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Message Theater

And I Love You Richard 

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"And Richard I Love you"

…And I Love You Richard is the redemptive journey of Richard to heal the estranged relationship with his daughters after spending time in jail for the alleged murder of their mother Aleta. Richard, a former corporate attorney, and his second wife return to Boston to regain custody of the girls whom he hasnt seen in seven years. The play delves into dysfunctional family systems, legal manipulation, the misuse of patriarchal systems of power and the need for whole life and community healing. It also Illuminates the layers of domestic violence, entangled with moral and ethical issues regarding child custody when one parent has murdered the other.

Directed by
Keenan Williams

Written By
Osunnike Anke


Emannuel “Manny” Thurman -(Richard) received his BFA in Theatre from the University of Kentucky. He has since performed with numerous area theatres. He has worked with Message Theater in "A Raisin In The Sun", "Piano Lessons", Twelve Angry Jurors and most recently in Frank X Walkers "I dedicate this ride: the making of Isaac Murphy as Isaac Murphy. He has been seen in Woodford Theater's Miracle on 34 th Street (Fred Galey) and Rumors (Glen Cooper). Black Lives Matter: 1619 to Now (Ace). He has also performed in BCTC's Merry Wives of Windsor. 

Dawn Runyon, “Mama,” made her theatre debut at 50 years old in 2022, as the lead character “Becky” in Becky’s New Car with Studio Players. A year later, she returned to the stage as “Kendra Ellis-Connor” in the highly esteemed Bluegrass Theatre Guild/Message Theatre’s production of American Son. Dawn has found a kindred connection to her personal life and the characters she has portrayed, and “Mama” is no different.  As a domestic violence survivor and violence prevention specialist she has firsthand experience with the devastation that intimate partner violence causes. She hopes that this production will pull back the veil and encourage healing for not only the victims, but those family members and friends who are often silent “bystanders”. 

Dawn's love for acting, sparked in high school and reignited in this later phase of her life is evident as she embodies the characters that she portrays. She recently received IMDb credit and is adding to it for her recurring and guest starring roles in several Star Trek Fan Film series including, DreamTime, and most recently Periphery, released by Potemkin Studios.  You may recognize her as a former contestant on the nationally syndicated game show, Deal or No Deal, where her highly rated episode from 2008 continues to run on the Game Show Network and YouTube.


Erica Tilford (Aleta’s Spirit) has performed on stage for over 20 years. Her recent credits include Kathy in “Canyon’s Edge” at Studio Players, Addaperle in “The Wiz”, and Lorrell Robinson in “Dreamgirls” at Distilled Theatre Company. Erica enjoys serving her community through her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the Kentucky State University Alumni Association, and the performing arts. She is delighted that this story is coming to the stage and hopes it sparks needed conversations, forgiveness, and change within our community.


Matthew T. Burney (Jr.) was born and raised in NY, but relocated to Lexington, Kentucky in 2019. He is a trained actor holding two degrees: an Associates degree in performing arts, and a Bachelor’s degree in musical theater. He is known in the community as a poet. Most recently recently returning to the stage with acting, dancing. He is also a model with Uniquiness Unlimited Models and Images Modeling Agency.


Evender Hodges Sanders (Kathy) is an actor, director, playwright, and the founder/owner of Ingénueity Unlimited. (FB: @IngenueityUnlimited, IG: @ingenueityunlimited.) Her recent acting credits include 12 Angry Jurors (Juror #1) with Message Theatre; Blithe Spirit (Elvira), Sleepy Hollow (Charlotte), and Lend Me a Tenor (Diana) with Woodford Theatre; Superhero (Rachel) and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Judy) with Studio Players; By a Thread (Princess Berdine) with Ingénueity Unlimited; Mediums, Mischief, and Murder (Glinda Sweet) with Bluegrass Mystery Theatre; Salome (Queen Helen) with Crucible Media; and Blocked (Anita) with She Dreams Content. She is also cast as Milady de Winter in Leed’s Center for the Arts’ upcoming May presentation of The Three Musketeers.  Much love to her husband Mike, her daughters Olivia and Audrey, the cast and crew, and to YOU for supporting the arts and this important story.

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Jonathan Hall (Byrd) is honored to work with Message Theater and perform on the historic Lyric Theatre stage for the first time.  A few of his previous shows include Sleepy Hollow (Ichabod Crane) with Woodford Theatre and Julius Caesar (Julius Caesar) with AppShakes. Special thanks to his talented castmates for bringing this play to life.

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