WILMINGTON — An Ohio native well-known worldwide is returning to her Uncle Charlie’s theatre — the Murphy Theatre — for a live performance
Amy Yasbeck has done it all, it seems, from movies to TV shows and commercials to theater to activism and fundraising. There’s no limit.
And now she returns to Wilmington — a place she calls her second home — to perform on the Murphy Theatre, a truly significant place to her and her family.
She’ll be joining the Murphy’s Executive Director, Steve Burnette, for a one-night production of “Love Letters” at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 12.
The show is not only a fundraiser for the Murphy, it’s the debut of the new Murphy Stage Company started by Burnette.
Yasbeck’s connection to the Murphy runs deep. Her great-great-great uncle is Charles Murphy, the theatre’s namesake who financed the construction of the theatre over 100 years ago.
It’s also where she married her husband, the late John Ritter, in 1999.
Yasbeck, 59, has been featured in films such as the Jim Carrey comedy “The Mask” (1994) and as Maid Marian in the Mel Brooks parody “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” (1993). She’s also known for her role as Casey Chappel Davenport on the ’90s sitcom “Wings.”
She met John Ritter during the production of the dark-comedy feature film “Problem Child” (1990), in which they played husband and wife. The two would play partners in multiple other productions.
“I knew I wanted to get married in southern Ohio because I’m from Blue Ash, originally. I told John my dream would be to get married on the stage,” said Yasbeck, saying Ritter was in favor of the idea. “His parents (singing cowboy Tex Ritter and actress Dorothy Fay) were probably on the Murphy’s (movie) screen and my parents (John and Dorothy) courted at the Murphy, so I figured let’s get married on the stage.”
Their wedding was officiated by Nick Eveland, then mayor of Wilmington.
Ritter sadly passed away in 2003 after falling into a coma during the filming of his show “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.” The cause of death was due to an undiagnosed congenital heart defect.
Since then, she’s started The John Ritter Foundation, which she chairs. The foundation hopes to prevent “unnecessary suffering because of the unknown” and bring awareness and treatment of thoracic aortic disease (TAD).
“Love Letters” by A.R. Gurney centers around two characters sitting side by side reading notes, letters, and cards they’ve sent to each other where they discuss their hopes, dreams, and disappointments. Her husband also performed the play and she still has his copy of the script.
Yasbeck hopes to do more at the Murphy than just perform.
“I’m a writer, too, and would put up a play there,” she said. “The dream for me would be to have a Wilmington Film Festival for independent film and such.”
She told the News Journal that whenever someone in her business is talking about filming in Ohio, she pushes for the Murphy to be used.
“It’s going to be very interesting to perform there and see how it feels,” she said. “I feel such a kinship with the Murphy … it’s exciting to me.”
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574