“Mom’s Gift” charms audiences at Meadow Brook Theatre


Sean Carter

Cindy Williams (left) and Dani Cochrane (right) will play the role of Mom and Kat in “Mom’s Gift.”

The heartwarming comedy “Mom’s Gift” is now showing at the Meadow Brook Theatre. Written by Phil Olson, this Michigan premiere will run through Jan. 29.

The show stars American television icon Cindy Williams, who is best known as Shirley Feeney on the classic sitcom “Laverne and Shirley.”

In “Mom’s Gift,” Williams plays Peggy Swenson, a mom on a mission, according to a press release.

She arrives at her husband’s birthday party, despite being dead for the last 11 months. To make matters worse, the only person who can hear or see Peggy is her older daughter.

Similar to the angel in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Peggy needs to accomplish a special task in order to earn her wings. However, what that task is remains a mystery.

“One by one, the family’s secrets are peeled away, revealing a shocking truth that surprises even our ghost,” wrote one reviewer from the Oakland Press.

This is Williams’ fourth show at Meadow Brook. Travis Walter, MBT artistic director and director of “Mom’s Gift,” believes it will be an audience favorite.

“We’re thrilled to have Cindy back,” he said. “This is a great show — very funny and heartfelt. I knew Cindy could bring the role just the right touch of humor and humanity. We consider anyone who performs here to be family and are always happy when someone can come ‘home’ again.”

Williams is joined by Mark Rademacher as Jack Swenson, Dani Cochrane as Kat Swenson and Franny Kromminga as Brittany Swenson.

As this is Kromminga’s first season at MBT, she appreciates the opportunity to perform alongside this cast.

“Especially as an actor right out of school, I have really valued my time with all of my more experienced castmates, and I have learned a lot from watching them work,” she said.

She feels this production stands out from others.

“’Mom’s Gift’ is such a treasure of a show because it uses things everyone finds familiar — family conflict and support — to illustrate a classically funny, tangled storyline,” she said. “It’s relatable for absolutely everyone and manages to be both funny and heart-wrenching, sometimes in the same scene.”

Similarly, Walter believes that any audience member can identify with one of the characters.

“That is the beauty of this particular play,” he said. “Everyone sees it from a different angle based on their own life experiences.”

Ultimately, Walter hopes audience members leave the show inspired to strengthen their family relationships.

“I want them to call their parents and tell them they love them,” he said. “Life is short, and no matter what your differences are, you should try to resolve them.”

Completing the cast is Monica J. Palmer playing Trish and Mrs. Norquist, and Tyrick Wiltez Jones as Kevin Reese.

Working behind the scenes is stage manager Terry Carpenter, with set design by Kristin Gribbin, costumes by Karen Kangas-Preston, sound by Mike Duncan and lighting by Reid G. Johnson.

Ticket prices range from $27 to $42. Student discounts are available, and tickets can be purchased by calling the MBT box office at (248) 377-3300 or at www.ticketmaster.com. For group pricing on parties of eight or more, call (248) 370-3316.

The production was made possible through the support of the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, The Kresge Foundation, the Meadow Brook Theatre Guild, and The Shubert Foundation.

Visit www.mbtheatre.com for more information.