Mothers and Sons

By Terrence McNally

Directed by Jane Unger

February 9, 2016 – March 6, 2016

Alder Stage

In this sensitive and wryly humorous 2014 Tony Award-nominated play, a mother, after a 20-year silence, pays a surprise visit to her deceased son’s former lover seeking a connection she can’t fathom. At his Central Park apartment, with his husband and young son by his side, he shows her that healing and hope are possible, even after devastating loss. In this play, vastly different worlds collide, yet truth and compassion rise to reveal that all dreams begin with the common ground of forgiveness.

  • 4-time Tony Award-winning playwright
  • NW Premiere 

RUN TIME: 90 minutes with NO intermission.

Cast and Production Team


Michael Mendelson +*^

Cal Porter

JoAnn Johnson +^

Katharine Gerard

Ryan Tresser +

Will Ogden

Holden Goyette ±

Bud Ogden-Porter


Terrence McNally


Jane Unger *



Scenic Designer: Daniel Meeker #

Costume Designer: Darrin Pufall

Lighting Designer: Kristeen Willis #

Composer & Sound Designer: Rodolfo Ortega #^

Stage Manager: Carol Ann Wohlmut +^

Production Assistant: Jessica Evans Irvine

Board Operator: Jason Coffey

+ Member of Actors Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the U.S.

* Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society

# The scenic, costume, lighting, projection & sound designers are represented by United Scenic Artists

± Equity Membership Candidate

^ Artists Rep Resident Artist

Production Media




“[JoAnn] Johnson brings a kaleidoscope of shades to Katharine, who's prickly, shady, vulnerable, curious and furious. You see a strong, imposing woman in a mink, classic pearls, croc bag, and thick Texas waves. But her hands shake just a bit, her voice quivers, and she can barely steady herself after stumbling against an ottoman. Johnson's Katharine is all human, little monster.” - The Oregonian/Oregon Live

“Jane Unger's direction is precise, the script is very funny, and you know these are the kinds of conversations likely going on around thousands of Thanksgiving dinner tables in the past four or five years.” - The Oregonian/Oregon Live

“McNally's look at fraught relationships laid bare by both tragedy and time is heavy work, a load only lightened by his ability to break the sullen mood with brutally honest and mildly caustic humor.” -

“…some would say forgiveness is a two-way street, Mothers and Sons teaches us that it affords a journey undiminished by distance or time, no matter who is deserving of it.” -

“…a taut, terrific new play…the tension constantly percolates.”
Howard Shapiro,


Playwright Terrence McNally wrote a letter to Director Jane Unger about the play and why he wrote it. Read it here.

Suggested Reading
compiled by Jane Unger & Luan Schooler

There are many relevant books, plays, stories and films to expand the Mothers and Sons experience.
Here is a (very) partial list:

Plays Well With Others by Alan Gurganus

The Best and Only Everything by Augusten Burroughs

Some Men by Terrance McNally

The Baltimore Waltz by Paula Vogel

The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer

Angels in America by Tony Kushner

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Safe Sex by Harvey Fierstein

A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski

And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts

Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights by Kenji Yoshino

The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life by Michael Warner

Download the study guide for this production here. A great resource for all!