Conceived and directed by Michael Rader, the reading will feature five different women sharing the title role of Mary, each representing how different cultures around the world view her.
Tony winner Adriane Lenox will be joined by Lynn Cohen, Jill Paice, Elizabeth Kemp and Thursday Farrar. The five women will share the title role of the mother of Jesus, a part that was originally played by Fiona Shaw in the Broadway and London productions.
The New York production was met with protests from Catholic groups. Catholic Protesters Return for Broadway Opening of The Testament of Mary
The stage production is based on Tóibín's novella of the same title, which, according to press notes, "explores Mary’s interpretation of her son’s life, one in which she questions his death, divinity and followers in the years following his crucifixion."
Rader said in a statement, "The concept of presenting Testament with multiple women playing the title role first developed after reading Mr. Tóibín’s notes on his inspiration for the text where he speaks to how the idea of Mary varies greatly according to different sources. We actually garner little and often contradictory information about Mary from the bible - the gospels wavering considerably as to Mary’s role and engrossment. What is undeniable is that this is a woman who witnessed firsthand the horrific torture and murder of her son. By marrying different ethnicities and backgrounds into the tapestry of the character we are able to convey her story in a uniquely candid and accessible manner.” Joe Grandy of Reclaimed Road Productions produces the reading.