Barbara and James Deutmeyer needed to keep the flames of love alive during their long-distance courtship. The couple became engaged, then James taught in Maquoketa as Barbara was still in college working on her teaching degree.

They turned to daily phone calls and frequent letters to help to keep their love alive.

So it’s fitting that they’ll be reading love letters to each other next week as part of a Valentine’s Peace Pipe Players production.

Barbara will read a letter written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning while James reads Robert Browning’s letter that he wrote to Elizabeth on their wedding day.

It’s part of “An Evening of Romance.”

Peace Pipe Players is getting cozy with the Maquoketa Art Experience to provide another sweet Valentine’s Day treat for theater lovers. Director Colleen Miller and assistant director Shawn Vazquez are preparing for “An Evening of Romance” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, at the MAE building, 124 S. Main St., Maquoketa.

Tickets are on sale at the Maquoketa Area Chamber of Commerce office or online at for $13 prior to the event or for $15 if bought on the day of the event. Ticket price includes refreshments.

Note that you can be single and still enjoy the performance.

Entertainment for the evening will consist of two acts. Part I includes two short plays: “Mrs. Sorken” by Christopher Durang and “Sure Thing” by David Ives. Janet Burrow will perform the character of Mrs. Sorken, who will share why she loves live theater, and in the second play Kaitlin Luett and Levi Burzlaff will explore how just a few simple words can lead to love — if they are the right words. 

Part II will focus on historic love letters by various famous men and women, from Abigail Smith Adams to George H. Bush, with Beethoven, Virginia Woolf, Mark Twain, and several other well-known men and women represented. The cast of letter readers include June Wahl, Luke Kutsch, Levi Burzlaff, Dennis and Natasha Payne, Nathan Woodward, Liz Finn, Jason Losh, Barbara and James Deutmeyer, Denny Burzlaff, David Vazquez, Stephanie Sagers, Kaitlin Luett, Kelly Darr, and Jay Kahn. 

John Burrow will be the emcee.

Miller said she is excited to have several people back in the cast from her production of “Love Letters” last year, as well as introducing some new acting faces to the community. She mentioned how fun it is putting couples together to see how they relate to the character’s letters they are sharing. 

If you listen closely you may even pick up some pointers about how to write a letter to woo your sweetheart, Miller said.