|An aggressive promo campaign had|
our star all over town, assuring us
that it was not an Aids play nor a gay
play, and the word "sequel" was
never uttered. Mothers and Sons is
actually all three.
|We never see the titular Andre; in each |
scene, he's either just left the room
or already dead.
Mothers and Sons, as I mentioned, revisited the characters portrayed by Thompson and Thomas, 20 years later.
|Catherine and her dead son's former flame, Cal, have lived|
20 years without communication. Andre's mother suddenly
appears at the NY apt. Cal now shares with his husband
and child. He has moved on from Andre's death, she has
(Actually, McNally has played a little bit with the time frame of these events to enhance the dramatic scope of Mothers and Sons. He's made other changes as well: in Andre's Mother, Cal is a writer, but 20 years later, in Mothers and Sons, he's a financial wiz married to a writer. McNally is famous for tinkering with his plays even after they're finished.)
|The original Cal, Richard Thomas, came to|
support the new Andre's mother.
He's attempting, I think, to examine how the lives of gays have changed in the past two decades, and nobody is better qualified to discuss that issue than McNally. But his play comes off as a debate more than a dramatically satisfying piece, with no action happening onstage, as all the really dramatic moments in the play have happened 20 years ago.
|Tyne Daly as Catherine Gerard.|
|Sada Thompson as Catherine Gerard,|
aka Andre's mother. The resemblance
to Daly is an unusual coincidence.
|Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly as Cagney and Lacey had a lock on the Best Actress Emmy. The show ran 7 seasons, and in 6 of those years, the award was won by one or the other. Daly won 4 times, Gless won twice.|
|For 6 consecutive years, Sharon Gless|
and Tyne Daly were nominated side
by side. Gless lost several years in a
row. She finally won in 1986 and
charmed the crowd when she
proclaimed "Tyne Daly is the most
relieved person in this room."
I was much more interested in the performance her costar Sharon Gless was giving, which seemed, to me, to be much more organic and natural. I always felt I could see Daly make each and every acting decision, while I never saw Gless "acting." Obviously I was in the minority, since Daly was honored so often for this role; Tyne's four Emmy wins as Lacey, and Sharon's two victories as Cagney, meant the duo dominated their category for half a dozen years.
|Daly surprised everybody with her|
unflinching portrayal of Mama Rose.
I've seen Tyne Daly onstage several times, and those performances have changed my mind about her work. I am now a big fan and love her interesting choices. I saw her performance in Gypsy and can attest that, though she did not sing as well as Ethel Merman or Angela Lansbury, her predecessors in the role, she nailed it. She won the Tony in 1989.
|Only a year or so after I saw Daly scorch the stage with "Mama's Turn," she appeared with the Long Beach Civic Light Opera, in a retooled version of the Michael Bennett flop Ballroom. She played the role Dorothy Loudon owned in the short-lived Broadway production (I wrote about seeing that musical here); in this new incarnation, the authors attempted to return to the source material, the TV film Queen of the Stardust Ballroom. This revision did not take off as folks wished, and did not make a hoped-for transfer to better venues. But once again, Tyne nailed the role.|
|Daly was almost unrecognizable as Maria Callas, she gave a|
bravura performance. Master Class indeed.
I suppose Tyne didn't stand much chance of winning this year's Tony, once it was decided that Audra McDonald's portrayal of Billie Holliday was in a play rather than a musical (despite the fact she sings over a dozen songs in her show). I'm afraid McNally didn't have much hope of winning the award for his play either, not when the competition included Bryan Cranston's Broadway debut.
McNally is already moving on, rewriting one of his earliest plays for an allstar cast which will include Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Megan Mullally, and Stockard Channing.
|Before his 4 Tonys,|
McNally wrote this Off-
Broadway script. He is
updating it for a fall opening.
If Ms. Daly is depressed a bit about her show closing, I'm sure this week's Dance Party will make it all better. It comes from one of those Boston Pops concerts which used to appear weekly on PBS, and our Tyne stars in it. It's not the only time I have run across her singing a song written for a man, you haven't lived until you've heard her Tevye. (I'm not kidding, there is a recording of that oddity out there.) For today, though, here's our heroine as Prof. Harold Hill.