A SAMUEL FRENCH, INC. TITLE

Mom's Gift

Full-Length Play, Comedy  /  4w, 2m

Mom has been dead for 11 months and shows up at her husband’s birthday party as a ghost with a mission. Like Clarence in It’s A Wonderful Life, she has to accomplish a task to earn her wings. Only the task is a mystery.

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    4w, 2m
  • Duration
    Duration
    105 Minutes
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Romantic Comedy
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult, Senior, Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13), Teen (Age 14 - 18)
Accolades
Accolades
  • Winner! McLaren Memorial Comedy Playwriting Competition
    Winner! Best Stage Play, World Series of Screenwriting Competition
    Winner! TRU New Voices Play Festival
    Winner! Northern Writes Playwright Festival

Details

Summary
In this comedy with a heart, Mom has been dead for 11 months and shows up at her husband’s birthday party as a ghost with a mission. Like Clarence in It’s A Wonderful Life, she has to accomplish a task to earn her wings. Only what the task actually is is a mystery. There are so many things to fix. The problem is complicated by the fact that the only person who can hear or see Mom is her daughter, who has been ordered by the court to spend Dad’s birthday with him as part of her Anger Management Program. One by one, the family's secrets are peeled away, revealing a shocking truth that surprises even our ghost.
History
Mom's Gift was first produced at the Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theatre in Los Angeles, California, in December 2013. The production was directed by Sherry Netherland.

KAT – 30. The older sister. Plain, extremely smart. Acerbic, but vulnerable and sympathetic. More playfully sarcastic than mean-spirited, especially with Mom.
MOM – 60. Good sense of humor. Deeply caring. A cynical Vikings fan.
DAD – 60. A doctor. Nice guy. Reserved. Holds cards close to the vest.
BRITTNEY – 22. The younger sister. Pretty. A Hooters Girl. Peppy, ditzy, sincere, genuine, not sarcastic.
TRISH – 45. Pretty. A nurse. Kind.
KEVIN – 30. Neighbor growing up. Good looking, successful business person, jock in high school.
MRS. NORQUIST (Voiceover) – 70's. Neighbor. A little loopy. We never see her. 

Mrs. Norquist is a voiceover and can be double cast. 

  • Time Period Contemporary, Present Day
  • Setting The living room and front porch of the Swensen family, in a Minneapolis suburb.
  • Features Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes
  • Additional Features Not Applicable
  • Duration 105 Minutes
  • Cautions
    • Alcohol

Media

“Heartwarming and compelling... a heartfelt cross between family dynamics, the loss of a loved one, and the power of love.” – Tolucan Times

“If you love the comedy It’s a Wonderful Life, this modern variant by playwright Phil Olson is just for you!” – Not Born Yesterday 

“This is a MUST SEE to make your holiday complete!” – NoHo Arts

“Time rarely moves so fast on stage as in Mom’s Gift. The rapid-fire succession of uproarious one-liners and poignant family revelations brings the audience to the completely unexpected surprise ending in what seems like a flash.” – Norwegian American Weekly

“A rare treat! If it is indeed holiday entertainment you are looking for, Olson’s play will fill those emotional gaps and turn a routine holiday into an unforgettable journey towards forgiveness, love and self-transformation. It is a unique theatrical experience!” – The Tolucan Patch

“A humorously poignant and thought-provoking story... Touching and hysterical in turns... Heartwarming and compelling... This story is a heartfelt cross between family dynamics, the loss of a loved one, and the power of love.” – Tolucan Times

“An audience pleaser!... There is a surprise ending that will not be divulged here, but suffice it to say, the result is an always engaging, funny evening of love and laughter.” – Stage Happenings

“This new play by playwright Phil Olson, creator of the Don’t Hug Me series of comedies, composes a play that is charming, bittersweet (more sweet than bitter), and most of all, is rather comical in terms of one liners and plot situations... Captivating, witty, and most of all, tells a story that speaks about a bonding between mother and daughter, even though this bonding is far from the ordinary.” – Accessibly Live

“A crowd pleaser!... Mom’s Gift demonstrates playwright Olson’s gift at creating the kind of old-fashioned feel-good comedy that hardly gets written anymore, one that not only provides ample laughs but more than a few tears when things take a dramatic turn in its surprise-twisty last half-hour... The popularity of Olson’s Don’t Hug Me series and the upcoming Samuel French publication of his latest could easily make Mom’s Gift a community and dinner theater favorite. That it is family-friendly fare is icing on the cake!” – Stage Scene LA

“Wonderful... There were numerous laugh-out-loud moments. Even better, however, were the twists in the second act. The ultimate resolution of the story was quite touching, and even brought a little dampness to the eyes. It demonstrated (yet again) that a well-written story is the heart of great theatre. If you can get tickets, it is well worth seeing!” – Observations Along the Road

Music

  • Musical Style N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal DemandsN/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size N/A (Not a musical)

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £55 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

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Authors

Phil Olson

Phil Olson grew up in Edina, Minnesota, home of the first indoor mall. His father’s grandparents came over from Norway and homesteaded a farm north of Fargo, North Dakota. His mother’s grandparents also came over from Norway and ended up in Virginia, Minnesota; the iron range ...

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