Saturday, April 24, 2010

Maura Tierney: Breast Cancer Survivor Shines on Stage

Because I live in New York City, I decided (almost too late), that I wanted to see Maura Tierney's comeback in a live stage play for myself. Tierney, who had to give up her role on NBC's "Parenthood" for her breast cancer treatment, is now appearing in "North Atlantic". The show is the works of the pioneering avant garde  theater company, The Wooster Group.

The play is closing this Sunday and the Saturday evening performance was a sellout. After being turned away at the box office, I decided to wait for a few minutes to see if someone had a spare ticket to sell. I was in luck. Only at the end of the evening, on my way out the door, would I learn that the ticket's original owner, is ironically the co-author of a new book for breast cancer survivors.

Since I am no Frank Rich, I will spare you my review of the show and just talk about Tierney. It was interesting for me to watch her perform knowing she is now a breast cancer survivor.  She currently sports a close cut "chemo crop".  The short hair suited her role as a female military member, and made her features stand out, accenting her expressions.  Since it can be tough for a naturalistic television actor to adapt to the bold expressions of experimental theater, this really worked to her advantage.

When a well-known TV personality takes on a new role, it can be tough for the audience to forget their trademark character, and the new look helped me to avoid picturing Tierney as ER's Abby Lockheart.

I am also glad to report that Maura looked healthy and fit, and handled the athletic, nearly gymnastic, movements of the production with ease. During a scene when her character puts on a wig, it was hard not to imagine how she might have felt doing the same thing in real life. There is even a brief moment of brief semi-nudity as the women change from army uniforms into dance dresses. Tierney handled the transition by turning away from the audience, and staying in the shadows.

While Tierney probably would rather the audience concentrates on the play instead of her medical history, watching her performance gave me a lift.  Seeing a breast cancer sister shine on stage made me feel me feel a little stronger.



  1. Oh yeah, she really did 'shine'! I'm so happy I saw the play. Maura rocks, as always !


  2. Thanks for sharing this experience, Suzanne. It sounds like her performance was very inspirational. Glad to hear that Maura is doing well.

  3. I'm excited to say I'll be in New York next week but first a Metastatic Breast Conference in Philly.