Marvin's Room

Exploring an unsentimental reality with hope, compassion and a dose of wonderfully absurd humor, Scott McPherson’s play is a life-affirming reminder of the gift we give ourselves when we love unconditionally.

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Estranged sisters Lee and Bessie have never seen eye to eye. Lee is a single mother who's been busy raising her troubled teenage son, Hank. Bessie's got her hands full with their elderly father and his soap opera-obsessed sister. When Bessie is diagnosed with leukemia, the two women reunite for the first time in 18 years. Are Lee’s good intentions and wig-styling skills enough to make up for her long absence? Can Bessie help Hank finally feel at home somewhere; or at least keep him from burning her house down? Can these almost-strangers become a family in time to make plans, make amends, and maybe make a trip to Disney World?

Eligible Performers in Leading Roles: Janeane Garofalo and Lili Taylor


  • Playwright Scott McPherson died of AIDS at age 33 the year after the play’s Off Broadway premiere.
  • The play was adapted for the screen in 1996. Directed by Jerry Zaks, the movie starred Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton. McPherson wrote the original screenplay for the film, which was further adapted by John Guare.


Marvin’s Room had its Off Broadway premiere at Playwrights Horizons in 1991. This is the play’s first Broadway production.


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