The God Box: a solo show.

You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll want to call your mother. 

In this engaging one woman, one act play based on her New York Times bestselling book, Mary Lou explores the laughter and tears of the story of a family in love, in loss and in triumph. "The God Box: A Daughter's Story," performed by Mary Lou and co-written with director Martha Wollner of New York City's critically acclaimed LAByrinth Theater Company, is an emotional rollercoaster of the heart. First presented as a workshop in New York City’s Irish Repertory Theater in November 2011, the show has traveled from NYC’s Off-Broadway gem, The Cherry Lane Theater, to The Kimmel Center Innovation Studio in Philadelphia, PA, The Warehouse in Greenville, SC and dozens of stages from Boston to Chicago, Indiana to Omaha. Thousands have followed Mary Lou’s journey to life’s ultimate challenge: learning to let go.

The production features the work of some of New York theater's best and brightest
sound, lighting and visual designers. After a sold out Off-Broadway run at 59E 59 Theater, the show rocked 24 performances at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 at Assembly Roxy theater where it earned rave four and five star reviews. Best honor of all? The God Box Project has helped communities along the way, raising over $400,000 for cancer, hospice, education, family and community causes.

Audiences from around the US and the world have fallen in love with this solo performance. "Indelibly etched on my soul--so incredibly honest, heart-opening, poignant, funny...unforgettable!" "'The God Box' shines bright light on the quiet heroism of caregivers with humor and grace." "A great way for mothers and daughters to bond...for anyone who holds their loved ones dear." And as one audience member wrote "I was a hot mess...laughing, sobbing, fantastic."
The critics agree!  Recent praise has included:

 - British Theatre Guide

"Based on her own New York Times bestseller, the production is a sweet tale, peppered with vignettes and meanders, which all add to flavour this sense of a life, and the people who touched it.

The titular God Box is a wicker container in which Quinlan's mother would drop scraps of paper with tiny prayers for her friends and family. It acts as a touching and unique focal point to the charity of the woman, and her deep kindness towards the people she knew. 

Charting the story of the death of both her parents, Quinlan manages to be comic, tragic and endearing by measure, all portrayed against a seguing projected display of photographs and imagery.

A truly beautiful play, with a heart full of love behind it."

 - Broadway Baby

The God Box is a show which is well worth seeing. This one woman show is heartfelt, well acted, engaging and supplemented with great production. A simple collection of props allows Mary Lou Quinlan the support a single performer needs without crowding the stage. Quinlan delivers each new tale with as much passion as the last. The show’s subject matter is very theatrical. A lot of the turns and twists make you realise how an ordinary person's story can make a touching stage production with the right adaptation.

Overall this enjoyable play is emotionally open...very tender and relatable. Quinlan's character is vulnerable and basely human; she’s warm and understandable. The love for her mother which forms the basis of the story can never be doubted as anything other than genuine. And seeing as this is what The God Box is about, it results in an impressive production." 


- Three Weeks

"In this one woman show about coming to terms with the death of a parent, and the secrets you discover after they’re gone, Mary Lou Quinlan tells her sad story with aplomb and affection. The story is compelling and emotionally involving, making the audience really want to learn more about her and her family. Quinlan narrates her early years; her feelings about her mother and the events leading up to her death with warmth and passion. The performance was excellently crafted and delivered. ‘The God Box’ is a sweet, touching and heart-rending show, which will make you want to call your mother afterwards."


Marti Sichel, NY Theater Critic, Woman About Town

"The God Box, A Daughter’s Story is the story of one woman’s lifelong lesson on appreciation. It took a few decades and some major challenges to find the way to it, but in the end she was changed for the better. 

Written by Mary Lou Quinlan and Martha Wollner—directed by the latter and performed by the former—the story is a simple one, told with clarity and great depth of feeling. Though there are moments that we can guess are coming, but their inevitability, even when heartbreaking, is still comforting. Just as in life, there are moments of joy and discovery and moments of tearful loss.

The setting at 59E59 Theaters is an appropriately intimate one. It wouldn’t necessarily make sense to perform this script in a theater in which you couldn’t make eye contact with everyone individually, as Quinlan did throughout. And that eye contact is important. We don’t often hold another person’s gaze for very long, do we? It’s a very intimate and exposing thing to do, looking through the windows of the soul with sympathy and compassion.

