George Bernard Shaw wrote “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” in 1894. However, the play was so shocking that it didn’t get performed
until 1902, and that was at a private presentation in London. The current production will be ending its limited engagement on
November 28 at American Airlines Theatre. Cherry Jones, Tony Award winning actress from “The Heiress,” stars as the leading
The drama opened officially on October 3, after previews that started on September 3. When it closes the play will have had
65 regular performances and 35 previews.
The profession referred to in the title of the play is “madam.” Kitty Warren, struggling to leave behind the tough
circumstances that so many Victorian women were crushed by, makes her rise and ends up running a brothels chain. Vivie, her
college-educated, well-fed, well-dressed, smart daughter- who is played by Sally Hawkins, a newcomer to Broadway best known
for her role in the movie “Happy-Go-Lucky”- up until now has been kept ignorant and separate from her mother’s world.
Doug Hughes, Tony Award winner has been reunited with Jones, his “Doubt” co-star, to bring this controversial play to theater
audiences in the 21st century. Jones is widely known for his role as U.S. President on the television program “24.”
During the play’s early life, authorities in London as well as New York City, tried to snuff the work out. In 1902 Shaw wrote
in “Author’s Apology” about the play, after an eight year delay “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” at last has been performed. Once
again I have shared the triumphant amusement with Ibsen of startling all except the strongest headed among London theatre
critics clear out of practicing their profession. If “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” was to play to an audience consisting of
Christian Social Union clerical members and women experienced in Girls’ Club, Temperance and Rescue work, there would be no
moral panic arising. Every woman and man present would be aware that as long as virtue is made hideous by poverty and that
rich bachelors with spare pocket money makes vice dazzling, that their hand to hand combat of fighting against prostitution
with persuasion and prayer, scanty alms and shelters, would lose.
Hawkins, a Golden Globe winner, and Jones are joined by Mark Harelik (“The Immigrant” creator, The Light in the Piazza)
playing Sir George Crofts, Adam Driver (the Rattlestick’s “Little Doc”) playing Frank Gardner, Michael Siberry (The Merchant
of Venice, A Man for All Seasons) playing Rev. Samuel Gardner and Edward Hibbert (The Drowsy Chaperone, Curtains) playing
The design team includes sets by Scott Pask, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lights by Kenneth Posner and sound by David Van
“Mrs. Warren’s Profession” by Shaw is Kitty Warren’s story. She is a mother who has made great sacrifices for the
independence of her daughter Vivie. The clash between the culturally constrained but strong willed women sparks the ironic
wit for one of the greatest plays from Shaw.
“Mrs. Warren’s Profession” made its Broadway premiere at Garrick Theatre in 1905. It had subsequent Broadway revivals in
1907, then 1918 and 1922 as well as 1976.
The play is currently being before on Tuesday through Saturday at 8 pm. Matinees play at 2 pm on Wednesdays, Saturdays and