You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Out of Our Father’s House

Elizabeth Gertrude Stern/

Elizabeth Gertrude Stern/

Mother Mary Jones … Hallie Todd

Elizabeth Cady Stanton/Dr. Anna

Howard Shaw … Sharon Maughan

Maria Mitchell/Susie

King Taylor … Charlayne Woodard

Vocalists … Julie Christensen, Amy Goddard

Instrumentalist … Rob Meurer

Audience members who view “Out of My Father’s House” not as a feminist theater piece, but as a revealing look into the human struggle for emergence from stereotyping and the establishment of self-worth, will experience a lyrical , richly layered theatrical event.

The ostensible focus of Paula Wagner, Jack Hofsiss and Eve Merriam’s script magnifies the hurt, anger, determination and triumphs of six women’s pursuit of happiness and a defined identity, but the work covertly encompasses all who experience repression in any form. Therein lies the power of this show.

Diarist Anais Nin’s observation–“Emotional dramas, which pass like storms, leave peace behind”–exemplifies the developmental journey taken by the women in “Our Father’s House.”

Ranging from 1815 to 1954 and covering a vast portion of America’s expanding geography, each member of the talented ensemble (Hallie Todd, Sharon Maughan and Charlayne Woodard) creates two women who embody the angst and actualizations attached to freedom.

The cast, under Kenneth Frankel’s light-handed direction, for the most part moves fluidly from one character to the next with musical transitions and comments seamlessly provided by the clear-voiced Julie Christensen and Amy Goddard.

Todd’s and Maughan’s delineations occasionally lack definition but are nonetheless engrossing. These actresses possess a directness of focus that they use to grip the audience, sometimes with a look or gesture, sometimes with a cry , but always with commitment and integrity.

Of particular note are Todd’s portrayal of labor organizer Mary (Mother) Jones (1830-1930) and Maughan’s of circuit minister Dr. Anna Howard Shaw (1847- 1919).

Moving with aplomb from pathos to hilarity, Woodard creates portraits that are solidly, richly different.

Her escaped slave-turned-doctor, Susie King Taylor (1848-1912), and obsessive astronomer, Maria Mitchell (1818-89), adroitly illustrate the differences and similarities of two African-American women of diverse backgrounds.

“Out of Our Father’s House” provides a lush, introspective look into an overworked subject, pointing up the fact that these injustices still exist today; the production clearly shows that this case may be made subtly, poetically, without bludgeoning the audience with emotional dogma.

Popular on Variety

Out of Our Father's House

(Fountainhead Theatre, Hollywood; 75 seats; $ 10 top)

Production: A Fountainhead Theatre Co. presentation of a play in one act arranged for the stage by Paula Wagner, Jack Hofsiss and Eve Merriam, with folk music compiled by Ruth Crawford Seeger; based on a book by Merriam. Directed by Kenneth Frankel. Musical staging, Carol Wade.

Creative: Set, Bruce Rodgers; costumes, Susanne Puisto; lights, Steve Lenchner; original music, Julie Christensen. Reviewed July 17, 1992.

More Legit

  • Broadway Review: David Byrne's 'American Utopia'

    Broadway Review: David Byrne's 'American Utopia'

    One constant of David Byrne’s long and prolific career is his ability to grow a seemingly simple idea into something brilliant, whether it’s the melody of “Road to Nowhere” or the concept of the “Stop Making Sense” tour some 36 years ago, where the premise of bringing out nine musicians, one at a time per [...]

  • The Sound Inside review

    Broadway Review: 'The Sound Inside' Starring Mary-Louise Parker

    Mary-Louise Parker will take your breath away with her deeply felt and sensitively drawn portrait of a tenured Yale professor who treasures great literature, but has made no room in her life for someone to share that love with. The other thesp in this two-hander is Will Hochman, endearing in the supportive role of a [...]

  • Little Shop of Horrors review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Little Shop of Horrors'

    With its strains of kitschy doo-wop and its sci-fi B-movie inspirations, the quaint 1982 musical “Little Shop of Horrors” hardly seems a thing of modern-day revivalism, even despite its touches of S&M. Yet this year alone, not only is there an Off Broadway production of the blackly comic “Little Shop” featuring Jonathan Groff of Netflix’s [...]

  • The Lightning Thief review musical

    Broadway Review: 'The Lightning Thief,' The Musical

    “It’s a lot to take in right now,” says Percy Jackson, the teen hero of “The Lightning Thief,” the kid-centric fantasy musical (based on the popular Y.A. novel) that’s now on Broadway after touring the country and playing an Off Broadway run. You could say that’s a bit of an understatement from contemporary teen Percy [...]

  • The Rose Tattoo review

    Broadway Review: 'The Rose Tattoo' Starring Marisa Tomei

    “The Rose Tattoo” is what happens when a poet writes a comedy — something strange, but kind of lovely. The same might be said of director Trip Cullman’s production: Strange, if not exactly lovely. Even Marisa Tomei, so physically delicate and expressively refined, seems an odd choice to play the lusty and passionate protagonist, Serafina [...]

  • Obit-Roy-B

    Former NATO President Roy B. White Dies at 93

    Roy B. White, former president and chairman of the National Association of Theater Owners, died of natural causes Oct. 11 in Naples, Fla. He was 93. White ran the 100-screen independent theater circuit, Mid–States Theaters Inc. In addition to his career, he did extensive work on behalf of charities and non-profits. He was vice president [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content