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Backstage on Broadway: Kathleen Turner stars in, directs new play about transgender issues

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“Could it be that we have some unique essence that however much estrogen or testosterone we have we are uniquely a person?”

It's the question at the heart of Kathleen Turner's new play.

“It's not our job to answer that question, but it is our job to ask such question,” she said.

She takes on the role of a mother, Victoria Pruitt, in Would You Still Love Me If... off-Broadway

“You do want to give unconditional love, you can’t help it but that doesn’t mean it’s uncritical love,” Turner explained. “I mean heavens as much as I adore my daughter I’ll say you are an idiot," she laughed.

The love in this story surrounds her daughter's choice to transition to a man.

“This is in no way a whim, this is not a decision that anyone can make lightly," she described. "It’s dangerous, and costly and painful.”

Emotions she must also mind and mold as the show's director.

“It was a little unexpected, I did not come into the project expecting to direct,” Turner said. "I’ve enjoyed it very much but it is very hard to act and direct in the same production.”

Turner's ability to do both comes from her decades of experience both onstage and on the silver screen. Her roles earned her Tony and Oscar nominations as well as two Golden Globes. But the stage is where she feels most at home.

“To create new pieces for the theater is very exciting, it’s a real joy,” she smiled. “We’re developing this and it's in no way a finished product, it isn’t ready to go on national tour, we’re finding out how this piece works.”

And with that comes a smaller stage, a smaller budget, and...

“Well, I miss having my own dressing room, I’ll tell you that," she laughed.

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