Rachel McAdams on making her Broadway debut in 'Mary Jane'

The Academy Award nominee for Spotlight is once again exercising her dramatic chops as the single mother of a sick child in Amy Herzog's poignant play.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

Rachel McAdams has floated on the periphery of the theatre world for years, beginning when a musical adaptation of her fan-favorite film Mean Girls premiered on Broadway in 2018. Since then, McAdams-led movies The Time Traveller's Wife (in London) and The Notebook (on Broadway) also got the musical treatment.

The Oscar-nominated actress wasn't involved in any of these shows, but her global fanbase wondered if she'd ever take the stage herself. They can rejoice, because McAdams is making her Broadway debut in the title role of Amy Herzog's play Mary Jane through June 2.

Mary Jane is a single mother of a sick child, and she leans on a diverse group of women for support when his care becomes difficult. The play marks McAdams's second time playing a mom in quick succession, following her critically acclaimed film performance as a middle schooler's mom in 2023's Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret. (She's also a real-life mom of two.) For McAdams, that's about where the similarities between screen and stage end.

"I love the experience of theatre, period. I hope they do too," McAdams said of her fans who may attend the show. "It's so magical, and it's such a unique experience to have that direct relationship with your audience and the performers."

Read New York Theatre Guide's full conversation with McAdams about her Broadway debut below.

Get Mary Jane tickets now.

Book Tickets CTA - LT/NYTG

How does it feel to make your Broadway debut?

I feel on top of the world. I feel so lucky and honored to play this part in this amazing play and be surrounded by these incredible people — the women, obviously, that I get to be on stage with every day, but then everyone behind the scenes. I have no critiques whatsoever!

1 mary jane-1200x600-NYTG

How is the experience of Broadway different from working on a film?

It's interesting to do a very intimate play like this but reach 600-some-odd people every night. There's such an interesting balance to that, which I'm learning as I go.

It's a totally different animal from film, but it has that same kind of family feel where you just have each other's back. You see your scene partner out there and you feel like you're being buoyed by each other, and there's just such an amazing feeling of camaraderie and being here for all the right reasons.

What do you want audiences to know about Mary Jane?

This play is so surprising. People read the tagline and think they know what it is, and it's it's very much not that — it really comes in the left door. I hope it'll take their breath away, surprise them — I hope it's just a great night at the theatre.

What has the audience response to Mary Jane been like so far?

Everyone is always so positive, of course. But I've received so many notes of personal experience, people who connect to the material so specifically, people who have walked this path. I've met a lot of younger people who say to me, "This is my mom's story."

That's so incredible to know that you're speaking to people who know nothing about this, and then you're also speaking to people who know this deeply and intimately and feel seen. That just hits you on a whole other level. It's been very rewarding.

What's the best piece of advice you've received from a woman in your life?

I just received very good parenting advice from a close friend, who said: Let your kids make all their mistakes when they're little because those are little mistakes. Then, they don't make so many big ones later when they're big people. I thought that was really wise.

Get Mary Jane tickets now.

Book Tickets CTA - LT/NYTG

Discover more spring preview content on New York Theatre Guide and learn about all the Broadway shows this season.

Photo credit: Mary Jane on Broadway. (Photos by Matthew Murphy)

Originally published on

Subscribe to our newsletter to unlock exclusive New York theatre updates!

Special offers, reviews and release dates for the best shows in town.

You can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy