Monday, July 11, 2016

Off-Broadway Review: Out of the Mouths of Babes

Image: Judith Ivey and Estelle Parsons. Photo: Carol Rosegg
What Happens When Four Women Who Loved the Same Man Get Together? Not What You Might Expect
By Lauren Yarger
Just throw out reality for about two hours and 15 minutes and you’ll be able to enjoy four actresses having a lot of fun on stage in Israel Horovitz’s bizarre comedy Out of the Mouths of Babes getting an extended Off-Broadway run at the Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village.

Headlining are two theater legends, Estelle Parsons, who has five Tony award nominations (the latest for her compelling performance in Velocity of Autumn) and an Oscar under her belt, and Judith Ivey, a Tony winner and multiple nominee too. They play two of the ex lovers/wives who show up in Paris for the funeral of the man they once loved.

Evelyn (Parsons), the second wife, lets herself into her former apartment (designed by Neil Patel) with its lofty ceilings and walls full of artwork only to be joined by his former lover, Evvie (Ivey) whom the man saw during his marriage to Evelyn. If that isn’t enough awkwardness to go around, they soon are joined by two others: another wife, Janice (Angelina Fiordellisi), who once tried to commit suicide by jumping out of one of the large windows overlooking the canal when she learned of the man’s infidelity to her, and Marie-Belle (Francesca Choy-Kee) who is the current occupant of the apartment, and who apparently still is receiving visits from her lover – the man they all adored -- in ghostly form.

Again, I stress that the plot is off-the-charts ridiculous, with the women joining together to keep Janice from taking the plunge again and listening as Janice and her tickle-happy ghost lover get it on in the other room. They say some very repetitive dialogue in a mediocre script that appears to have been written just to allow characters to say certain lines. A lot of those lines are pretty funny, but I am not sure they all would be without these amazing actresses saying them. Parsons and Ivey seem to get laughter from lines that aren’t really funny too, just by the way they deliver them.

The multi-generations represented by the four women tell us that the deceased spent most of his 100 years collecting women. And despite his infidelity, they all seem to still be carrying a torch for him. Marie-Belle, the youngest and hippest of them all, is totally without any jealousy and proposes that the women all share the apartment in a sort of living tribute to him….

So the subject matter isn’t exactly what we hope for when it comes to finally having a play on stage that has four female characters, and several more mature ones to boot. They are all professionals in some way – Evelyn was a journalist, Evvie is a Hollywood screenwriter and Janice is an academic, but all these women seem to be able to do is fawn over their former lover who doesn’t sound like he was such a great guy….

Getting to see Parsons and Ivey interact makes it worthwhile, however. It also is nice to see Fiordellisi, celebrating her 20th year as Cherry Lane’s producing artistic director, get a turn on stage too (she goes back on Broadway to Zorba). I’d love to see them all in a play with something worth their acting abilities.

The combination of bizarre plot and male worship seems to work because of the engaging actresses cast by Director Barnet Kellman. There also is a surprise visit by a guest not credited in the Playbill. The show has been extended through July 31.

Out of the Mouths of Babes plays through July 31 at the Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce St., NYC. Performances are Wednesday and Saturday at 3 and 7 pm; Thursday and Friday at 7 pm; and Sunday at 3 pm.  Tickets $66-$96:  www.cherrylanetheatre.org866-811-4111.

Other credits:
Costume Design by Joseph G. Aulisi , Lighting Design by Paul Miller, Sound Design by Leon Rothenberg. 

--  Language

-- God's name taken in vain

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists. Her play concept, "From Reel to Real: The Jennifer O'Neill Story" was presented as part of the League of professional Theatre Women's Julia's reading Room Series in New York. Shifting from reviewing to producing, Yarger owns Gracewell Productions, which produced the Table Reading Series at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT. She trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Intensive and other training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run. She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She wrote reviews of Broadway and Off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She was a contributing editor for She previously served as theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

She is a Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is a former vice president and voting member of The Drama Desk.

She is a freelance writer and playwright (member Dramatists Guild of America). She is a member if the The Outer Critics Circle (producer of the annual awards ceremony) and a member of The League of Professional Theatre Women, serving as Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter. Yarger was a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008- 2024 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women or people of a certain race are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide, or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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