It was “fruitcake weather” on Friday at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown.
Actor Matthew Broderick shared a stage with his sister, Rector Janet Broderick, to reprise last holiday season’s reading of Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory.
First published in Mademoiselle magazine in December 1956, this largely autobiographical tale set in the Great Depression recounts Christmas traditions of a 7-year-old named Buddy and his 60-something cousin, a woman who likes sending whiskey-marinated fruitcakes to the Roosevelts and other notables.
Animated and full of whimsy, Janet’s character got many of the laughs on Friday, while Matthew was the bemused little boy who ultimately grasps the poignancy of their relationship as nature runs its course.
Video: The Brodericks meet HaHa Jones in ‘A Christmas Memory’:
Directed by Tony-winner Michael Wilson (The Trip to Bountiful), A Christmas Memory is a sweet story, and that’s how the Broderick siblings played it for two shows before large crowds in the church Great Hall.
“Matthew said he had a great time once again. He loves the story, and loves the intimacy of the room,” Janet said, adding thanks to everyone at the church who pitched in, including the Friday bridge club that provided mini-fruitcakes for the audience.
“It was really fun to add that this year,” she said.
The family-friendly vibe was sweetened further by Janet’s daughter, Hannah Broderick Kraft, who warmed up the audience with a smooth rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, accompanied on piano by church Music Director Josh Stafford.
Video: Hanna Broderick Kraft sings a holiday welcome at St. Peter’s:
Hannah made her stage debut at St. Peter’s in a 2013 production of The Graduation, written by her late grandmother, Patricia Broderick. Now a senior at Barnard College, Hannah is keen on pursuing an acting career, according to her proud mom.
“I think Hannah was fantastic, and it was great doing the show with her,” said Janet, whose late father, James Broderick, was an accomplished actor.
Matthew, whose stage and screen credits include The Producers, Glory and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, most recently has appeared in a recurring guest role on The Conners, a spinoff of Roseanne.
And what about Janet–has sermonizing before hundreds of parishioners every Sunday prepared her for the stage?
“I guess being used to communicating physically and with your voice–it all helps,” the minister said.
Video: Come on Along with Janet and Matthew Broderick in ‘A Christmas Memory’:
She is hoping Friday’s patrons return to St. Peter’s for the original Christmas Story: Lessons and Carols on Dec. 22, 2018, at 6 pm, and Christmas Eve services at 5 pm (prelude at 4:30 pm) and 10:30 pm (prelude at 10 pm).
On New Year’s Day, couples can visit the church to renew their marriage vows.
“That could be a wonderful way to start the year,” Janet Broderick said.