NEW YORK, NY – MAY 02: Lauren Ridloff attends the 2018 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Junket on May 2, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

(Michael Paulson’s article appeared in The New York Times, 5/11; via Pam Green.)  

Reviews like these are hard to come by. “Stupendously bold and expressive,” said The Wall Street Journal. “Instinctive brilliance,” said New York magazine. “Downright powerful,” said Entertainment Weekly. “Blistering” and “a knockout” said The New York Times.

But Lauren Ridloff, starring on Broadway in “Children of a Lesser God,” is so new to the theater world that she’s not sure what to make of it. On the day she was nominated for a Drama League award, she wondered, “Should I be excited?” as she searched for information about the contest. A week later, glancing at a phone at home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, she beamed as she saw that she had been nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award. And then came the Tony nomination, on a rough morning when her 6-year-old had woken her at 5 a.m., demanding a bath.

It’s been a long journey in a short time for this 40-year-old former kindergarten teacher who has been deaf since birth, has no professional stage acting experience, and who describes herself on her Google Plus bio as a “stay at home mama.” As the play’s run nears its end, she is taking meetings with casting directors, posing for photographers, signing autographs at the stage door, saying good night to her two boys (the younger son is now 4; both are deaf) via FaceTime.

“My life has changed in every way,” she said in one of several interviews conducted with the assistance of an American Sign Language interpreter.

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