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'Love, Loss' at MLT Explores Clothing's Role in Triggering Memories

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams
The Tube City Almanac
June 25, 2019
Posted in: Entertainment

Rehearsing for "Love, Loss, and What I Wore," a benefit to support McKeesport Little Theater, in front from left, are Nancy Batko and April Ohms. In back are Megan May, Lynne Franks, and Kendra McLaughlin. (Photo: Bonnijean Cooney Adams for Tube City Almanac)


If you go...

   

“Love, Loss, and What I Wore”

Where: McKeesport Little Theater, 1614 Coursin St.

When: 7:30 p.m. June 28 and 29; 2 p.m. June 30

Tickets: All seats are $15. Reservations at (412) 673-1100.

Sometimes the clothes we wore for a special occasion – the prom, our wedding, a funeral – or even that highly anticipated first date that turned out to be a total disaster – trigger memories long after the events themselves have faded.

When McKeesport Little Theater veteran Rose-Lorene Miller read the play “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” by Nora and Delia Ephron, based on a book by Ilene Beckerman, she insisted her friend Linda Baker read it, too.

Baker, who has been affiliated with the community theater in key roles for years, said she liked it so much that she proposed producing it as a benefit. The show runs Friday through Sunday, June 28-30.

She, in turn, asked Pittsburgh-area director Lora Oxenreiter to come on board for the project.

“When I approached Lora, I said, ‘Let’s contact actresses we know,’ so there were no auditions,” Baker said.

“Love, Loss, and What I Wore” is a series of monologues and ensemble performances featuring five women onstage.

The character of Gingy, portrayed by Lynne Franks in the benefit, serves as the narrator throughout.

“Love, Loss, and What I Wore” is a touching remembrance of how women relate to their clothing and how clothes can conjure up memories,” Oxenreiter said. “It offers a whole range of emotions.”

The play initially was performed as a benefit when it debuted in August of 2008.  Nora Ephron, who penned such screenplays as “Silkwood,” “When Harry Met Sally,” and “Sleepless in Seattle,” wrote the introduction to Beckerman’s book and, with her sister, decided to adapt the book into a play.

Actresses such as Tyne Daly, Florence Henderson, Rosie O’Donnell, Fran Drescher, Nikki Blonsky, and Loretta Swit have performed in the show throughout its run.

And while it is adapted from the book, the Ephron sisters reached out to approximately 100 friends to share their stories of how clothes went beyond being fashion statements in the course of their lives.

The producer and director said they are pleased that all the actresses they contacted agreed to do the benefit. Some have appeared on the McKeesport Little Theater stage many times, while others were drawn to the subject matter, bringing their talents from other regional productions where they worked with Oxenreiter or Baker.

The play includes 28 scenes, with titles such as “The Prom Dress,” “The Gang Sweater,” “I Hate My Purse,” “Clothesline: The Bra,” and others, many of a comedic nature, but others very emotional.

Members of the cast, in addition to Franks, are Nancy Batko, Megan May, April Ohms, and Kendra McLaughlin.

Baker also serves as stage manager, with Phillip Boatright as assistant producer, Dylan Baker on light/sound design, Colleen Boatright as light/sound operator, and Liora Ohms on stage crew.


Bonnijean Cooney Adams is a former McKeesport Daily News editor. She may be reached at adamsclick@aol.com.

Originally published June 25, 2019.

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