Jessica Lange and Jim Parsons Share Mother Play's Unique Challenges | Playbill

Video Jessica Lange and Jim Parsons Share Mother Play's Unique Challenges

The Emmy winners went on the late night talk show circuit to promote the Paula Vogel play, which began performances April 3.

Jessica Lange and Jim Parsons

Mother Play stars Jessica Lange and Jim Parsons split April 8 to cover the late night talk show circuit, sharing pieces of their process with Seth Meyers on Late Night and Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, respectively. 

With Seth Meyers, Lange recounted the pleasures and pressures of bringing a new play to the stage: a first for the Oscar winner. "It's the first time I've ever done a new play; I've done Williams, I've done O'Neill," Lange shared, referring to her previous Broadway performances in A Long Days Journey into Night, The Glass Menagerie, and A Streetcar Named Desire. Of Streetcar, she recalled, "I remember after our first preview, the director came back and addressed the cast and said, 'Well, at least we know the play works.'" As the audience burst into laughter, Lange nodded with a smirk, "Yes, it was very encouraging."

A few blocks away, Parsons was eagerly extolling the virtues of playing Lange's son on-stage. "So I won't spoil anything, but for an extended period of time, Jessica Lange is alone on stage going about her business," Parsons shared, referring to his favorite scene to observe off-stage. "There's not a single word spoken. And the first time they staged this scene in rehearsal-me and Celia got called in later because they were working on it, so by the time we got to rehearsal, they were ready to run it. And I sat there watching Jessica in silence, moving. As soon as it was over, I was like, 'That is already the best thing I've seen on Broadway this year.' It's incredible. To say you could hear a pin drop, is not even telling you... when the audience is watching her, it is the loudest silence. She's astonishing."

The world premiere of Mother Play by Paula Vogel began previews at Second Stage's Helen Hayes Theater April 3, prior to its April 25 opening night. Directed by Tina Landau (SpongeBob SquarePants), the production also stars Tony winner Celia Keenan-Bolger alongside Parsons and Lange.

Set in 1962 on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., Mother Play explores the power family holds over us through matriarch Phyllis and her children, Carl and Martha, as they reckon with unpacking the past.

Mother Play features scenic design by David Zinn, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Jen Schriever, and sound design by Jill BC Du Boff. Casting is by The Telsey Office.


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