crazy jewish mother begets crazy jewish daughter

The best compliment I can pay to a play is if, at the end of the evening, I say to myself, “I wish I could have written that.”

Do you know who the actress Mercedes Ruehl is? She was in The Fisher King and some other pretty junky movies. I never really gave her a second thought as an actress. Last night I saw her play a crazy Catskills Jewish mother circa 1960 in the comedy/drama Broadway hit The American Plan.


The play had the requisite satisfying plot twists and the company all held their own, but things really took off when she was on stage. I have no memory of any of her film performances but her stage performance as a gargoyle who is hell bent on keeping her daughter at her side, even at the cost of her happiness, was memorable.

The daughter is played by Lily Rabe who was best known as being the daughter of playwright David Rabe and actress Jill Clayburgh. Her repeated successful turns on stage have allowed her to step out of her parent’s shadow. Huzzah.

5 thoughts on “crazy jewish mother begets crazy jewish daughter

  1. When we first moved to NY a million years ago we were subletting a friend’s place (which in turn paid for his share on Fire Island that year) on Bleeker and MacDougal. I used to see Mercedes every now and again when we’d pick up our papers from the kiosk on 6th Ave near Downing. That was Spring ’93. I was starstruck … an Oscar winner who schleps around my neighborhood for a coffee and The Times.

  2. Ooh OOh!! that lady was in an episode of Psych! She played an over the hill rookie detective that gave herself a heart attack chasing after some clerk from a convenience store….Now that you know how low-class my entertainment tastes are, can we still be friends?

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