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Review: Academy Award winner Jessica Lange stars in ‘Mother Play’ on Broadway

Two-time Academy Award winner Jessica Lange stars in “Mother Play”‘ on Broadway.

Celia Keenan-Bolger and Jessica Lange in 'Mother Play'
Celia Keenan-Bolger and Jessica Lange in 'Mother Play.' Photo Credit: Joan Marcus.
Celia Keenan-Bolger and Jessica Lange in 'Mother Play.' Photo Credit: Joan Marcus.

Two-time Academy Award winner Jessica Lange stars in “Mother Play”‘ on Broadway. It is being performed at the Hayes Theater, and it is done without an intermission.

Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel has written a humorous and unflinchingly honest new play about the hold our family has over us and the surprises we find when we unpack the past.

Tina Landau does an exceptional job with its direction and bringing Vogel’s screenplay to life in a refreshing manner.

It’s 1962, just outside of D.C., and matriarch Phyllis (Jessica Lange) is supervising her teenage children, Carl (Emmy winner Jim Parsons) and Martha (Celia Keenan-Bolger), as they move into a new apartment.

Phyllis has strong ideas about what her children need to do and be to succeed. Bolstered by gin and cigarettes, the family endures or survives the changing world around them.

This is a show that blends flares of imaginative theatricality, surreal farce, and deep tenderness. This bumpy roller coaster ride reveals timeless truths of love, family, redemption, and forgiveness.

Lange’s acting runs the gamut, and she will leave the audience drenched in a wide spectrum of raw feelings: she is witty, miserable, and commanding, all in one. Lange steals every scene she is in, and she makes everyone better around her, proving that she is a giving actress. A truly “wow” performance all around.

Lange should be locked for a Tony nomination (and win) for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Play.” She layers her emotions well as she portrays a ferocious woman who is trying to cope with divorce, alcohol (gin), and smoking cigarettes.

What makes it an even more superb performance, is that Lange plays a woman who is trying to be young again. Her co-stars Jim Parsons and Celia Keenan-Bolger are also memorable in their own right. “Mother Play” garners an A rating.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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