Miriam Silverman Talks ‘Sign In Sidney Brustein’s Window’ Before Tonys (Exclusive) – Hollywood Life

Miriam Silverman Reveals Why Revived, ‘Prophetic’ Lorraine Hansberry Play Asks Viewers To ‘Have Empathy’ (Exclusive)

Tony contending actress Miriam Silverman discusses the significance of the revival of 'The Sign In Sidney Brustein's Window.'

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Image Credit: Stan Demidoff

Miriam Silverman didn’t believe the hype when friends, fans, her NYU students and critics eyed her for the Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play Tony Award nomination. However, her biggest supporters stood correct and she nabbed her first-ever Tony nom for a role she has emulated and cultivated for nearly 7 years. “Lorraine Hansberry‘s The Sign In Sidney Brustein’s Window is one that I love so much to get to return to years later. To have more life experience to bring to it, to explore it with these different actors and a different production, same director with a deep understanding and love for the play, it’s just been a testament to how incredible the play is and that there’s just been more to mine and uncover and discover in the writing,” Miriam gushed while chatting on the HollywoodLife Podcast. She first took on the role of Mavis in the little-know Hansberry show in Anne Kauffman’s 2016 Chicago production, and is now reprising the same role on Broadway, alongside heavy hitters Rachel Brosnahan and Oscar Isaacs.

The Sign In Sidney Brustein’s Window was the last play written by Hansberry before her untimely passing at 34 years old. It tells the story of Sidney Stein, a Jewish liberal intellectual, and his wife, Iris, who is trying to discover herself and her personal beliefs within her struggling marriage. ‘The Sign,’ which originally premiered in 1964, tackles themes of race, anti-semitism, suicide, homosexuality, and also focuses on individual characters learning to cope with life.

“I think the kind of prophetic quality of Lorraine Hansberry writing this play when she did, and how relevant it is now, it’s fascinating to me because the misogyny and the sexism that Sidney and the male characters exhibit, in some ways, it’s fascinating to do right now because I think it’s a challenge for the audience,” Miriam explained. “It could be something where people could go, ‘Oh well, that’s terrible. I wouldn’t behave like that.’ But the play is asking more — the play is asking you to get inside of and have empathy for all of the characters. And Sidney, being the lead character of the play, you’re going on his journey and so you have to go on the journey, thorns and all.”

Miriam Silverman as Mavis. (Emilio Madrid)

She continued, “It’s such a brilliant ask and demand that the playwright is making of the audience, which is you have to actually become complicit with all of these characters.” Miriam takes on the turbulent role of Mavis, one which also challenges the audience to contemplate all facets of the character before making a judgment. “She is very Park Avenue starchy, conservative, stuck in her ways, sort of glamorous in a conservative way. Very, very expensive taste, cares a lot about presentation,” Miriam mused. “I think Hansberry is so brilliant in setting this character up because she’s introduced as a foil or antagonist almost to the bohemian artsy people. But then she has a couple comments before she leaves that I think usually makes the audience — when I do it successfully — go, ‘Huh.’ There’s something that shifts and you can’t just dismiss her anymore.”

Miriam’s riveting performance as Mavis, which earned her a much-deserved Tony nomination, can be seen at the James Earl Jones Theater on Broadway.

Miriam Silverman. (Stan Demidoff)

Miriam Silverman is part of HollywoodLife’s Tony Contenders series, in which we interview the biggest current stars on Broadway who are in contention for the upcoming Tony Awards on June 11, 2023.