The intellectual blockbuster of the 1983 Broadway season has been Marsha Norman’s ’night, Mother at the John Golden Theatre on Forty-fifth Street. To stand outside the Golden Theatre around nine-thirty in the evening was an education in itself. Young and old, chic and dowdy: they emerged slowly, too moved to speak. Elegantly bepearled matrons fished blindly in their purses for a handkerchief; red-eyed stockbrokers, visibly shaken, went pensively off to hail a cab; ruthlessly tailored women clutching huge wads of Kleenex were guided to their limousines by sympathetic hands. Seldom had so many, so well dressed, appeared so moved. The gutters of Forty-fifth Street ran with mascara and even the embroidered polo-ponies and alligators seemed to weep for Jessie Cates, whose life had been so empty, so trapped in hopeless disappointment, that her only desire had been to pass mildly away, affording the least...


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