Love Story Stars Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal Grow Even Closer in Their Stage Performance
02/25/2016 AT 02:00 PM EST
"We love walking on stage together, we never fight, and I admit that Ali owns me," O’Neal, 74, tells PEOPLE after their opening night performance in Fort Myers, Florida Tuesday.
Forty-six years after Erich Segal’s mesmerizing romantic, tragic-drama, which became one of the most beloved films in U.S. history, the stars are touring across the country in Love Letters, the critically acclaimed Broadway play by A.R. Gurney.
The actors play a couple from similar wealthy backgrounds who meet while they are very young, yet go different routes in life. Through a 50-year mostly letter-writing friendship, marriages and families with other people, they never let go of that initial chemistry.
"The play Love Letters is a perfect vehicle for us because we love acting together, and we have had an amazing connection with the audience," MacGraw, 76, tells PEOPLE of the past eight months.
"I adore Ryan, it's such a joy to work with him, and we know each other so well that there is no bull shit, just positive energy."
The actors say they are constantly discovering new things about one and other as they travel from city to city.
"I was amazed to find that both Ryan and I are crazy animal freaks," says MacGraw, who has a dog and cat. "Ryan has two dogs. We both love our animals beyond words."
Agrees O’Neal: "I have to hide in the closet when I am packing to go to another city because my rescue dogs get so upset when I leave. We both wish our animals were with us."