Television icons to invade New Hope

Seven-time Emmy winner Ed Asner plus Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross from ‘Family Ties’ scheduled for new shows at Bucks County Playhouse

The Times

Asner

Three television icons will take the stage in two different shows recently announced by Bucks County Playhouse as part of their winter Visiting Artists Series.

Seven-time Emmy award-winning television icon Ed Asner (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Lou Grant”) is coming to the Playhouse with his one-man comedy “A Man and His Prostate.” Asner will give four performances March 30 — April 1.

Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross, the parents from the five-time Emmy-winning NBC comedy “Family Ties,” will arrive a few days later with a new production of A. R. Gurney’s “Love Letters,” April 4–8.

All three actors are making their Playhouse debuts.

Asner appears in “A Man and His Prostate” written by Philadelphia native, and nine-time Emmy winner, Ed Weinberger. Based on Weinberger’s true-life experience, this one-man comedy is an unflinching, sweet, and personal examination of a man’s experience with pain, relief, and the retrieval of his manhood. Ed’s Italian vacation takes an unexpected turn when he is rushed to a hospital for prostate cancer surgery. As he faces surgery he doesn’t want, in a medical system he doesn’t understand, this old codger decides he won’t take any of life’s injustices sitting down.

Last seen on stage in the Broadway play “Grace,” Asner is one of the most honored actors in television history with 16 Emmy nominations, five Golden Globe Awards, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild. Asner gained wide attention for playing Lou Grant on the breakthrough comedy, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” as well as the dramatic spinoff, “Lou Grant.” Other widely praised television appearances include “Roots,” “Rich Man, Poor Man,” “The Good Wife,” “Criminal Minds,” “Mom,” “The Crazy Ones,” “Chasing Life,” and “Men at Work.” Asner starred in the telefilms “Buddy the Elf” and “All of My Heart.” He is known by younger audiences for voicing Carl Frederickson in the Pixie box-office smash “UP,” which won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature. For the stage, he also toured across the country in his one-man stage play, “FDR” based on the life and career of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

“A Man and His Prostate” was created and written by award-winning Ed. Weinberger, who has been showered with nine Emmys and 3 Golden Globes. He also has earned a Peabody Award. Weinberger wrote for Bob Hope, “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” “The Dean Martin Comedy Hour,” “Taxi” and “The Bill Cosby Show” for eight seasons.

Tickets to Ed Asner in “A Man and His Prostate” are $40 and $55. Special rates available for groups of 10 or more. Performances are Friday, March 30 at 2 pm, Saturday, March 31 at 2 pm and 8 pm, and Easter Sunday, April 1 at 2 pm.

Baxter and Gross will perform A.R. Gurney’s critically acclaimed two-hander, “Love Letters.”

When Andrew (Gross) accepts an invitation to Melissa’s (Baxter’s) birthday party, and Melissa writes a thank-you note, a romantic friendship and correspondence is born that will last more than 50 years! Though their relationship constantly changes, these pen pals remain each other’s most trusted confidantes. A touching romance through old-fashioned pen and paper, “Love Letters” is a disarmingly funny and unforgettably emotional portrait about the powerful connection of love.

Baxter and Gross became America’s favorite parents during their seven seasons on NBC’s “Family Ties,” the comedy series that introduced Michael J. Fox to the American public.

Both actors have had accomplished careers before and after their work on the sitcom. They have continued as friends and colleagues — working together on various film and stage projects.

An actress, writer, artist and mother of five, grandmother of three, Baxter has starred in four series, including the long-running “Family Ties.” She’s been nominated for four Emmys, and made about sixty 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.

Aside from “Family Ties,” Michael Gross has been a staple on TV with recurring roles on “The Drew Cary Show,” “ER,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Suits,” “Grace and Frankie.” He was a series regular on “The Young and the Restless.” On the big screen, Michael was 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.” He recently appeared in the award winning short film, “Our Father.” His current projects include a recurring role on Showtime’s “The Affair,” and a guest star role on television’s “AP Bio.”

Tickets to Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross in “Love Letters” are $40 and $55. Special rates available for groups of 10 or more. Performances are Wednesday, April 4 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm, Thursday, April 5 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm, Friday, April 6 at 8 pm, Saturday, April 7 at 2 pm and 8 pm, and Sunday, April 8 at 2 pm.

For tickets, visit buckscountyplayhouse.org or stop by the box office at 70 S. Main Street in New Hope.