'Mothers and Sons' Calls It Quits on Broadway

Joan Marcus
Frederick Weller and Tyne Daly in "Mothers and Sons"

The Tony-nominated play, which stars Tyne Daly, Frederick Weller and Bobby Steggert, will close on June 22 after two months of playing to houses of 50 percent capacity or less.

NEW YORK – After limping along at the box office for most of its run, and going home empty-handed from the Tony Awards on Sunday night, Terrence McNally's Mothers and Sons will close on Broadway, setting June 22 as its final performance.

Produced by McNally's husband, Tom Kirdahy, and directed by Sheryl Kaller, the play opened at the Golden Theatre on March 24 following a month of previews. It will have played 33 previews and 104 regular performances by the time it closes.

Mothers and Sons reflects on the changing nature of families and the shift in the way gay relationships are experienced and perceived in contemporary America. It stars Tyne Daly as a conservative woman who pays an unexpected visit to the New York apartment of her late son's partner, played by Frederick Weller. Unlike her, he has been able to put the loss behind him, rebuilding his life with a husband (Bobby Steggert) and a young son.

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The drama scored two Tony Award nominations, for best play and for Daly's lead performance, but lost in both categories.

Reviews were mixed for the production, which struggled to attract audiences from the start. It has been playing to houses of 50 percent capacity or less, and weekly grosses under $200,000, even in the weeks leading up to the Tonys. Total gross to date stands at $3.1 million.

Producers have announced that discussions are underway for a national tour, with details to come. In addition to Kirdahy, lead producers on the Broadway run include Roy Furman, Paula Wagner & Debbie Bisno, and Barbara Freitag & Lorraine Alterman Boyle.

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McNally is a four-time Tony honoree, winning twice for best play, with Love! Valour! Compassion! (1995) and Master Class (1996), and twice for book of a musical, with Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993) and Ragtime (1998).

The playwright will be back on Broadway in the fall with an updated revival of his theater-biz comedy It's Only a Play, directed by Jack O'Brien. That production is scheduled to begin performances Sept. 4 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, with a cast that includes Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, F. Murray Abraham, Stockard Channing, Megan Mullally and Micah Stock.