Playwright Terrence McNally (from left), with cast members Frederick Weller, Tyne Daly and Bobby Steggert, and Director Sheryl Kaller, are delighted that McNally’s newest play, “Mothers and Sons,” has arrived on Broadway.
From playing Rosie in Valley Stream South High School’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie” to being a sought-after Tony-nominated director of Broadway plays, Sheryl Kaller remains grounded in her roots, praising her hometown for helping to get her where she is today. With the March 24 opening of her latest vehicle, Terrence McNally’s “Mothers and Sons,” Kaller excitedly reflects on the journey that brought her from the Green Acres community to the Great White Way.
“I loved living very close to the city because I got the best of both worlds,” she recalls. “My mom died when I was 29 and my dad died when I was 34, so I don’t have memories of them moving to Florida or wherever. Memories of them and Valley Stream is all I have. What I got from Valley Stream was absolutely wonderful. I remember going to Grant Park and North Woodmere Park when it was built and it opened,” she says nostalgically. “It was a childhood with a lot of breadth and imagination.”
One thing Kaller never imagined was that she would one day be directing Tyne Daly in the premiere of a new play by Terrence McNally. In fact, lead producer Tom Kirdahy (also a Long Island native) and McNally sought out Kaller as director. She immediately jumped on it because of the play’s relatable content.
“It’s about family and mothers and fathers and how they raise their children, and specifically in this play, how they raise their sons,” she explains. “I think that the exploration of the generations and the exploration of forgiveness and hope is what really speaks to me.”
“Mothers and Sons” centers around Katharine, a woman who unexpectedly visits her late son’s partner, who is now married to another man and has a young son of his own. Katharine’s struggles with motherhood, homophobia and raising a son during the AIDS crisis also hit a note with Kaller.