This article was published on August 19th, 2020
In Stage Mother, Australian actress – and two-time Academy Award nominee – Jackie Weaver headlines a diverse cast as Maybelline, a conservative housewife from Texas who receives news that her estranged son has died and bequeathed her a San Francisco drag club. Aided by her late son’s BFF and boyfriend (Lucy Liu, Adrien Grenier) and drag queens (Jackie Beat, Allister MacDonald, Mya Taylor), Maybelline leaves her conservative Texas town and uproots herself to the west coast to save her late Ricky’s financially struggling bar and maintain the family’s legacy.
Upon arriving in the big city, the film shows Maybelline in a slight fish out of water scenario as she meets her deceased son’s boyfriend and initially has to contend with his disdain for abandoning her son. As the heir to the bar by default, Maybelline takes it upon herself to whip the place back into shape. Throughout the film, viewers watch her go on a journey of self-discovery as a den mother to a group of fierce drag queens and her extravagant performances in full wig and makeup regalia.
As a musical, Stage Mother pulls out all the stops, serving up a colorful slate of performances from Cherry Poppins (Mya Taylor), Joan of Arkansas (Allister MacDonald), and Tequila Mockingbird (Oscar Moreno). The trio belt out their showtunes and their delivery is complemented by glitzy costumes and production design showcase their talents and keep the film vibrantly moving along.
Stage Mother posits a multitude of issues surrounding families, with Maybelline questioning the past dynamics of her relationship with her son, her stance on homosexuality, and more as she envelops herself around drag queens and utilizes her talents as a choir mistress to teach them all how to sing as opposed to lip-sync.
In the process, Maybelline learns more about her son’s contributions to their lives as she injects southern ass into all of their performances. At the heart of this musical is the message of love and acceptance and the actors leap off the screen in this vibrant effort under the direction of Thom Fitzgerald.
As the follow-up to Fitzgerald’s 2018 Splinters, Stage Mother premiered at the Palm Springs International Film Festival late last year, where it was awarded ‘Best of Festival’ and generated buzz from publications like The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. The musical is available nationwide on Friday, August, 21, 2020, when it will be available in select theaters and digital platforms, including VOD. The trailer can be viewed as part of Entertainment Weekly’s extended coverage here.