Rachel McAdams shows us how to do it in “Mary Jane”






As if I didn’t have enough reasons to not have children. “Mary Jane” written by Amy Herzog (who once again hardens the fact that she is America’s premiere playwright) gives us the best reasons for living a childless life. The economic climate, wealth disparity, food shortages. The future seems nothing but despondent so any effort to have children at this point strikes me as particularly selfish from a parental viewpoint (and I’ve raised both animals and other people’s children). That being said, I currently work with and have worked with many students who were wheelchair-bound and on inhalation devices which is never a sight one wants to behold for their child. The loss of a three-year-old by a mother is not something I could endure and must be just about the worst loss a human can bear.

In “Mary Jane” on Broadway at The Friedman Theater, directed by Anne Kauffman, the play masterfully illustrates the intricate tapestry of motherhood amidst the tumultuous backdrop of raising a special needs child. In a society teetering on the edge of economic, emotional, and psychological crises, the narrative of Mary Jane and her son, Alex, resonates deeply with the struggles faced by many families today.

Set against the backdrop of a modest Queens apartment, the stage design beautifully mirrors the complexity of Mary Jane’s life – cluttered with medications, medical equipment, and the constant hum of caregiver duties– not to mention the actual unending hum of medical equipment. Despite the overwhelming challenges she faces, Mary Jane’s steadfast commitment to caring for her son shines through, painting a vivid portrait of maternal devotion and resilience.

Through the stellar performance of Academy Award nominee Rachel McAdams as Mary Jane, the audience is transported into a world where love knows no bounds and sacrifices are made with unwavering dedication.

Each character, from Mary Jane to her night nurse Sherry played by April Matthis does double duty (as do all the actors) as the very defensive Dr. Torres and contrasts perfectly with the nurse she plays an earlier scene. Brenda Wehle breathes life into two very different characters: Ruthie the Superintendent at Mary Jane’s apartment complex in Queens and Tenkei a newly ordained Buddhist Monk at the hospital where Mary Jane’s son struggles in ICU. Both construed depth and authenticity. In a sense, Ruthie and Tenkei were the same as they were helpers. Though everyone is a helper in this play. We also have Susan Parfour so very believable as both Brianne and Chaya an Orthodox Jewish mother dealing with her own child’s dysfunction. She draws you into her story with a fun vibe and gets the biggest laugh the show has when she refers to “women enjoying breastfeeding” as “propaganda”. Last, but not least, rounding out the cast of five. Lily Santiago stood out as a fresh face that held her own among some serious powerhouse acting from Rachel and the cast. They all helped in inviting viewers to contemplate the profound impact of one woman’s unwavering love on those around her. This cast will win many awards this season. Each character has an unwavering love for what they do, connecting all the characters to Mary Jane and her profound loss.

“Mary Jane” provokes introspection on the essence of motherhood, the boundaries of sacrifice, and the unyielding strength of the human spirit. As we witness Mary Jane navigate the complexities of her life, we are reminded of the extraordinary power of love in the face of adversity, and the resilience that lies within each of us.

In a world where the challenges of raising a child – especially one with special needs – are magnified by economic uncertainty and emotional strain, “Mary Jane” stands as a beacon of hope and inspiration. It is a poignant reminder that amidst life’s darkest moments, light may be found in the unwavering love of a mother and the profound impact of selfless sacrifice.


Run Time : 90 minutes

One Act. No Intermission

For Tickets:


DB Frick
D.B. is a long time writer and performer. He's had the opportunity to work alongside such greats a Martin Scorsese and Jesse Eisenberg. Most recently D.B. was a writer and performer for the podcast The National Lampoon Presents The Final Edition run by comic icon Tony Hendra, whom D.B. has also written with. D.B. was Senior Comedy Writer for The NY Theatre Guide, interviewing many greats and reviewing NYC Comedy. D.B. also has a script used as material in an NYU Tisch writing class taught by mentor, D.B. Gilles. D.B. has also taught Improv and Writing at UCLA and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

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