When I found out the cast and creatives of Broadway's Tony Nominated Play Mothers and Sons (Tyne Daly, Terrence McNally, Sheryl Kaller, and Bobby Steggert) were going to be part of the 92nd Street Y Talk Series, I knew I simply had to be there. I have seen this powerful show twice already and while I was already eager to see the show a third time, after tonight's discussion, I need to get back there sooner rather than later! I was so inspired and moved by what I heard tonight.
The evening was moderated by celebrity entertainment blogger Perez Hilton. As far as I know, this was Perez's first time moderating a panel discussion like this and I have to say he did a great job! He asked very inquisitive questions, took questions from the audience, and made the evening very relaxed and fun.
Some of the highlights of tonight's evening that resonated with me was learning that Terrence McNally wrote Mothers and Sons with Tyne Daly in mind as the mother "Katharine Gerard" and Bobby Steggert in mind as the younger lover "Will Ogden." For his process of writing, Terrence likes to write for a specific actor with whom he would like to play the role(s) he's writing for. As far as whether or not the actor will actually play the role is a whole other story, but in the case of Mothers and Sons, both Tyne and Bobby jumped at the opportunity to work with Terrence once again. Terrence also discussed in his process of writing a show that he writes about something specific. In Mothers and Sons, Terrence feels the show is about the coat and the process of "Katharine" taking it off and putting it back on. Tyne agreed and went on to say that she feels "Katharine" can't ever quite get the coat to fit right. It's an interesting insight that I didn't pay as much attention to the first two times around, but now I will take a closer look at this when I go back to see it.
At one point during the discussion tonight, someone described the show as a gay play, but director Sheryl Kaller doesn't think of the show as a gay play. Some of the characters in the show just happen to be gay. She describes the show as a play about family, grief, and love. I couldn't agree more. As I stated earlier, I have seen this show twice and I do believe it's a show about family, learning how live after you lose someone close to you and how to love again. There are so many layers to this show that the themes in the show are universal to everyone.
I also enjoyed learning that Bobby identifies with "Will's" smartness, his love of writing, and that he's a good guy. I have read a few articles that Bobby has written for the Huffington Post and he provides a real insight into himself and his place in this world. Since reading some of Bobby's work, I have an even stronger admiration for him. I aslo agreed with Bobby on the fact that this show is so timely and the freedoms that the gay community have now would not have happened without the rallying of generations before us.
Tyne Daly brought a lot of insight to her character "Katharine." She talked about how she feels "Katharine" is stuck in her beliefs and her upbringing. I concur with this. "Katharine" is stuck, but it's wonderful to watch her growth throughout the show. Tyne also talked about being nominated for a Tony Award and while she likes being recognized by her peers, she doesn't take it further than that because then it can create a divisiveness amongst the cast. I thought that was very humbling of her.
Everyone on stage tonight agreed that Mothers and Sons is a show that will stay with you. It's a show that opens up dialogue for many topics. It's a show that leaves you wanting more, wondering what happens to these characters in the coming years. It makes you really analyze each character. It's a show that gets you to participate whether you laugh or cry during the show and/or have conversations afterward.
I could go on all night about what I found interesting from this panel discussion. The best way to get the full effect of what I've written here is to just go see Mothers and Sons and experience this rich play for yourself. I, personally, am so excited to go back and see Mothers and Sons for a third time with this new found insight into the show.
Mothers and Sons plays on Broadway at the Golden Theatre (252 West 45th Street). Click here for tickets!
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