Mark Medoff’s Children of a Lesser God Has Begun Previews On Broadway Starring Joshua Jackson And Lauren Ridloff In Production Directed By Kenny Leon

Revival of Mark Medoff’s Play Directed by Kenny Leon

children of a lesser god
On March 22, 2018, Children of a Lesser God began previews in a Roundabout Theatre Company production at Studio 54, ahead of its opening night scheduled for April 11, 2018. This play is written by Mark Medoff, and won the Tony Award for Best Play when it premiered on Broadway in 1980, in addition to the awards for Best Performance by a Leading Actor for John Rubinstein, as well as Best Performance by a Leading Actress for Phyllis Frelich. This is the play’s first ever Broadway revival.

The story concerns the relationship between a teacher at a school for the deaf and his deaf former student, who then works as a janitor at the school. Their conflicting opinions on speech and deafness create tension and discord, but nonetheless the two develop a romantic relationship. Following the play’s debut, it was adapted into a feature film, which Medoff co-wrote with Hesper Anderson, and which was directed by Randa Haines. The film won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Marlee Matlin. The Broadway revival is directed by Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun, Stick Fly, The Mountaintop). This revival had an out-of-town tryout at the Berkshire Theatre Company, and transfers intact to Broadway.

Joshua Jackson and Lauren Ridloff Lead Combined Deaf and Hearing Cast

children of a lesser god
Joshua Jackson stars as the speech teacher James Leeds, making his Broadway debut. Jackson is well known for his television roles on such shows as Dawson’s Creek and Fringe, and films including Cruel Intentions and The Safety of Objects. His stage debut was in the West End in 2005, starring opposite Patrick Stewart in David Mamet’s two-hander A Life in the Theatre. Starring opposite Jackson in the role of student turned janitor Sarah Norman is newcomer Lauren Ridloff, a deaf actress who had a small part in Todd Haynes’ recent film Wonderstruck, but whose rise to the limelight is owing to her former position as director Kenny Leon’s sign language tutor.

Anthony Edwards plays Mr. Franklin; Edwards is a multiple Emmy nominee for his role on ER, and whose film credits include Top Gun and Zodiac, also making his Broadway debut. Julee Cerda is a hearing actress who plays Edna Klein; her credits include Orange is the New Black and Homeland. Lydia is played by deaf actress Treshelle Edmond, who previously appeared in the Deaf West production of Spring Awakening. Mrs. Norman is played by hearing actress Kecia Lewis, whose previous Broadway credits include Leap of Faith and Dreamgirls. Finally, the cast includes deaf actor John McGinty as Orin Dennis, making his Broadway debut.

Production to Incorporate Technology to Be Accessible for Deaf Audiences

The producers have taken steps to make sure that this production of Children of a Lesser God will be accessible to all audiences. The show has supertitles, which are integrated seamlessly into the set design by Derek McLane. In addition, audience members are encouraged to download the GalaPro app on Apple or Android devices, and furthermore there is a special Children of a Lesser God app which further enhances the experience for audience members who are hard of hearing.