by: Paulanne Simmons
There are many ways to celebrate Mother’s Day. But one of the very best was surely at 54 Below (254 West 54 St.), where some of Broadway’s best female talent performed with their mothers or their children. When producer and director Scott Coulter came up with the idea of A Very Broadway Mother’s Day, he created what should become a Mother’s Day tradition.
If nothing else, this show certainly proved that talent does run in families. Nightlife Award winner Lauren Fox is the daughter of Jean Fox, who once sang backup for the likes of Neil Diamond, Leslie Gore and Ella Fitzgerald. Together they sang a very touching “Baby I Love You.”
And MAC Award winner Stacy Sullivan is the daughter of composer Elizabeth Sullivan. When her daughter, Savannah, came on stage to sing Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” with her mother, while grandmother watched, the audience had the pleasure of seeing three generation of musical talent.
Marilyn Michaels’ son Mark proved his mother is not the only one adept at impressions. He followed his mothers’ Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli and Carol Channing, with his own Dustin Hoffman, Woody Allen and Christopher Walken.
But A Very Broadway Mother’s Day was about much more than talent. It was a demonstration that no matter how famous a mother might be, it is her children who are central to her life. Just seeing the expression on Broadway star Maxine Linehan when her 4-year-old daughter played the violin, was all one need to understand the tremendous power of motherhood.
Other performing children included Joseph Agresta, who played a mean electric guitar while his mother, Kelli Rabke, sang “Let It Be” and Rachel Stern, who sang “Not While I’m Around,” with her mother, the composer Zina Goldrich, at the piano.
At the end of the show one could see Maxine Linehan teaching her daughter an essential skill for any star: how to bow. A while earlier, Coulter noted that the show didn’t really need a director with all those mothers around. This may have been a sign of his innate graciousness and modesty. But then again, it may have been the truth.