Terms of Endearment Makes U.S. Debut at 59E59

Terms of Endearment Makes U.S. Debut at 59E59

Molly Ringwald in "Terms of Endearment" at 59E59 Theaters. (©Carol Rosegg)

Making its U.S. debut, “Terms of Endearment” is the Off-Broadway dramedy based on the book of the same name by Larry McMurty (which was then adapted into the Academy Award-winning film from James L. Brooks). While the stage show doesn’t punch you in the feels quite as hard as the film, this production offers a glimpse at the relationship between a strong-willed mother and daughter as they navigate the ups and downs of their respective love lives.

Stage and screen star Molly Ringwald plays Aurora Greenway, a widow who is overly critical of her daughter, Emma (played by Hannah Dunne)—though that stems from a deep-rooted place of love. Emma married young and goes through a rough patch with her unremarkable husband, Flap (Denver Milord), though they have three children in the process. Aurora is not happy to be a grandma at her age because she thinks it’ll make her less desirable. However, after years of avoiding her lecherous former-astronaut neighbor, Garrett (Jeb Brown), the two of them start up a salacious affair that puts some pep back into her step, if only for a little while.

Though this play is a condensed version of both the book and film—most notably the absence of the children (they are mentioned, but never seen)—I liked that this staged entity of “Terms of Endearment” pulled focus on Aurora and Emma. I easily related to how much these women meant to each other and, though I knew the outcome of the story already (because of course I’ve seen the movie!), it still hurt just as much when their time together is painfully interrupted. To be honest, I didn’t cry when I watched the movie, but seeing Aurora fight for her daughter in person brought tears to my eyes. I’m much closer in age to Emma than Aurora, so I found myself wondering what I would do if I was in Emma’s shoes. Besides rocking those retro outfits like a champ, Dunne played Emma as an opinionated, no-nonsense woman who owned her choices whether her mom approved or not.

Having grown up on Ringwald’s films, it was a privilege seeing her perform in person—especially in such an iconic role. She projected Aurora’s confidence with style and memorably delivered some of the shows’s best one-liners. I thought she and Brown played off each other wonderfully. Brown, in the part made famous by Jack Nicholson in the film, was the perfect mix of likable, vulnerable and sleazy. 

“Terms of Endearment” is at 59E59 in Theater A through December 11, 2016. Tickets can be purchased here.

59E59 is an Off-Broadway theater complex located at 59 E. 59th St., btw Park & Madison aves.

(l-r) Molly Ringwald and Hannah Dunne in "Terms of Endearment" at 59E59 Theaters. (©Carol Rosegg)


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