Gwen Verdon, Marvin’s Room Miramax Films 1996

The life-affirming reminder of the gift we give ourselves when we love unconditionally is Marvin’s Room, Scott McPherson’s dramatic comedy about two estranged sisters who are forced back into each other’s lives by health crisis. The play has been presented in many incarnations, including an Off Broadway run in 1991, a year before Mr. McPherson’s death from AIDS complications at age 33, before his 1992 death he finished writing the screenplay later produced by Robert De Niro with Miramax Films in 1996. The seminal play has not been performed on a Broadway stage since. This month on 42nd street the Roundabout Theatre Company opens Marvin’s Room at the American Airlines Theatre.

In honor of the June 29th Marvin’s Room play revival we visit film scenes from the 1996 motion picture directed by Jerry Zaks with actress Gwen Verdon playing Ruth Wakefield, Marvin’s sister, starring award winning actors Meryl StreepLeonardo DiCaprioDiane Keaton and Robert De Niro.

Lee a single mother is consumed raising her problematic teenage son, Hank and her estranged and only sister Bessie has her hands full with their elderly father Marvin, his soap opera-obsessed sister Ruth Wakefield played by Gwen Verdon—and a life-or-death diagnosis. Lee and Bessie reunite on screen for the first time in 18 years in a touching heartfelt story.

Family reunion is a recurring Marvin’s Room theme exploring an unsentimental reality with hope, compassion and a dose of absurdly wonderful humor

Sisters, Diane Keaton as Bessie Wakefield with Meryl Streep as Lee Wakefield Lacker

Behind the sconces, actor Robert De Niro as Dr. Wallace “Wally” Carter and film director Jerry Zaks

Family, Diane Keaton as Aunt Bessie Wakefield with nephew Leonardo DiCaprio as Hank Lacker

Leonardo DiCaprio as Hank Lacker, Lee Lacker’s son, Marvin’s grandson.

Robert De Niro as Dr. Wallace “Wally” Carter

Diane Keaton as Bessie Wakefield, Marvin’s caretaker daughter

Meryl Streep as Lee Wakefield Lacker, mother of Hank, daughter of Marvin and sister to Bessie

Hume Cronyn as Marvin Wakefield, father of Lee and Bessie with Diane Keaton as Bessie Wakefield