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This couple finds time onstage and off

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You might think a happily married actor-couple finds plenty of opportunity to work together onstage. Not so, say Terry Alexander and Gail Grate (playing Seth and Bertha Holly in TVa's "Joe Turner"). At least not until recently. Their first chance came just two years ago with "Tamer of Horses" at the Crossroads Theater in New Jersey. Next they appeared with TVa as Gooper and Mae in last year's "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Their current stint in "Joe Turner" is only the third time they've worked together in their 10-year history, says Grate, and they're both enjoying the process. "When you start rehearsals," she explains, "you're normally meeting the other actor for the first time. You start at ground zero and have to jump into a relationship, portray a history of many years. Here, we're starting at level 10." Is it very different to play a couple with your real-life partner than it is with just another actor? "The first time it was a little difficult," Alexander says, "because I kept seeing Gail onstage. I would forget props .... But then it became a joy." The couple hopes this togetherness trend continues. "I don't know if I'd say it's catching on," says Grate. "We've only worked together three times! But the theaters we've worked at have realized that it's a boon for us to be together. ... We're normally apart so much of the time. This is really a blessing and a treat."

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