Just in time for Mother’s Day, we round up the great moms of musical theater, past and present.
When you go into a store to buy a Mother’s Day card, you see more than cards for mothers.
“To my Grandmother on Mother’s Day” . . . “To my Aunt on Mother’s Day” . . . “To my Stepmother on Mother’s Day” . . .
Yes, there are plenty of women in our lives who we’d like to thank on the second Sunday in May. And if there were Mother’s Day cards for such women in musicals, we’d all go broke buying for our favorites.
Right now on Broadway, we have a few musical theater mothers — although you only have until September 5 to see Donna, Sophie’s mother in Mamma Mia! Although Donna has kept her child’s paternity a secret — despite the kid desperately wanting to know just who her father is — there’s no question that Donna has been a devoted single mother. Since 2012, Judy McLane has let the audience experience Donna’s warmth and dedication. She’s worth at least a card, even an oversize one.
Then there’s Anna Leonowens in The King and I, as played by five-time Tony nominee Kelli O’Hara. Not only is Anna a caring single mother to her son, Louis, but she’ll soon become a honorary stepmother of sorts to a bevy of Siamese children. In fact, despite all the conflict she has with the King, her maternal instincts are what really keep her in Siam. She’d leave at a moment’s notice if it weren’t for “the children, the children; I’ll not forget the children.” Imagine how many cards and presents Anna would receive if only Siam would observe Mother’s Day.
We believe Fantine would have been an excellent single mother too, if indeed Victor Hugo and the creators of the musical Les Misérables hadn’t killed her off so early. How nice she returns in the final scene so she can see how well things have turned out for her daughter. Address all cards to Erika Henningsen, who now plays Fantine in the second long-run revival of the legendary hit.
Granted, in It Shoulda Been You, no one in the bride’s family is inclined to send the mother of the groom as much as a postcard. But to be fair, no one in the groom’s family will be rushing to the card store either. But every show needs conflict, doesn’t it, so Judy Steinberg (Tyne Daly) and Georgette Howard (Harriet Harris) are there to provide the slings and arrows of outrageous insults. And yet, we never have any doubt that what they most want in life is for their kids to be happy.
Speaking of Tyne Daly, in the 1989–1990 season she made a Tony-winning name for herself by playing the most famous mother in Broadway musical history: Rose Hovick of Gypsy. The character is often called Mama Rose, but let’s take this opportunity to point out that she’s never referred to by that name in the long two-and-a-half-hour show. Not once.
Some have called Madame Rose the mother from show business hell, given the pressures she put on her two daughters, June and Louise. Indeed, Rose’s “My way or the highway” attitude does cause June to find the nearest turnpike out of town. But Rose does want what she sincerely thinks is best for her girls, even if her modus operandi is subject to question.
And yet, for all of Rose’s demands, intransigence, and chicanery, the adult Louise had to admit that she did benefit from her mother pushing her into show business. If she hadn’t, to quote Rose in her dramatic eleven o’clock number: “Then where would you be, Miss Gypsy Rose Lee?”
So this May 10, let’s send Rose a card and even buy her a nice container of Chinese food. After all, she’s not the worst mom in musical theater: That distinction would have to go to the shogun’s mother in Pacific Overtures. When she realizes that her son is incapable of taking action against the foreign military men who’ve come to Japan, she takes her own action — and poisons him. No card for you, Ms. Shogun’s Mother!
A much more palatable mother is Edna Turnblad in Hairspray. Granted, she discouraged her ample-sized daughter, Tracy, from trying to get into show business, but her motivation was to shield the girl from criticism and rejection. However, if anyone tries to disparage her darling, watch out. In truth, Edna and Tracy have one of the best mother-daughter relationships in musical theater history. As a result, Tracy should deliver an oversize card and present.
Also worrying that her “girl isn’t pretty like a Miss Atlantic City” is Rose Brice, mother of Fanny in Funny Girl. She too has her doubts that her ungainly daughter can succeed on stage, although she maintains (at least in the Broadway musical) that she “taught her everything she knows.” And while we could see that Rose questioned Fanny’s marrying a professional gambler, she doesn’t resort to “I told you so” when it all falls apart. Rose, like the best mothers, offers sympathy instead.
Kay Medford, the actress who originated Rose and repeated the role on film is the only performer to ever be nominated for both a Tony and an Oscar for playing a mother in a musical — well, unless you count Barbra Streisand in the same property. Fanny doesn’t start out as a mother, but she becomes one during the second act. But given that we don’t even get a glance at the baby, Fanny doesn’t quite count.
