Marvin's Room (play)
|Written by||Scott McPherson|
|Place premiered||Goodman Theatre, Chicago|
|Subject||Family, cancer, death, sisters, humor|
|Setting||1990s Florida, USA|
The play is based upon McPherson's experiences with older relatives who lived in Florida. McPherson cared for his partner, the cartoonist and activist Daniel Sotomayor, who died from AIDS. His experiences living in the darkest days of the AIDS epidemic influenced his writing. McPherson himself died in 1992 of AIDS at age 33.
Bessie, a strong-willed woman, takes care of her bedridden father and eccentric Aunt Ruth. After Bessie is diagnosed with leukemia, her estranged sister, Lee, comes to visit and to be tested as a possible bone marrow donor for her sister. The reunion between the sisters is initially uncomfortable, aggravated by the difficult behavior of Lee's two sons. The two women eventually confront their shortcomings as sisters, reach out to each other, and arrive at an understanding about the importance of family.
Casts of major productions
|Character||1990 Goodman Theatre cast||1990 Hartford Stage cast||1991-92 Off-Broadway cast||1992 West End cast||1994 Los Angeles cast||1996 Film cast||2017 Broadway Cast|
|Bessie Wakefield||Laura Esterman||Laura Esterman||Laura Esterman||Alison Steadman||Mary Steenburgen||Diane Keaton||Lili Taylor|
|Lee Wakefield Lacker||Lee Guthrie||Janet Zarish||Lisa Emery||Phyllis Logan||Jean Smart||Meryl Streep||Janeane Garofalo|
|Hank||Mark Rosenthal||Mark Rosenthal||Mark Rosenthal||-||-||Leonardo DiCaprio||Jack DiFalco|
|Aunt Ruth||Jane MacIver||Mary Louise Burke||Alice Drummond||Carmel McSharry||Jane Cecil||Gwen Verdon||Celia Weston|
It played at The Hartford Stage, opening November 1990.
It ran Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons, opening on November 15, 1991, and closing on February 23, 1992. The play re-opened Off-Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theater in March 1992 and closed on September 6, 1992, directed by David Petraca.
It played at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, from September 1992 to October 1992, directed by David Petrarca.
It played in Los Angeles at the Tiffany Theater in 1994.
A Broadway production ran at the Roundabout Theatre Company at the American Airlines Theatre from June 8 to August 27, 2017. It was directed by Anne Kauffman. The cast included Janeane Garofalo, Lili Taylor, Jack DiFalco, and Celia Weston.
Awards and nominations
- 1991-1992 Obie Award for Distinguished Performance by an Actress - Laura Esterman (winner)
- 1992 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play - (winner)
- 1992 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play - Laura Esterman (winner)
- 1992 Drama Critics' Circle Award Runner-Up, Best American Play (nomination)
- Katie Hogan, Marvin's Room Women Take Care: Gender, Race, and the Culture of AIDS. Published by Cornell University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8014-8753-6. Page 14.
- David Richards, "A Door Left Ajar in 'Marvin's Room'", Washington Post, January 5, 1997.
- Bommer, Lawrence. "Marvin's Room Review", chicagoreader.com, March 1, 1990
- Christianson, Richard, "Review. 'Marvins Room' Offers Up a Breathtaking View", Chicago Tribune, February 20, 1990
- "'Marvin's Room' 1991", lortel.org, accessed September 7, 2016
- Glenn Collins, "Walking the Tightrope That Is 'Marvin's Room'" New York Times, December 12, 1991
- "'Marvin's Room': Life, As It Is and Could Be", The New York Times, March 6, 1992
- Marvin's Room, lortel.org, accessed September 7, 2016
- Rose, Lloyd. "Light-Filled 'Marvin's Room'", The Washington Post, September 18, 1992
- Chicago Tribune, August 8, 1993
- "Mary Steenburgen", Los Angeles Times, accessed November 23, 2016
- Clement, Olivia. "Roundabout Announces Broadway Premiere of 'Marvin’s Room'", Playbill, September 6, 2016
- Clement, Olivia. "Janeane Garofalo and Lili Taylor Will Star in the Broadway Premiere of 'Marvin’s Room'", Playbill, March 28, 2017
- Peter Marks, "Two Wrenching Dramas Find Unexpected New Lives", New York Times, December 8, 1996.
- McPherson, Scott (1992). Marvin's Room (First ed.). New York: Plume drama. ISBN 0-452-26922-9.
- Don B. Wilmeth, Leonard Jacobs, Marvin's Room The Cambridge Guide to American Theatre. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2007. ISBN 0-521-83538-0. page 430.
- Otis L. Guernsey, Jeffrey Sweet, Al Hirschfield (illus),The Applause-Best Plays Theater Yearbook, 1990-1991: Featuring the Ten Best Plays of the Year. Applause Theatre Books, 2000. ISBN 1-55783-107-6. Page 476.
- Marvin's Room. Dramatists Play Service, Inc. 1993. ISBN 978-0-8222-1312-3.
- "MARVIN'S ROOM: A Study Guide", Public Theatre, February 2004
- Room&searchDomain=Production Marvin's Room at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Marvin’s Room at the Internet Broadway Database