“Among the big-name talents from film and television who have appeared behind Broadway marquees this season are Joan Allen, Jane Fonda, Allison Janney, Susan Sarandon and Kristin Scott Thomas. Along with more than a dozen other equally renowned actresses on New York stages, they have been playing rulers, heroes, scholars and terrorists. As lovers they have been pursued rather than pursuers; as angry combatants they have been the first to resort to violence. Once in a while they even get to sing. And they are all over 40...
“[T]he current number and quality of roles for actresses on the New York stage is especially noticeable at a time when Hollywood is more obsessed than ever with youth and is providing so few meaningful parts for women, no matter what their age.”
-- “Forget the Ingénues; Cue the Grown-Ups”
Take note of our own over-40 leading ladies of the stage this year: Irma Adlawan as a sharp Candida in Rep's A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino; Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino in a glowing rerun of Dulaang UP's Atang; Mads Nicolas, strong and moving in George de Jesus III's Kung Paano Maghiwalay; and Pinky Marquez, who ran away with 9 Works Theatrical's recent Songs For a New World.
Coming up: Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo as Mrs. Lovett in Rep's Sweeney Todd, and those two supernovas again--Ms. Adlawan as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire and Ms. Centenera-Buencamino in Mother Courage and Her Children, both from Tanghalang Pilipino.
The Virgin Labfest this July, if past editions are any indication, should also serve up one or two high-point roles for mature women. Lastly, a meaty role whose casting remains under wraps: Madame Ranevsky in TP's in-season production of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, to be directed by Loy Arcenas.
Let there be more.