The Inconsequential Mother
This chapter will explore musicals in which there is an expectation that mother figures will play a larger role in the actual stage performance than they do. Such incongruity of expectation and presentation not only challenges audiences’ expectations, but also demonstrates some movement in changing conventions. These barely there mother figures are significant in the potential they could possess or the lack they leave in character and audience through their minimal, but intriguing presence. The chapter provides analysis of such figures in Passing Strange, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Fun Home, and Dear Evan Hansen. This figure is the one who offers the greatest freedom from convention, as neither she, nor her children are forced into stereotype.