The performance feels as natural as a conversation.

For the most part, it’s just nice to sit back into the moment and enjoy the commonality of human experience and the feeling of witnessing (and maybe also experiencing) a moment of real emotion with someone who has decided to share her greatest life lesson. It’s a simple lesson, but one that takes a lifetime to master. Kindness and love, giving it and receiving it, from other and ourselves; it’s the best thing we can do."

For bookings or press inquiries, please reach out to


solo show clips:

  • 59E59 Theater NYC Rehearsal

    Discovering The God Boxes

  • 59E59 Theater NYC Rehearsal

    A Love Story - Ray Meets Mary

  • Selected scenes from "The God Box, A Daughter's Story"


solo show picture gallery:

  • "And they danced. Real steps."

  • "Angels on my fingers."

  • "Hands on."

  • "I felt her hand on mine."

  • "I have to get on this plane."

  • "I loved to dance in front of the television."

  • "Let it go."

  • "Mom's love letter to us in a thousand pieces."

  • "One night this gentle gentleman walked into the USO and saw HER."

  • "She was a pistol!"

  • "She was her own person."

  • "The wisteria has really grown."


Mary Lou and her director/co-writer Martha Wollner at the Edinburgh Festival FRINGE 2014

  • In Living Color!

    Since nearly 4700 shows were staged in Edinburgh during the month of August as part of the world’s largest and most prestigious arts festival, the city is covered in posters. We were so proud to stand before one of ours outside St. Georges Square Garden.
  • Five STARS!

    At the end of the Festival, we had not only wonderful memories of our show at the renowned Assembly theater but the critical reviews to prove we’d rocked it! These stars were a first for me, but one of many for Martha, a Fringe veteran, a noted playwright, stunning actor and highly regarded director from NYC.


  • Taking the Hill

    Before the Festival began, Martha and I were part of a photo shoot celebrating Americans at the Fringe. To salute both America and Scotland we brought along the red, white and blue of the USA and I duct-taped a Scottish cross on my God Box dress to signify the Scottish flag, the Saltire. Martha and me—close friends, artistic partners and globe trotters with the little box of Love.
  • True Blue Friends


    Over three years of working together, Martha and I have lived the God Box day in and out. Months and hours of rehearsal lead to the Fringe, but the work didn’t stop at the first of our 24 shows. Every day we sat out in the courtyard outside the theater reviewing her notes for me. And the T-shirt? God Box chic! Call your mother!




Come meet Mary Lou and experience The God Box: A Daughter's Story at a venue near you.
Learn more

sample chapter
Enjoy a free selected chapter from The God Box.

reading group guide
Invite your book club to join this engaging conversation about Mary Lou’s book.

printable mini cards
Share these mini note cards or write notes for your God Box.

mobile app
The God Box app makes it easy to write notes on the go.

giving back
Ask how Mary Lou can support your local cause with the book and play.
Learn more

press & praise
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  • "The courage and wisdom from the messages left in her mother’s God Box will inspire you to create a God Box of your own."
  • "A beautiful story of love, faith and family. It reads like an intimate, familiar prayer."
  • "Mary Lou Quinlan has told the story of her mother in a way that entertains, moves and inspires. The thoughts about life and values will stick with you forever."
  • "What a beautiful and profoundly human book....I will keep The God Box in my heart for a long, long time."
  • "A wonderful legacy…Keeping a God Box is an incredibly moving and hopeful ritual that we should all consider adding into our daily lives."
  • "In the slips of paper that carry this sweet story forward, we can see the love in our own families and the great possibilities of simple faith."
  • "Mary Lou Quinlan shares her mother’s handmade and heartfelt gift of how to persist, believe and move forward with joy."

Dear God, Love, Ireland

October 21, 2016
by Mary Lou Quinlan

I'm nearly halfway through my tour of "The God Box, A Daughter's Story" to ten cities and towns in Ireland and I've witnessed something quite remarkable.  Yes, it's the hundred shades of green and the gorgeous lilting accents and the faces-- oh, the  lovely faces of Irish people! But The God Box story has left little footprints across this beautiful country-- from Portlaoise to Cork to Kilkenny to the form of tiny notes filling a simple God Box after each performance. While the TV news here might bemoan the recent budget or th...

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