Debra, a struggling food writer, has returned to her childhood home in Ohio’s rust belt to care for her declining mother Rose, an exacting cookie baker. When Jennifer, Debra's very successful older sister, arrives for Rose's funeral, shared memories and old sibling grievances boil to the surface. As the sisters confront their loss, a startling secret about their mother’s most-treasured Passover recipe emerges, which changes everything they thought they knew about their family. Three years later Debra returns triumphant to New York promoting her newly published cookbook-memoir to find Jennifer in a treacherous downward spiral. Spiced with poetry and smatterings of Yiddish and Spanish, MADELEINES tells the story of a family of Jewish women grappling with how to love each other through haunted pasts, shared grief, and the solace of baking together.
photo by Ann Tracy, Karen Ball (actor)
For three women. All characters are of Eastern European Jewish descent.
DEBRA MORITZ – late 40s; a struggling then successful food writer, sardonic sense of humor
JENNIFER MORITZ – early 50s, Debra’s older sister; highly accomplished medical school professor; a mother whose own family is falling apart
ROSE MORITZ – 70s, Debra and Jennifer’s mother; an exacting cookie baker and small businesswoman, frail from illness but still stubborn
PAPA – Rose’s father in her memory, a singer. Debra and Jennifer refer to him as Zayde, which is Yiddish for grandfather.
LILIA KAMINSKY - 70s, a vivacious Argentinian poet, colorful and robustly healthy. Speaks Spanish and Yiddish (minimal verbal language skills required)
BOOK FAN - 70s, a New Yorker
Production & Development History
Full-length script developed at the National Winter Playwrights Retreat, Grand Lake, CO March 2020
Workshop Production: one-act version, Portland Stage Studio Series, November 2015
Workshop Production: 15-minute excerpt in “The Maine Dish” Festival, Snowlion Repertory Company, March 2015
Reading as part of Snowlion Rep’s PlayLab program