The Belle of Amherst
General Press Release
At long last the secrets revealed, the poems and mysteries illuminated and the story of Emily Dickinson told as you’ve never heard it before.
When this extraordinary play opened on Broadway with Julie Harris, it was deemed “Magnificent… An arresting, riveting experience.” by the NY Daily News. The captivating production went on to win Harris a Tony Award for Best Actress in 1977 for her outstanding portrayal of Emily Dickinson, one of American’s most famous and enigmatic poets. William Luce brilliantly weaves Dickinson’s poetry and writings from the time she was 15 in 1845 to her death at age 55 in 1886 into a two act play that leaves the audience spellbound. Set in the parlor of the Dickinson home in Amherst, Massachusetts, the audience quickly realizes they are part of the play. Emily interacts directly with her ‘guests’ the audience and also with numerous family members, friends, teachers and loves. She relives the greatest joys and deepest despairs of her life, all with humor, insight and most notably with her unique and mysterious perspectives on love and death.
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Articles & Reviews
Dick Kerekes Review
June 24, 2011
“. . .a truly professional performance, with amazing vocal variety, timing and pacing” READ REVIEW
“many of her poems require us to slow down and ponder, there are no quick answers” READ ARTICLE
Fernandina News Leader
December 2010, Letter to the Editor:
Something magical happened in Fernandina Beach last weekend. Emily Dickinson came to visit. The enigmatic poetess appeared on the old stage of Amelia Community Theatre for only two performances, and even though some may say that it was really a beautiful actress named Sinda Nichols performing on that stage, you can’t convince me that it wasn’t really Emily Dickinson. She transported me to her world of the mid 1800’s and for a full two hours she talked to me about her life, her frustrations, her insecurity, her intriguing poetry. I loved being in her presence. Yes, Sinda-Emily, kudos are deserved. For me, it was one of the most moving and professional shows ACT has ever produced. Ron Kurtz was behind the scenes as director of this one-woman show and applause to him as well. Somehow the intimacy of that old theatre still produces classic drama and Sinda’s standing ovation was well deserved. It was a “tour-de-force” and I can’t imagine the energy it took to sustain all the nuances of the character throughout the show. I felt honored to be in that audience. Congratulations to all involved.
— Jan Davis, Amelia Island
The Lady With All The Answers
General Press Release
This funny and touching one woman play, set in 1975 is an intimate view into the life of Eppie Lederel aka Ann Landers. Set in 1975, from late night to early morning, Eppie wrestles with writing the most important column of her career. Interacting directly with the audience, Eppie/Ann shares some of her most entertaining, controversial, and moving stories and letters in her unique and witty style. This “highly entertaining, frequently moving” and “warmhearted play” takes you on a journey both hilarious and heart breaking – a night to remember.
For the past three years Ms. Nichols has been performing the role of Emily Dickinson in “The Belle of Amherst” directed by Ron Kurtz. She has toured the show extensively in northern Florida, and in the midwest, the west coast and Ireland. Her “masterful” and “exquisitely intelligent” performance has left audiences “seduced, captivated and uplifted”. Now, director Ron Kurtz and actor Sinda Nichols have teamed up to create another inspiring theatrical production, “The Lady With All The Answers”. The debut show in January 2013 performed to a sold out audience, was followed by four sold out performances in March.
Quotes from Sinda Nichols
I love playing two such widely different characters. On the one hand there’s the intensely private Emily Dickinson who shrank from the public eye but thrived in her close knit circle of family and friends. And on the other hand there is Ann Landers/Eppie Lederer who thrived in the spotlight of being a celebrity and thought of her 60 million readers as her friends.
The more time I spend with these two characters, the more I see their similarities. They each had an enormous inner fire and passion for life, language and writing. I think Emily would have loved Eppie’s ability to be quick with a quip. I think Eppie would have loved Emily’s riddles and aphorisms. It’s most fitting that a distant relative of Emily Dickinson’s (Amy Dickinson) took over the Ann Landers column under the name, Ask Amy.
People’s faces always light up when they hear about this play. Almost everyone, male and female, young and old, has a story or memory about a certain column. When I first read the play I was captured by not only the humor in the story, but also Ann Lander’s bravery and conviction to bring up difficult topics. And then when I saw the part called for wearing a fur coat and eating chocolate on stage – it was a match made in heaven!