TV’s Family Ties stars Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross reunite for ‘Love Letters’ on Palace Stage

Tender, tragi-comic and nuanced examination of the shared nostalgia, missed opportunities, and deep closeness of two lifelong, complicated friends.

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Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross reunite for “Love Letters” Oct. 6 at the Palace Theatre.

MANCHESTER, NH – Fans of the 1980s sitcom “Family Ties” will see the wisdom in this pairing – Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross, aka The Keatons, have reunited for a special run of the play, “Love Letters,” which will be staged for one night at the Palace Theatre, on Oct. 6.

According to this summary of the storyline on dramatist.com, Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner, both born to wealth and position, are childhood friends whose lifelong correspondence begins with birthday party thank-you notes and summer camp postcards. Romantically attached, they continue to exchange letters through the boarding school and college years – where Andy goes on to excel at Yale and law school, while Melissa flunks out of a series of “good schools.” While Andy is off at war Melissa marries, but her attachment to Andy remains strong and she continues to keep in touch as he marries, becomes a successful attorney, gets involved in politics and, eventually, is elected to the U.S. Senate.
Meanwhile, her marriage in tatters, Melissa dabbles in art and gigolos, drinks more than she should, and becomes estranged from her children. Eventually she and Andy do become involved in a brief affair, but it is really too late for both of them. However Andy’s last letter, written to her mother after Melissa’s untimely death, makes it eloquently clear how much they really meant, and gave to, each other over the years – physically apart, perhaps, but spiritually as close as only true lovers can be.
A unique and imaginative theatre piece which, in the words of author A.R. Gurney, “needs no theatre, no lengthy rehearsal, no special set, no memorization of lines, and no commitment from its two actors beyond the night of performance.”
The piece is comprised of letters exchanged over a lifetime between two people who grew up together, went their separate ways, but continued to share confidences. As the actors read the letters aloud, what is created is an evocative, touching, frequently funny but always telling pair of character studies in which what is implied is as revealing and meaningful as what is actually written down.

Beyond acting, Meredith Baxter is also an accomplished writer, artist and mother of five, and grandmother of three. She has starred in four series, including the long-running “Family Ties.” She’s been nominated for four Emmys, and made about 60 movies for television, among them “Betty Broderick: A Woman Scorned.” She’s been in a smattering of plays: Butterflies Are Free, Vanities, Country Wife, toured with Talley’s Folly, Diaries of Adam and Eve and about 30 different productions of Love Letters around the country. Baxter’s New York Times bestselling book, UNTIED, a Memoir of Fame, Family and Floundering, was published in March, 2011. Baxter has performed with Speaking of Stories at Santa Barbara’s Center Stage, and recently she and Michael Gross gave a fundraiser for them with performances of Love Letters. She is a speaker on issues as diverse as alcohol abuse, domestic abuse, breast cancer, abortion rights, and LGBT issues. Aging gracefully with purpose, she just might be writing and speaking about that, too. Baxter lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her wife, Nancy Locke.


During his 40-year career, actor Michael Gross, perhaps best known for his portrayal of father Steven Keaton on NBC’s award-winning Family Ties, has portrayed a remarkable range of characters, including recurring roles on the Drew Cary Show, ERHow I Met Your Mother, USA Network’s Suits, Netflix’sGrace and Frankie, and was a recurring character in two Canadian series, Call Me Fitz and The Stanley Dynamic. He has starred in dozens of television films, guest-starred in numerous television series, and was a series regular on the number one-rated daytime drama, The Young and the Restless. He has appeared on the Broadway stage, in numerous regional theatres, and was the recipient of the Obie Award for his off-Broadway theatre work.

On the big screen, Gross enjoys cult status among sci-fi and horror movie fans for his portrayal of survivalist Burt Gummer in the feature film Tremors, its five sequels, and its Sci-Fi Channel series. He has appeared with Ali McGraw in director Sidney Lumet’s Just Tell Me What You Want, played opposite Lily Tomlin in Big Business, with actor Lucas Haas in the award-winning Alan and Naomi, and with Wynona Ryder in Stay Cool. More recently, he was honored at multiple film festivals for his title role in the award winning short film, Our Father. 

His current projects include a recurring role on The Affair for Showtime, a guest star role on television’s new AP Bio, the feature film release of CampCool Kids; the DVD and on-demand release of Last Call At Murray’s; and the reprise of his role as “Burt Gummer” in Tremors 6, to be released by NBC Universal in May, 2018. He is currently working as an exceptionally large elf on a new Disney feature for the 2019 holidays. Gross is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago and the School of Drama at Yale University in New Haven, CT. He and his wife, former casting director Elza Bergeron have been married for 30-plus years, with two children and two grandchildren. He is the recipient of the American Hero Award for his charitable activities.

The Palace Theatre is located at 80 Hanover Street. Tickets for “Love Letters” are available for the one-night engagement, October 6, 2018 7:30 p.m. VIP with meet & greet: $74.50. All other seats: $54.50.

Click here now to reserve the best seat in the house.