The Short List: Three memorable moms
In honor of Mother’s Day, here are three moms worthy of respect: Mama Rose, Colleen Donaghy and Marge Simpson.
A female King Lear, with music. The stage mother from hell. That would be Mama Rose, the dominant figure in the classic Broadway musical “Gypsy.” A frustrated performer herself, Rose drags her kids into show biz and coerces daughter Gypsy to become a stripper. The complex, juicy role is based on the even more colorful Rose Thompson Hovick, the real mother of Seattle-born performer-writer Gypsy Rose Lee. Played by Ethel Merman, Rosalind Russell and many other stars of note, Rose is now being eyed by Barbra Streisand for a film version. (Seattle Musical Theatre’s production of “Gypsy” runs through May 19; 206-363-2809 or www.seattlemusicaltheatre.org).
Misha Berson, Seattle Times theater critic
Over seven seasons of “30 Rock,” Jack Donaghy’s domineering (to put it mildly) mother, Colleen — played with razor-sharp wit by Elaine Stritch — appeared in only eight episodes. And yet, she owned the show. Whether showing off her hat collection, accusing her son of “pouring Scotch like a woman” (what does that even mean?) or causing him to exclaim, “Mother, there are terrorist cells that are more nurturing than you,” she held “30 Rock” in the palm of her hand — right up until her gloriously funny final episode in Season 7 (out on DVD this week). Happy Mother’s Day, Colleen. And yes, we know that coat isn’t going to take itself off.
Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times movie critic
Come on, now: Is there any better mother than Marge Simpson? She is not just mother to Bart, Lisa, Maggie and — let’s face it — Homer. She is America’s Mother, our cartoon conscience, the one who can wrap up 22 minutes of madness with the perfect gem to remember, while holding her azure smokestack of hair high. And if that isn’t enough, she drives a pink station wagon. May she spend the day away from her family, and under the influence of her awful sisters, drinking and smoking and watching “McGyver” reruns. (The inspiration for Marge, “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening’s mom, Margaret Groening, who grew up in Everett, died in April at age 94.)
Nicole Brodeur, Seattle Times columnist