New in 2017 Roundabout Theatre Company presents the Broadway premiere of Scott McPherson’s award-winning, wildly funny play about the laughter that can shine through life’s darkest moments.
From the producers: Lee is a single mother who's been busy raising her troubled teenage son, Hank. Her estranged sister Bessie has her hands full with their elderly father, his soap opera-obsessed sister—and a brand-new life-or-death diagnosis. Now the women are about to reunite for the first time in 18 years. Are Lee’s good intentions and makeover skills enough to make up for her long absence? Can Bessie help Hank finally feel at home somewhere… or at least keep him from burning her house down? Can these almost-strangers become a family in time to make plans, make amends, and maybe make a trip to Disney World? Exploring an unsentimental reality with hope, compassion and a dose of wonderfully absurd humor, Marvin’s Room is a life-affirming reminder of the gift we give ourselves when we love unconditionally.
McPherson’s widely acclaimed comedy-drama was developed and produced at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre in 1990 and later in New York at Off Broadway's Playwrights Horizons. The playwright also wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of "Marvin’s Room" starring Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Diane Keaton and Robert De Niro. The film was released in 1997, five years after his death. McPherson died of AIDS on November 7, 1992.
The production features comedian and author Janeane Garofalo in her broadway debut. She is joined onstage by Emmy nominee Lili Taylor ("American Crime," "Six Feet Under"), and Tony nominee Celia Weston ("The Last Night of Ballyhoo," "True West"). Obie winner Anne Kauffman directs.
What's the Roundabout? One of the great nonprofit dreadnoughts of the New York theater scene, the Roundabout has three Broadway venues and an Off-Broadway stage in midtown. Prominent artists are usually engaged, significant work is usually done, and even at the smallest of the theaters, the work has the uniform quality that one would expect from such a large and prominent shop. More here.
Thoughtfully directed... keenly performed...a pleasure to watch throughout. But it is somehow, also, fatally mild. This production languishes in the gap between powerful, absurdist comedy and the histrionic (but effective) excess of the three-hanky film. [The] production is smart and refined...but [the play's] wound, shockingly deep though it was, seems to have healed over itself. It would take a great deal more guts, in the production and in us, to risk reopening it now.
While not a conspicuous period piece, [the play] resists updating, and yet lacks the emotional power and resonance to move us from its long-ago vantage. While director Kauffman's take on "Marvin's Room" is frequently funny, it is merely serious when you wish it would be moving. Not that it lacks for issues of current anxiety. By the play's end, when the mirror is again held up in Marvin's room, it remains difficult to see ourselves reflected.