Singing Siblings: Janet and Matthew Broderick give Morristown ‘A Christmas Memory’

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Everyone knows Matthew Broderick is a star of stage and screen. Movie buffs remember his late father, James Broderick, too.

On Friday in Morristown, Matthew’s big sister showed she’s no slouch, either.

Janet Broderick, rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, held her own in a reading of Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory before about 250 people who came out in single-digit weather to pack the church’s Great Hall.

She animated the kindly old lady who bakes holiday fruitcakes and shares assorted adventures with a boy named Buddy, read by Matthew Broderick.  

Adapted by Beth Sanford, the piece was directed by Tony-winning director Michael Wilson (The Trip to Bountiful).

Video: Fruitcake for Mrs. Roosevelt?

In past years, Janet Broderick has hosted parlor readings of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and W.H. Auden’s Christmas Oratorio.

This time, she tapped her family’s history. One of her cherished Christmas memories from childhood is her dad’s Christmas Eve production of A Christmas Memory at Houston’s Ally Theater.

Video: Fruitcake for President Roosevelt?

Friday’s presentation (actually, two shows; a second one was for St. Peter’s parishioners) was intended for before Christmas. Scheduling conflicts pushed it to the Twelfth Day of Christmas.

“She did awesome!” Madison resident Andrea Alrefaai said of the minister’s performance, in a role played by Geraldine Page and Patty Duke on TV versions.

Photo slideshow by Kevin Coughlin

Siblings Janet and Matthew Broderick at reading of 'A Christmas Memory' at St. Peter's in Morristown, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Matthew Broderick at reading of 'A Christmas Memory' at St. Peter's in Morristown, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Rector Janet Broderick performs at reading of 'A Christmas Memory' at St. Peter's in Morristown, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Broderick just misses a chance to kiss his co-star, his sister Janet, at reading of 'A Christmas Memory' at St. Peter's in Morristown, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Audience enjoys a light moment at reading of 'A Christmas Memory' at St. Peter's in Morristown, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Actor Matthew Broderick at reading of 'A Christmas Memory' at St. Peter's in Morristown, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Joshua Stafford plays carols before a reading of 'A Christmas Memory' at St. Peter's in Morristown, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Actor Matthew Broderick gives reading of 'A Christmas Memory' at St. Peter's in Morristown, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Crowd for reading of 'A Christmas Memory' at St. Peter's in Morristown, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Audience listens to Matthew Broderick reading 'A Christmas Memory' at St. Peter's in Morristown, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Siblings Janet and Matthew Broderick at reading of 'A Christmas Memory' at St. Peter's in Morristown, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Young couple watches reading of 'A Christmas Memory' at St. Peter's in Morristown, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Matthew Broderick trades lines with his sister, Janet Broderick, at reading of 'A Christmas Memory' at St. Peter's in Morristown, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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P1020766 - Siblings Janet and Matthew Broderick at reading of 'A Christmas Memory' at St. Peter's in Morristown, Jan. 5, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Alrefaai also was pretty excited about sitting five feet from Tony winner Matthew Broderick, star of The Producers, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Glory and, of course, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — which her 15-year-old son, Mohamed, has enjoyed.

“I felt more comfortable than I thought I would” around such a star, said the teen, who brought his girlfriend Aniela Van Es.

Video: Ha Ha Smiles for the Brodericks in Morristown:

They may have been more at ease than the co-star, as it turned out.

While the audience cheered at the end of the 45-minute reading, Janet Broderick whooshed off the tiny stage — leaving Matthew to give a congratulatory kiss to her jet stream.

Video: Come back, Sis! Matthew Broderick’s missed kiss

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Ugh. Talk about how to ruin the quiet beauty of Capote’s “A Christmas Memory.” Not an iota of subtlety in either’s delivery. Janet belting out “Show Me the Way to Go Home”….. really?!? That was her interpretation? Those poor 125 audience members. Sullied now, that’s what they are. “A Christmas Memory” ruined for them, or should be.

  2. It was enjoyable and Janet’s performance was heartfelt and commendable. On the other hand, Matthew acted like it was the first time he had read the script, messing up numerous lines and mispronouncing several words, hardly professional. “Wading a dime in tissue paper.” While it was generous of him to participate in the reading, his heart seemed to be in another place, far from Morristown.

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