Mark Medoff wrote “Children of a Lesser God” specifically for Phyllis Frelich, a deaf actress who made her professional debut as the character Sarah Norman in the 1979 production at the Mark Taper Forum and went on to play the part on Broadway the following year. The deaf actress Marlee Matlin appeared opposite William Hurt in the 1986 film version. Now, Lauren Ridloff, who starred as Sarah in the Berkshire Theater production last year, reprises the role on Broadway, continuing the tradition of deaf actresses who come out of nowhere and knock us off our feet.
Ridloff is a stunning performer. As slender and graceful as a dancer, she moves like a wood nymph in costumer Dede Ayite’s gauzy dresses, and when she speaks, through American Sign Language, her flashing fingers are hypnotically seductive.