One of my favorite maxims is “God could not be everywhere, so that is why he created mothers.” It is also said that a “mother is the only woman who will ever truly love you”, but this love can sometimes come at a price. That is what Bill Balzer (William S. Murphey) discovers about his mother, Mary B. (Susan Shalhoub) as he learns to balance his mother’s protectiveness and his own independence in Two Drink Minimum. As he describes her as polish Catholic mother that specializes in “guilt”.

This memoir type play Two Drink Minimum is written by William Balzer, a major patron of the Balzer Theatre at Herren’s and produced by the Theatrical Outfit.  The night I saw the play the real Bill Balzer was there and it was spectacular to see how the actor who played Bill Balzer, William S. Murphey really captured his essence on the stage.

The title comes from his Balzer’s weekly Sunday ritual of being a good son and calling his mother, who required him to have two drinks in order to rise up to the task.

Seen here: William S. Murphey, Wendy Melkonian, & Susan Shalhoub Larkin

This one-act play has something for everyone, it captures the complexities of families as they evolve, it deals with a child’s love, and it also touches on the passage of time and shifting roles where the parent moves from being the strong one to the dependent one in the relationship.

In the play, Balzer notes that his mother had four periods in her life, the great depression, War World II, before he married his wife Peg and after he married Peg. Peg (Wendy Melkonian) is the ever so supportive wife.

This play has something from everyone, from puppets, funny lines, and a few tender moments that may cause you to shed a tear.  Two Drink Minimum will remind you to call you mother or if you no longer have a mother, take a glass and give her toast for giving you the most important gift of all- Life.

Part of the mission of Theatrical Outfit of bringing to life “stories that stir the soul”, Two Drink Minimum is a tender story of a son’s devotion to his mother and runs through November 18 at the Balzer Theatre at Herren’s.

For tickets and show times visit: or call 1.877.725.8849.


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