During WWII Irene Sendler risked her life to save children from the Nazis. A Catholic woman, she placed the children with Christian families and convents. Now, there’s a Broadway play about her which opened up very recently. The show is getting overall good reviews but one scene in particular jumped out at me where Irene talks a woman out of aborting her child.
After the first show last week, Irene’s daughter, Jeannie Opdyke Smith, was there to answer questions. Concetta Tomei, a character actress (you’d know her is you saw her) asked a question about that scene. Here’s what happened according to Playbill:
From the audience, Concetta Tomei asked, as a Roman Catholic actress, if Opdyke’s plea not to have the abortion was a way of saying: Put your faith in life. Take a chance. God would take care of you. And just as she finished saying those words — as if cued from on high — there was a theatre-shaking clap of thunder, signaling that the rains which had been promised all day had finally arrived. The first-nighters broke into convulsive and sustained laughter, and Smith accepted the divine intervention or whatever it was with good humor: “I can’t top that,” she said.
At the after-party at TAO on East 58th St., she was still musing over that sign from above. “That’s how my mother’s whole life was,” Smith remarked. “You know, if this were a Hollywood movie and that would have happened, people would have thought that was cheesy, but her life has been one miracle after another like that.”
Living proof of that was in the audience — the grandson of one of the people Opdyke hid in the cellar. He expressed, to say the least, his gratitude in the Q&A.
During the earlier Off-Broadway run of the play, Roman Hallar — the “lucky 13th,” late-arriving in that cellar community and the subject of the aforementioned abortion debate — surfaced, and he plans to return to see the Broadway production in April.
God deserves at least a Tony nomination for that, right?