Tony nominee Lauren Ridloff, star of the best story on Broadway

Just in time for Tony Sunday: the tale of an actress who never expected to see her name in lights. Jamie Wax has her story…

What’s the best story on Broadway? Consider this: At age 40, Lauren Ridloff, a stay-at-home mom with no professional theater experience ever, and who is deaf, was offered a starring role.

“Is there a part of you that still can’t quite believe it’s real?” asked Wax.


Joshua Jackson and Lauren Ridloff in “Children of a Lesser God.” Photo by Matthew Murphy

“A part of me? No, all of me!” she laughed.

And Ridloff put all of herself into the performance in the revival of “Children of a Lesser God.” She plays Sarah, a cleaning woman at a school for the deaf who falls in love with an able-hearing teacher, played by Joshua Jackson.

When asked how unusual Ridloff’s story is in the business. Jackson said, “Oh, she’s a one of one. She is a totally unique woman, person, mother, and now actor.”

Ridloff was born deaf to hearing parents. As a child, she worked on using her voice to speak, but spending time at a camp with kids and counselors who communicated only with sign language, led to an awakening, as Lauren told Wax through her interpreter, Candace Broker Penn:
“And for the first time, I never had to use my voice to communicate clearly with anyone. And I realized I could speak without thinking so much about how to say what I had to say.

“So, when I got back home, I really told my family, in a sense I ‘came out’ to my family. I said, ‘I’m not going to use my voice anymore.’ And my family accepted that, and accepted who I was.”

She was asked, “Does this feel like a dream? “It’s a wonderful dream!” she replied.

To see the interview with Lauren, please see CBS News’ full article at