Bloody Mary in South Pacific may be seen as a glorified madam by some, for she’s willing to hand over her daughter Liat to a serviceman who will have his way with her. On closer examination, however, we can see this mother wants a better life for her child. She hopes that Lieutenant Cable will take her daughter to America and give her a much better, richer, and more fascinating life than she would ever have, even in the tropical paradise of Bali H’ai.
Golde in Fiddler on the Roof also wants what’s best for her daughters — which she determines is a softer and more affluent life than the one she’s endured for 25 years with the village milkman. So when wealthy butcher Lazar Wolf wants to make her daughter Tzeitel his wife, Golde is thrilled. Never mind that Lazar isn’t young or handsome, nor does he have anything in common with the girl; she’ll have steak every night. However, once Tzeitel marries Motel, the man of her dreams, Golde is supportive. Because she makes the leap, let’s give her a Mother’s Day card, present, and credit where credit is due.
We could also send a Mother’s Day card to the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music, for she is indeed a most maternal figure to Maria Rainier. In aiming to solve a problem like Maria, she chooses to send the lass to become a governess at Captain von Trapp’s mansion. Maria protests and begs not to go, but Mother knows best, as Maria would eventually see. She wouldn’t have fame, fortune, and — certainly most important of all — love from a husband and seven children had she not left the convent.
The Sound of Music has made Maria von Trapp the most famous stepmother in Broadway musical history. But there are other worthies who deserve recognition on this Mother’s Day. And while the returns aren’t all in on Nellie Forbush of South Pacific — after all, we see her spend no more than five pleasant minutes meeting the kids she’ll be shepherding for the next 10 years or so — we have faith that Nellie will turn out to be a splendid stepmother. Optimism, be it cockeyed or grounded, is a nice asset for any mother to have.
The mother simply known as Mother in Ragtime becomes an honorary stepmother in one of the most courageous acts in all of musical theater — especially considering that the show takes place in 1906. When Mother finds a black baby in her backyard, she takes him in. After she discovers the babe’s mother, she gives her food, shelter, and clothing too. When Father returns home and doesn’t approve, she doesn’t let him stop her. As she later sings in the stirring aria, “We can never go back to before.”
As for grandmothers, there’s Abuela Claudia in In the Heights. She raised Usnavi when his parents could not. Now she holds a winning lottery ticket, and she is happier for him than she is for herself, because he has more of his life ahead of him than she does. That, sadly enough, turns out to be true. At least Usnavi really appreciated the lady when she was alive; here’s betting that he showed his gratitude with more than just a card every Mother’s Day.
There have been many nice aunts who have stood in for mothers in musicals: Aunt Eller in Oklahoma! and Auntie Em in The Wiz are two. The one who comes most to mind, however, is Auntie Mame Dennis. Her nephew Patrick is thrust upon her after his sole remaining parent has died, but Mame relishes the opportunity to open new windows for this boy and show him how to live life to the fullest.
True, they do come to an impasse as Patrick grows older, but isn’t that always the case? Happily, by show’s end, the older and wiser Mame turns out to have been correct on who was the right wife for Patrick. Now she’s ready to be a great aunt to Patrick’s son — although we could argue that she was a great aunt to begin with. To paraphrase one of her best songs: “We need a little Mother’s Day now,” for her and all the rest.
Last updated and effective as of January 14, 2019
Introduction and Your Acceptance of These Terms
Information We Collect
Information we collect directly from you: Your provision of your personal information to Us is completely voluntary; it is not a statutory or contractual requirement. Personally Identifiable Information (“PII”) is information that is uniquely identifiable to you, such as your name, address, email address, phone number, credit card number and other personal information that is not otherwise publicly available. Certain features of Our website may require that you provide Us with your personal information, including:
Mobile Alert Sign-Up (SMS)
Contact Us (email)
Public forums (e.g. message boards)
E-commerce (ticket purchases)
Your use of any of the features above;
New content on Our website;
News that We think may interest you about Us;
Responses to your questions/comments to us; and
Information relating to a ticket purchase.
We may use your demographic information for in house statistics, advertising and marketing target information. Our processing of your personal information is necessary for the performance and fulfillment of the contract between us and to provide you with Our services. We will also process, transfer, disclose and preserve personal information when We have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary, to resolve disputes, enforce our agreements and otherwise required by law. You can always opt-out of receiving future promotional communications from Us; see the Choice/Opt-out section below.Information We Collect Automatically: Even if you don’t use any of the features above, when you visit Our website, We may collect certain information about you.
From your Browser. For example, Our servers keep an activity log that tracks all visitors to the website. The information in the activity log does not identify you individually. The information collected may include among other data: your IP address, your registered domain or home server, time of access, date of access, web page(s) visited, number of clicks, software crash reports, type of browser used, session identification number, search terms, search results, access times and referring website’s address. We use your IP address to help diagnose problems with Our server and to administer Our website. Your IP address is also used to gather broad demographic information, such as country of origin and geographic location. We use such data in the aggregate to run internal analyses to improve upon your experience on Our website.
Tracking Tags (also known as “web beacons,” “action tags” or “single-pixel gifs”). Our website may also use tracking tags. Tracking tags are invisible graphics embedded in the pages of Our website that are programmed to collect non-personal information about your use of Our website. Like cookies, tracking tags provide overall usage patterns for Our website that We use for analysis and to provide personalized services and advertising content.
We comply with the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising set forth by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). You can opt-out of targeted advertising from certain providers at www.aboutads.info/consumers.
How We Use Your Personal Information
The personal information We collect allows Us to keep you posted on updates to Broadway Direct. It also helps Us to improve Our services, content, and advertising. If you don’t want to be on Our email list, you can opt out anytime by clicking the “unsubscribe” button or sending an unsubscribe email to [email protected]. From time to time, We may use your personal information to send transactional emails, such as communications about purchases and changes to Our terms, conditions, and policies. Because this information is important to your interaction with Broadway Direct, you may not opt out of receiving these communications. We may also use personal information for internal purposes such as auditing, data analysis, and research to improve Broadway Direct’s services, and customer communications. If you enter into a sweepstakes, contest, or similar promotion We may use the information you provide to administer those programs.
Information Collected By/Shared With Third Parties
Third Parties Doing Work for Us. Third parties have no rights to use any data We have collected on your behalf. However, We may employ other companies or individuals to perform functions on Our behalf, such as sending postal mail, email, and text messages, conducting sweepstakes/contests, prize fulfillment and promotional activities, analyzing data, providing marketing assistance, processing credit card payments and providing customer service. These outside suppliers, agents and vendors have access to your personal information only as needed to perform their functions.
Third Parties with Links from Our Website. From our website, you may be able to click on links to third party sites to buy tickets and merchandise and for other purposes. These third party sites may collect information, including personal information. We are not responsible for, nor do we have access to the information they collect. The collection of this information is governed by the privacy policies on the applicable third party sites.
Social Networking Services. Our website may integrate with social networking services. We do not control such services and are not liable for the manner in which they operate. While we may provide you with the ability to use such services in connection with our website, we are doing so merely as an accommodation and, like you, are relying upon those third party services to operate properly and fairly.
When necessary. We may also release personal information when we believe, in good faith, that such release is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of Ourselves, Our clients, Our users, or others. We may disclose personal information about you to law enforcement, other government officials, or other third parties, as We, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate, in connection with an investigation of fraud, intellectual property infringement, or other activity that is illegal or may expose Us to legal liability.
Transactions With Third Party E-commerce Partners, Vendors and Advertisers
Delivery of Advertising and Other Content
In addition to ads and content that We may serve you directly, We use third-party advertising companies and marketing services companies to serve ads and other content when you visit Broadway Direct and elsewhere on the internet and in other media. Both We and these companies may use information about your visits to Broadway Direct and elsewhere to serve ads and other content to you. In the course of doing so, a unique third-party cookie may be placed or recognized on your browser by such companies. In addition, We and these companies may use Web beacons to help manage Our online advertising and content. These Web beacons enable Us and the third-party companies to recognize a browser’s cookie when a browser visits this Site and to learn which banner ads bring users to our website and to serve you ads that you may find of interest elsewhere on the internet and in other media. Both Broadway Direct and these companies may use information obtained from your visits to Broadway Direct or other websites, and information received from you offline in order to provide advertisements about goods and services and other content of interest to you across the internet and in other media. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used in this manner by Our third party advertising companies, please visit http://www.networkadvertising.org/optout_nonppii.asp and/or www.aboutads.info/choices. European users may opt out of receiving targeted advertising by visiting http://www.youronlinechoices.eu/. In addition, we may provide PII and Anonymous Information to marketing services companies. This may include information we received from you offline or online. These companies may combine information we provide (including PII and Anonymous Information) with personal and anonymous information they may have about you, using cookies they place or that We place on their behalf, as described in the section regarding “Cookies and Tracking Tags”. We require these companies to delete the PII we provide them. These companies may use the resulting non-personal information and such cookies for their own marketing purposes, and they may provide the same to their customers for their customer’s marketing purposes. Some of Our emails may contain tags that allow Us and Our advertisers and other partners to determine the types of content that may be of interest to you. Those tags may contain PII and may be shared with others to the same extent indicated in the section regarding “Cookies and Tracking Tags”. Those tags may not be deleted but you can opt out of receiving the emails.
Use of This Site by Children
The Site is not directed to individuals under the age of thirteen (13), and We request that such individuals do not provide personal information through the Site. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that his or her child has provided Us with PII without the parent or guardian’s consent by, for example, misrepresenting his or her age, that parent or guardian should contact us at [email protected]. If Broadway Direct determines that it has collected personal information of children under the age of 13, Broadway Direct will immediately delete such information and any accounts believed to be held by children under 13. In addition, we may not collect or process information from a citizen of an EU member state under the age of sixteen (16) without such person’s parental consent. If you are a citizen of an EU member state under the age of 16, please tell your parents that you are using the Site and have your parents email Us at [email protected] so that We may delete any information We may have collected about you.
California Civil Code § 1798.83 permits California residents to request information about whether we have disclosed personal information to any third parties for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes. California residents have the right to request in writing: (a) a list of the categories of Personal Information, such as name, email address and mailing address and the type of services provided to the customer that a business has disclosed to third parties (including affiliates that are separate legal entities) during the immediately preceding calendar year for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes and (b) the names and addresses of all such third parties. To make a request, please contact Us at the following email address: [email protected].
Rights of EU Data Subjects
If you are a resident of the European Union, under the GDPR, European Union residents, as data subjects, have the following rights:
Right to access – This right allows individuals to obtain confirmation as to whether or not personal information concerning him or her is being processed and provide access to such personal information. It also allows individuals to request details of the processing of his or her personal information, including, without limitation, categories of recipients to whom the personal information have been or will be disclosed and purposes of processing.
Right to rectify – This right allows individuals to rectify any inaccurate personal information about him or her.
Right to restrict processing – This right allows individuals to block or suppress processing of personal data under certain circumstances.
Right to be forgotten – This right is also known as the “right to erasure”. It is an individual’s right to have personal data erased or to prevent processing in specific circumstances.
Right of data portability – This right allows individuals to move, copy or transfer personal data from one place to another in a secure manner without interrupting the integrity and usability of the information.
Right to object to processing – This right allows individuals to object to certain types of processing, including direct marketing, profiling and providing for purposes of scientific or historical research and statistics.
An EU resident has the right to access his or her personal data that We hold and to ask that their personal data be corrected or erased and to port their data. An EU resident may also have the right to object to, or request that We restrict certain processing or to withdraw consent previously provided. If you would like to exercise your rights under the GDPR, please contact us at [email protected]. If you are an EU resident and have a concern about our processing of your personal data that we are not able to resolve, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Data Protection Authority where you reside. For contact details of your relevant local Data Protection Authority, please see http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/article29/item-detail.cfm?item_id=612080
Security of Your Personal Information
Broadway Direct employs reasonable security measures consistent with standard industry practice, for personal information collected through this Site, including physical, electronic and operational measures to maintain security and prevent unauthorized access. While Broadway Direct takes all appropriate steps to safeguard personal information under Our control, unfortunately, no data transmission over the Internet or method of storing data can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As such, We cannot guarantee that personal information supplied by users will not be accessed on Our servers, or intercepted while being transmitted to Us over the Internet. We assume no liability for any damages you may suffer as a result of interception, alteration or misuse of information during such transfers.
We will retain your information for as long as your account or inquiry is active and for a reasonable time thereafter in accordance with Our standard procedures or as necessary to comply with Our legal obligations, to resolve disputes, and to enforce Our agreements. Even if We delete some or all of your Personal Information, We may continue to retain and use aggregate or anonymous data previously collected and/or anonymize or aggregate your Personal Information. Please note that We will not be liable for disclosures of your data due to errors or unauthorized acts of third parties.
This Site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving communications from Us, at any time, by email at [email protected], or by clicking the unsubscribe link in any email communication. The Site gives users the following options for removing their information from our database, to not receive future communications or to no longer receive our service, at any time.
Users can send mail to the following postal address: Broadway Direct 1501 Broadway 14th floor New York, NY 10036
Users can call the following telephone number: (800) 223-6715.
Users can opt-out of receiving future newsletter emails from Us by selecting the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of our email. However, We are not responsible for removing your information from the lists of any third party who has previously been provided with your information or is collecting your information through their cookies. You have the right to withdraw your consent for Our processing for your personal information by contacting us at [email protected].
This website gives users the following options for changing and modifying information previously provided, at any time.
Users can send mail to the following postal address: Broadway Direct 1501 Broadway 14th floor New York, NY 10036
Users can call the following telephone number: (800) 223-6715
In the event that We are, or any component of our operations is, merged with, or is acquired by, another entity, then any such successor or acquiring entity may become the successor to Our obligations with respect to the personal information that you have provided to Us, which would be necessary for the entity to effectively continue our business. By using this website, you consent to any transfer and use of such personal information by an entity assuming control of Our operations as a result of a merger, purchase of assets, or liquidation in bankruptcy or insolvency.