Preview: Pride Films and Plays to Present Live Virtual Reading of McNally’s Mothers and Sons April 16

Four actors, each participating from a different remote location, will perform a live online reading of Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons on Thursday, April 16, at 7pm. David Zak, executive director of Pride Films and Plays, will direct the reading. McNally died at age 81 on March 24 of complications from COVID-19. The reading is one night only and will not be recorded.

In Mothers and Sons, a woman pays an unexpected visit to the New York apartment of her late son’s partner, who is now married to another man and has a young son. She revisits the past and begins to see the life her son might have led had he survived the AIDS pandemic. The play was nominated for the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play. The cast will include Michelle McKenzie-Voight as Katherine, the mother; Benjamin Sprunger and Cody Dericks as the married couple Cal and Will; and Patrick Scott McDermott as their son Bud. In compliance with the current “Stay at Home/Save Lives” order, the four actors will each be in separate locations, appearing on screen simultaneously to perform the scenes as a cast.

Pride Films and Plays originally presented this reading in fall 2018 during the run of their production of McNally’s It’s Only a Play. The company is planning other remote presentations in order to maintain programming until live performances can again be presented in the theater.

Top row, Michelle McKenzie-Voight and Benjamin Sprunger. Bottom, Cody Dericks and Patrick Scott McDermott.

Pride Films and Plays has produced several McNally works, including Some Men in 2014 and most recently, A Man of No Importance in fall 2019. Additionally, the company presented a mini-festival saluting McNally in fall 2019 that included readings of Mothers and Sons, and Dedication of the Stuff of Dreams; and the Chicago premiere screening of the feature film biography of McNally, Every Act of Life.

Mothers and Sons can be viewed for $10 per access. Remote viewing tickets are on sale online or by calling 866-811-4111. Instructions on how to access the reading will be e-mailed to those purchasing remote viewing tickets. Proceeds will help Pride Films and Plays continue to produce and create important LGBTQ stories.

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Nancy S Bishop

Nancy S. Bishop is publisher and Stages editor of Third Coast Review. She’s a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and a 2014 Fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. You can read her personal writing on pop culture at, and follow her on Twitter @nsbishop. She also writes about film, books, art, architecture and design.


  1. We can talk about the play on the phone afterward and pretend we’re driving home from the theater.

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