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"Mrs. Warren’s Profession" by George Bernard Shaw at the American Airlines Theatre
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"Mrs. Warren’s Profession" by George Bernard Shaw at the American Airlines Theatre

- Backstage with the Playwrights

Roundabout Theatre Company
Todd Haimes, Artistic Director
Harold Wolpert, Managing Director
Julia C. Levy, Executive Director


Cherry Jones and Sally Hawkins
Mrs. Warren’s Profession

By George Bernard Shaw
(Shaw Bio)

Adam Driver, Mark Harelik,
Edward Hibbert, Michael Siberry

Directed by Doug Hughes

At the
American Airlines Theatre
227 West 42th Street

Set Design: Scott Pask
Costume Design: Catherine Zuber
Lighting Design: Kenneth Posner
Original Music & Sound Design: David Van Tieghem
Hair & Wig Design: Tom Watson
Dialect Consultant: Elizabeth Smith
Production Stage Manager: James FitzSimmons
Production Management: Aurora Productions
Casting: Jim Carnahan, CSA
& Carrie Gardner, CSA
General Manager: Rebecca Habel
Press: Boneau/Bryan-Brown
Director of Marketing - Sales Promotions: David B. Steffen
Founding Director: Gene Feist
Assoc. Artistic Director: Scott Ellis

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 7, 2010

The repartee between Mrs. Kitty Warren (Cherry Jones) and her daughter, Vivie Warren (Sally Hawkins), in George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession is like verbal ping pong, interesting, somewhat tense, brisk, and refined. They spar for the sake of sparring, as mother and daughter have been separated for 20 years, with Vivie, now an attorney, who has enjoyed hired help, private schools, elite education, and protection from her mother’s trade. That is, Mrs. Warren owns a series of brothels, high end establishments of the trade. To avoid working in a factory at minimum wage, she and her sister, decades earlier, worked their way through the world of prostitution, and now Kitty is a huge success. Vivie, raised with moral standing, looks down on the mother that would enrich her life even more, if only she could be allowed back into Vivie’s domain.

Directed by Doug Hughes, the story unfolds with elegant sophistication, as pearls of wisdom are woven into this work. Scott Pask’s superlative, sumptuous sets enhance the social grace played out in four acts. The mystery of Vivie’s father’s identity is key to the plot, and witty twists and turns are revealed in some garden dialogues, amidst the antics of an inebriated Reverend. A poignant tale is replete with farce and revelations, and startling comments are couched in humor and rhythmic repartee. Mrs. Warren becomes the coy woman of modernity, while her daughter evolves into the restrained woman of conservative values. However, both women, ironically, are self-preserving, one out of need for societal elevation, and one out of need for societal stability. The men, Adam Driver as Frank Gardner, the flawed paramour of Vivie, Edward Hibbert as Mr. Praed, a charming, sociable architect, Michael Siberry as Reverend Samuel Gardner, Frank’s father, who needs more than his bible, and Mark Harelik, as Sir George Crofts, a wealthy friend with a treacherous demeanor, seem secondary, with such magnetic performances from mother and daughter Warren.

Cherry Jones rivets the viewer, allowing one to imagine her in her youth, refining her trade. Her every facial gesture, her placement of an arm or hand on a couch or settee, the way she wears her high fashion hats and dresses (Catherine Zuber’s detailed costuming), her acute disappointments, internalized but evident, and her command of her universe, all point to theatrical accolades for a most memorable performance. Tom Watson’s wigs are noteworthy for accentuating the glamorous, and Kenneth Posner’s lighting shone warmly on Mr. Pask’s transporting scenery. Kudos to George Bernard Shaw.

Chery Jones and Sally Hawkins
in George Bernard Shaw's
"Mrs. Warren's Profession"
Courtesy of Joan Marcus

Cherry Jones and Adam Driver
in George Bernard Shaw's
"Mrs. Warren's Profession"
Courtesy of Joan Marcus

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at