By Annie Reuter

When singer-songwriter Jonatha Brooke decided to put her record and tour on hold once her mother was diagnosed with dementia, she didn’t think her time as caretaker would turn into an Off-Broadway play, but that’s exactly what happened. My Mother Has 4 Noses, which runs through May 4 at New York’s The Duke on 42nd Street, tells the tale of Brooke’s experiences caring for her mother during the final two years of her life. In an interview with, Brooke explained how the play came together and what it’s like writing with Katy Perry.

“I was supposed to make a record, go on tour, at that same moment I was realizing that my mother was in bad shape and needed around the clock care so I moved her in with me and my husband and took over a pretty daunting task,” she told “It became this crazy journey of learning on the one hand, how daunting dealing with dementia is but on the other hand, how much I loved her. I started writing everything down and I started photographing her and I started writing songs.”

Brooke said her instinct always is to write. As she was caring for her mother, she realized the music she was creating was bigger than a record.

“This is theater because Mom is funny. I would write down our dialogue every day and I would film us and photograph us and these songs came out. It ended up being hybrid theater piece, with a record of 11 songs inspired by this two-year stretch of time,” she said. “It’s part of a larger conversation that we all have to be having about our lives and caring for our loved ones and how we can make the most of our lives and our love.”

Brooke says she hopes the play inspires a dialogue and allows people permission to laugh while demystifying dementia. The title of her play, My Mother Has 4 Noses, shares the lightheartedness of her mother.

“My mom was such a character,” Brooke explained. “The back story is yes, she did actually have four noses. She had skin cancer so she did end up with a prosthetic nose. They made her four because you never know if you might lose one or be in the sun and get some freckles and need a darker pigmented one. She had the best humor of all about it; she would joke with people that she had four noses, ‘How many people do you know that have four noses?’ The essense of Mom was making the best of any situation.”


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