Mothers and Sons
by Terrence McNally
Sheryl Kaller directed the play’s world premiere at Bucks County Playhouse in Pennsylvania earlier this summer. The work is an expanded update of McNally’s 1990 teleplay Andre’s Mother, which aired under the PBS American Playhouse banner. Mothers and Sons marks McNally’s 20th Broadway production. He has won Tony Awards for best play for Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class, as well as for best book for the musicals Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime.
Type & Version
Mar 24, 2014 – Jun 22, 2014
John Golden Theatre, New York, NY
The play concerns a woman who turns up from Texas, 20 years after her son’s death from AIDS, on the Manhattan doorstep of his former lover and his new family. As their values clash, she is challenged to confront aspects of their shared past while contemplating an unexpected future.
Cast (Bucks County Playhouse)
Creative (Bucks County Playhouse)
Scenic Design – Wilson Chin
Costume Design – Jess Goldstein
Lighting Design – Travis McHale
Sound Design – John Gromada
Written by Terrence McNally
Directed by Sheryl Kaller
Ellen Tyne Daly (b February 21, 1946) is an American stage and screen actress, known for her work as Detective Mary Beth Lacey in the television series Cagney & Lacey, Maxine Gray in the television series Judging Amy and as Alice Henderson in the television series Christy. She has won six Emmy Awards for her television work, and the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical in Gypsy: A Musical Fable in 1989.
Daly’s first Broadway role was in 1967 in a short-lived play, That Summer, That Fall. In April 1989, she starred as Rose in a 14 city U.S. tour of the musical Gypsy which finally landed on Broadway in late 1989. This production was the second revival of the show to play Broadway (the first was in 1974 with Angela Lansbury). Daly won the 1990 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in Gypsy. Daly left Gypsy in July 1990, with Linda Lavin playing Rose, and returned in April 1991 through closing in July 1991. Daly appeared in the Broadway revival of the Anton Chekhov play The Seagull in 1992 as Madame Arkadina. She appeared as Sally Adams in the City Center Encores! staged concert of Call Me Madam in February 1995.In regional theatre she played Lola in Come Back, Little Sheba at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, Los Angeles, California in April 1997.
She appeared on Broadway in the 2006 play Rabbit Hole, portraying the mother of the plays protagonist, played by Cynthia Nixon. In January 2008 she played the role of Mother in the world premiere production of the Edward Albee play Me, Myself & I at the McCarter Theatre, Princeton, New Jersey. In 2009, she appeared in the original cast of Love, Loss, and What I Wore. In 2011, she starred as Maria Callas in Master Class at the Manhattan Theater Club on Broadway and created the role of Judy Steinberg in the new musical It Shoulda Been You by Brian Hargrove and Barbara Anselmi, and directed by David Hyde Pierce at George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick, New Jersey, from October 4 – November 6, 2011. In 2012, Daly reprised her role as Maria Callas in the West End Production of Master Class. Also in 2012, she performed at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, PA, in a Cabaret with Malcolm Gets.
Terrence McNally (born November 3, 1938) is an American playwright who has received four Tony Awards, an Emmy Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Grant, the Lucille Lortel Award, the Hull-Warriner Award, and a citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
He has been a member of the Council of the Dramatists Guild since 1970 and has served as vice-president since 1981. McNally was partnered to Thomas Kirdahy following a civil union ceremony in Vermont in 2003, and they subsequently married in Washington, D.C. on April 6, 2010.
His first credited Broadway musical was The Rink in 1984, a project he entered after the score by composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb had been written. In 1990, McNally won an Emmy Award for Best Writing in a Miniseries or Special for Andre’s Mother, a drama about a woman trying to cope with her son’s death from AIDS. A year later, he returned to the stage with another AIDS-related play, Lips Together, Teeth Apart. In the play, two married couples spend the Fourth of July weekend at a summer house on Fire Island. The house has been willed to Sally Truman by her brother who has just died of AIDS, and it soon becomes evident that both couples are afraid to get in the swimming pool once used by Sally’s brother. It was written specifically for Christine Baranski, Anthony Heald, Swoosie Kurtz, and oft-collaborator, Nathan Lane, who had also starred in The Lisbon Traviata.
With Kiss of the Spider Woman (based on the novel by Manuel Puig) in 1992, McNally returned to the musical stage, collaborating with Kander and Ebb on a script which explores the complex relationship between two men caged together in a Latin American prison. Kiss of the Spider Woman won the 1993 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical. He collaborated with Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens on Ragtime in 1997, a musical adaptation of the E.L. Doctorow novel, which tells the story of Coalhouse Walker Jr., a fiery black piano man who demands retribution when his Model T is destroyed by a mob of white troublemakers. The play also features such historical figures as Harry Houdini, Booker T. Washington, J.P. Morgan, and Henry Ford. Ragtime finished its Broadway run on January 16, 2000. A revival production in 2009 was short-lived, closing after only 2 months.
McNally’s other plays include 1994’s Love! Valour! Compassion!, with Lane and John Glover, which examines the relationships of eight gay men; Master Class (1995); a character study of legendary opera soprano Maria Callas, which starred Zoe Caldwell and won the Tony for Best Play; and the least-known of the group, Dedication, or The Stuff of Dreams, with Lane and Marian Seldes.
In 1997, McNally stirred up a storm of controversy with Corpus Christi, a modern day retelling of the story of Jesus birth, ministry, and death in which both he and his disciples are portrayed as homosexual. In fact, the play was initially cancelled because of death threats against the board members of the Manhattan Theatre Club which was to produce the play. However, several other playwrights such as Tony Kushner threatened to withdraw their plays if Corpus Christi was not produced, and the board finally relented. When the play opened, the theatre was besieged by almost 2,000 protesters, furious at what they considered blasphemy. When Corpus Christi opened in London, a group called the Defenders of the Messenger Jesus issued a fatwa sentencing McNally to death.
On January 19, 2008, Robert Forsyth, Anglican bishop of South Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, condemned Corpus Christi (which opened for February’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, a play depicting Judas seducing Jesus): deliberately, not innocently, offensive and they’re obviously having a laugh about it. The play showed Jesus administrating a marriage between two male apostles. Director Leigh Rowney accepted that it would offend some Christians and said: â€œI wanted this play in the hands of a Christian person like myself to give it dignity but still open it up to answering questions about Christianity as a faith system.
McNally’s drama Deuce ran on Broadway in a limited engagement in 2007 for 121 performances. Directed by Michael Blakemore, the show starred Angela Lansbury and Marian Seldes.
The Kennedy Center presented three of McNally’s plays that focus on his works involving opera, titled Nights at the Opera in March 2010. The pieces included a new play, Golden Age; Master Class, starring Tyne Daly; and The Lisbon Traviata, starring John Glover and Malcolm Gets.
McNally has collaborated on several operas, including composer Jake Heggie’s adaptation of Sister Helen Prejean’s book, Dead Man Walking, for which McNally wrote the libretto. In 2007, Heggie composed a chamber opera, Three Decembers, based on original text by McNally titled Some Christmas Letters (and a Couple of Phone Calls, Too), with libretto by Gene Scheer.
McNally’s newest play, â€œMothers and Sons apremiered at the Bucks County Playhouse on June 14, 2013. The play starred Tyne Daly, Manoel Felciano, and Bobby Steggert and was directed by Sheryl Kaller.
Bucks County Playhouse