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.