Broadway Review: Joshua Jackson in ‘Children of a Lesser God’ BROADWAY REVIEWS

Opening Night:
Closing:
Open Ended

Theater: Studio 54 / 254 West 54th Street, New York, NY, 10019

Synopsis: 

Mark Medoff wrote “Children of a Lesser God” specifically for Phyllis Frelich, a deaf actress who made her professional debut as the character Sarah Norman in the 1979 production at the Mark Taper Forum and went on to play the part on Broadway the following year. The deaf actress Marlee Matlin appeared opposite William Hurt in the 1986 film version. Now, Lauren Ridloff, who starred as Sarah in the Berkshire Theater production last year, reprises the role on Broadway, continuing the tradition of deaf actresses who come out of nowhere and knock us off our feet.

Ridloff is a stunning performer. As slender and graceful as a dancer, she moves like a wood nymph in costumer Dede Ayite’s gauzy dresses, and when she speaks, through American Sign Language, her flashing fingers are hypnotically seductive.

There’s also a steely quality to her lithe frame — all the better to embody her character’s proud refusal to insinuate her way into the hearing world. As Sarah’s mother (Kecia Lewis, nicely done) protests to her daughter’s speech therapist, “You’re still trying to force her to speak and lip read so she can pass for hearing.”

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