Parkland Press

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

'Mommalogues' ready for NYC

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN Focus Editor in Focus

A walk on a Florida beach by Sharon Glassman during a May 2011 birthday vacation for her husband, Dr. Barry Glassman, was the genesis of "Mommalogues," which she co-wrote with Gretchen Klinedinst-Furst.

"Mommalogues," premiering as a staged-reading fundraiser for Civic Theatre of Allentown in May 2012 in Theatre514, will have its off-Broadway premiere for six performances, May 22 - June 1, The Barrow Group Mainstage Theatre, 312 W. 36th St., New York.

"I thought, 'The topic would be great, writing about families and mothers,'" says Sharon Glassman, President of Civic Theatre's Board of Directors. "The more I thought about it, something tapped me on the shoulder and I said, 'I got to talk to Gretchen about this project.'"

"Out of the blue, she said I have this idea for a play about mothers and daughters, and everything just clicked," Klinedinst-Furst recalls of Glassman contacting her.

"Since we both have daughters and we both love to write, it was sort of a marriage made in heaven," says Klinedinst-Furst, who started acting at Civic with "Angels of America," was a student teacher at Emmaus High School for Glassman who taught English and drama there before retiring, and teaches at Civic's theater school.

She and Glassman began writing the play in June 2011. "It became just sort of about this circle of life among women and the connections between a daughter and her mother and great grandmother and her aunts," Klinedinst-Furst recalls.

"Once we did it, we actually thought that was it. Immediately after we did it, somebody from Texas and somebody from Arkansas heard about it," Glassman says.

Following last summer's Civic performance, a copy of the play's script was sent to Lenny Leibowitz, Civic Theatre artistic director 2000 - '03, and Amy Estes, founders of Marvell Repertory Theatre, New York.

"We were told that if you want anyone to look at this, a producer, or a publisher, that a wonderful piece goes about 90 minutes and the fewer actresses you have, the better. We thought we could do it with four," Glassman said.

Glassman and Klinedinst-Furst rewrote the play's monologues earlier this year. "We've revised them significantly to cut them down to size," Klinedinst-Furst says. "Mommalogues" was trimmed from an 111-minute to 85 to 90-minute production.

Eight actors and 22 monologues in the Civic production became four actors and 20 monologues for the New York production, with performances at 3 and 8 p.m. May 22; 8 p.m. May 24; 3 and 8 p.m. May 29, and 8 p.m. June 1.

Auditions were held in March. Glassman and Klinedinst-Furst attended the first read-through and several rehearsals. William Sanders, Civic Theatre Artistic Director and the original director of "Mommalogues," directed the New York production.

"Thematically, the piece goes through all the stages of life as a parent and as a mother," Klinedinst-Furst says. "It's a real roller coaster of emotions. You're laughing one minute and crying the next and thinking about your own family."

The New York cast is Claire Duncan, Elizabeth Stahlmann, Lisa Riegel and Sheila Stasack.

"Plays like this, for community theater, people want it. One set, one costume. In this case, you can go from four to 20 actresses," Glassman explains.

"All you need is one good review and one producer from New York -- that's our dream world -- is that is it gets published and people get to see it in Oklahoma," says Glassman.