Mom's Gift

by  Phil Olson

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  2m, 4f

Mom has been dead for 11 months and shows up at her husband’s birthday party as a ghost with a mission. Like Clarence in It’s A Wonderful Life, she has to accomplish a task to earn her wings. Only what the task actually is, is a mystery. 

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 4f
  • Duration


    105 Minutes
  • SubGenre


    Romantic Comedy
  • Accolades


    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13)
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

In this comedy with a heart, Mom has been dead for 11 months and shows up at her husband’s birthday party as a ghost with a mission. Like Clarence in It’s A Wonderful Life, she has to accomplish a task to earn her wings. Only what the task actually is, is a mystery. There are so many things to fix. The problem is complicated by the fact that the only person who can hear or see Mom is her daughter who has been ordered by the court to spend Dad’s birthday with him as part of her Anger Management Program. One by one the family's secrets are peeled away revealing a shocking truth that surprises even our ghost.
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  • WINNER! - McLaren Memorial Comedy Playwriting Competition
    WINNER! - Best Stage Play, World Series of Screenwriting Competition 
    WINNER! - TRU New Voices Play Festival  
    WINNER! - Northern Writes Playwright Festival



“If you love the comedy, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ this modern variant by playwright Phil Olson is just for you!”  - Not Born Yesterday 

“This is a MUST SEE to make your holiday complete!” - NoHo Arts

“Time rarely moves so fast on stage as in ‘Mom’s Gift.’ The rapid-fire succession of uproarious one-liners and poignant family revelations brings the audience to the completely unexpected surprise ending in what seems like a flash!” - Norwegian American Weekly

“A rare treat! If it is indeed holiday entertainment you are looking for, Olson’s play will fill those emotional gaps and turn a routine holiday into an unforgettable journey towards forgiveness, love and self-transformation. It is a unique theatrical experience!” - The Tolucan Patch

“A humorously poignant and thought-provoking story... Touching and hysterical in turns...Heartwarming and compelling...This story is a heartfelt cross between family dynamics, the loss of a loved one, and the power of love.”  - Tolucan Times

“An audience pleaser!...There is a surprise ending that will not be divulged here, but suffice it to say, the result is an always engaging, funny evening of love and laughter.” - Stage Happenings

“This new play by playwright Phil Olson, creator of the ‘Don’t Hug Me’ series of comedies, composes a play that is charming, bittersweet (more sweet than bitter), and most of all, is rather comical in terms of one liners and plot situations...Captivating, witty, and most of all, tells a story that speaks about a bonding between mother and daughter, even though this bonding is far from the ordinary.” - Accessibly Live

“A crowd pleaser!...’Mom’s Gift’ demonstrates playwright Olson’s gift at creating the kind of old-fashioned feel-good comedy that hardly gets written anymore, one that not only provides ample laughs but more than a few tears when things take a dramatic turn in its surprise-twisty last half-hour....The popularity of Olson’s Don’t Hug Me series and the upcoming Samuel French publication of his latest could easily make “Mom’s Gift” a community and dinner theater favorite. That it is family-friendly fare is icing on the cake!” - Stage Scene LA

“Wonderful!...There were numerous laugh-out-loud moments. Even better, however, were the twists in the second act. The ultimate resolution of the story was quite touching, and even brought a little dampness to the eyes. It demonstrated (yet again) that a well-written story is the heart of great theatre. If you can get tickets, it is well worth seeing!” - Observations Along the Road


Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $90 per performance



  • Time Period: Contemporary, Present Day
  • Duration: 105 Minutes
  • Setting: The living room and front porch of the Swensen family, in a Minneapolis suburb.
  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)


2m, 4f

KAT - 30. The older sister. Plain, extremely smart. Acerbic, but vulnerable and sympathetic. More playfully sarcastic than mean spirited. Especially with Mom.
MOM - 60. Good sense of humor. Deeply caring. A cynical Vikings fan.
DAD - 60. A doctor. Nice guy. Reserved. Holds cards close to the vest.
BRITTNEY - 22. The younger sister. Pretty. A Hooters Girl. Peppy, ditzy, sincere, genuine, not sarcastic.
TRISH - 45. Pretty. A nurse. Kind.
KEVIN - 30. Neighbor growing up. Good looking, successful business person, jock in high school.
MRS. NORQUIST (Voiceover) - 70's. Neighbor. A little loopy. We never see her. 

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Cast Attributes

  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)

Casting Notes

Mrs. Norquist is a voiceover and can be double cast. 


Available Services



Phil Olson

Phil Olson grew up in Edina, Minnesota, home of the first indoor mall. His father’s grandparents came over from Norway and homesteaded a farm north of Fargo, North Dakota. His mother’s grandparents also came over from Norway and ended up in Virginia, Minnesota; the iron range. Mr. Olson played varsity football, basketb ...

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Mom's Gift was first produced at the Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theatre in Los Angeles, California, in December, 2013 directed by Sherry Netherland.

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