Video: How Paula Vogel's Mother Play Is 'Semi-Autobiographical' | Playbill

Video Video: How Paula Vogel's Mother Play Is 'Semi-Autobiographical'

Jessica Lange, Celia Keenan-Bolger, and Jim Parsons play characters based on Vogel's family.

When Tony-winning actor Celia Keenan-Bolger was asked if she wanted to be part of a new play from Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel, she jumped at the chance. "The idea that I would get to originate a role in a Paula Vogel play was very exciting...Even if what [Paula] had sent me was a garbage play, I would have been like, 'I'll be there!,'" she tells Playbill. The play, called Mother Play, is currently in performances on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theater. It will open April 25. See the cast and creative team talk about the world premiere in the video above.

Judging by how enthusiastic the cast and creative team are about Mother Play, the work is not "garbage." It's actually quite personal, says Vogel: "This play has been in my head for a long, long, long time. It's semi-autobiographical." In the new play, Vogel was inspired by her own mother Phyllis Rita, who is played onstage by Oscar winner Jessica Lange. It follows Lange and her two kids, played by Keenan-Bolger and Jim Parsons, over 40 years and five apartments, from the '60s onwards. 

"I love Celia and Jim, I love working with them. We work together very easily, it's very natural and available," enthuses Lange.

This is not the first time that Vogel has been inspired by her own family in her plays. The Baltimore Waltz was based on Vogel's relationship with her brother Carl, who died of AIDS in 1988. Carl is also a character in Mother Play. As Vogel puts it: "Conversations are not over with our parents or our lovers or our siblings after they die. It's a lifelong conversation."

Mother Play is directed by Tina Landau. The cast of Mother Play are supported by understudies Jillian Geurts, Tasha Lawrence, and Zachary Prince

Mother Play features scenic design by David Zinn, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Jen Schriever, sound design by Jill BC Du Boff, production design by Shawn Duan, hair and wig design by Matthew Armentrout, and vocal coaching by Gigi Buffington.

The dance within the piece has been choreographed by Christopher Gattelli. Casting is by The Telsey Office. The stage manager is Braun Bauer, and John C. Moore is the production stage manager.


Photos: Jessica Lange, Jim Parsons, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Creative Team of Mother Play Meet the Press

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