on because normally there is direct dialogue between the characters, but this one is told through the letters, but is just as personal,” Leong said.

Langston, who recently retired, said she took the part to try something new. Being a dean and acting share some similarities, she said.

“They both require you to be put in front of people, having them judge how well you’re doing,” Langston said.

Langston said the difference, though, is the range of emotion she’s expected to give.

“(Leong) said that my range as dean was probably two to five at best, but on stage I’m expected to go from one to 10,” Langston said. Despite the grueling rehearsals, she said she has fallen in love with the play.

Like Langston, Wenzel said he sees the process as difficult, but worth it.

“I find (it) wonderfully fulfilling and perhaps a special challenge to my otherwise comfortable zones in medicine,” Wenzel said.

Wenzel is a world-renowned expert in infectious diseases. This is his second TheatreVCU production; he also appeared as Vince in the 2011 production of “Grease.”

“Love Letters” opens Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Raymond Hodges Theatre in the W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts on 922 Park Ave. A second showing is scheduled for Sept. 15 at 3 p.m. Admission costs $10 with a valid VCU ID and $20 for VCU faculty and staff.

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