Tuesday, May 8, 2012

All About My (Listen To Your) Mother

This Sunday I performed at the JCC in Manhattan as part of the first-ever production of Listen to Your Mother in New York.

Don't I look like I'm filibustering before Congress? "And that, sirs, is what IHOP stands for."
(Longtime blog readers will remember that I got my start as "Sheep/Triangle" in the Emmanuel Midtown Y's Preschool Winter Play, so I think we all can agree that my acting career has really come full circle.)

Anyway, Listen to Your Mother (LTYM for short) was started by blogger Ann Imig in 2010 as a way to "give Mother's Day a microphone." Or, as I've been explaining it to people, "It's like the Vagina Monologues, except about moms instead of vaginas. But there are still some vaginas."

The incredible cast & crew! Top row, from left: Associate Producer Holly Fink, Eve Lederman, Ilana Wiles, Kathy Curto, Deborah Goldstein, Howard Margulies (no vagina!!), Cynthia Bastidas, Abby Sher, Alysia Reiner, Emcee Extraordinaire Rene Syler. Bottom row, from left: Patty Chang Anker, Producer Varda Steinhardt, Director Amy Wilson, LTYM Founder and Guru Ann Imig, Kirsten Kovaleski Piccini, moi, Kathy Kate Mayer, Jonny Schremmer, and Estelle Sobel Erasmus.
The experience of being a part of this show was truly transformative. I know I was kind of glib when I announced my casting, but what I never told you was that I got this... feeling when I first saw the call for auditions. You know how people always tell you about the day they met their husband or wife, and they thought to themselves, I'm gonna marry that guy/gal, so help me Jesus, and you try to will your eyes not to roll, because that kind of thing just does not happen to people who do not live in Nicholas Sparks' subconscious mind? Well. As soon as I saw the LTYM NYC announcement, I just kind of knew I was meant to be a part of it. Which is not to say I wasn't nervous at the audition, or that I didn't convince myself that I had been William Hung-caliber terrible as soon as I walked out of the audition room. But when I found out I got it, it felt right. It's not often we find ourselves in precisely the place we need to be, and that's exactly where I was this weekend, in the company of a group of incredible women (and one man) who inspire and amaze me*.

*And you all know what a superficial bitch I can be, so you know I love them for really real.

A few of my insanely talented costars (pics courtesy of Deborah Goldstein):

Me and Patty Chang Anker--who went to my high school! Small world.
The hilarious Kate Mayer.
The glorious Cynthia Bastidas.
Powerhouse producer and performer Varda Steinhardt.
Kirsten Kovaleski Piccini--possibly THE nicest woman on the planet--with Patty, the second or third nicest, depending on who you ask.
Kirsten's platform heels, signed by the cast.
Director and performer Amy Wilson making us all cry with a pre-show pep talk. The amazon on the left is the fabulous SAG award-winning actress Alysia Reiner.
Amy and Kathy Curto, who makes me long to be Italian.
Ace in the hole Jonny Schremmer.
Mothers superior Ann Imig and Deborah Goldstein.
...and a Muppet who somehow wandered over from Sesame Street.
Please also check out the work of Eve Lederman, Ilana Wiles, Howard Margulies, Abby Sher, Rene Syler and Estelle Sobel Erasmus. Every single story that was told on Sunday was so funny and powerful that somehow I lost my judgment pants. I even said to some of my costars nervously before the show, "There aren't even any pieces that I secretly think suck!" Yes, Terms of Endearment was basically written about me.

I think my reading went well*. I gave myself a Jack Donaghy-style pep talk before I took the podium ("It's WINNING time, you magnificent son of a bitch! Make mommy proud of her big boy because he's the BEST!!!"), and people laughed a lot. I didn't slur any words or get a nosebleed. My boobs didn't start leaking, or fall out of my top. As the shortest member of the cast, it's possible people could only see my eyebrows, but I plucked them, so they were ready for their spotlight.

S. wasn't allowed to come to the performance because of his tendency to yell and throw up on people and things, but he met me at the after party to give the photographers his best smize.

The best part of this whole thing might be the fact that I get to hang a poster that says "LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER" in giant bold type in his room.

*The YouTube video of my performance will be up sometime in the next month or two, at which time you can bet your sweet bippy I'll be posting it and demanding that you make it go viral. Think of it as a Charlie Bit My Finger, but with just a touch more vagina.


  1. THAT'S why you should always wear clean underwear - in case you lose your judgment pants. I felt the breeze, too!!

    It became very clear that it was, indeed, absolutely right that you were a part of the show. You give great words - online and on stage! And also, your eyebrows looked fantastic.

  2. New tagline: Giving William Hung a Vagina

    Loved meeting you, loved your piece, loved the smizer.

  3. The best part of producing the show for me was getting to meet and work with that incredible group of people with vaginas (and one penis). It was truly great to have you be a part of it. Yes, there was a tremendous feeling of Kismet about it. (And I don't mean the hard-partying Fire Island community, though it WOULD be lovely to do a share house with y'all if we could somehow make that happen.)

    I am clearly still giddy and delirious, with a serious case of post-show-itis, but you know I mean every word of this. And yes I wish we could do it all again next week. Can't wait for the videos to see what you all looked like from the FRONT (Unanticipated consequence of being seated in the center of the line-up - I got a great view of all your butts during the reading and saw precious little face.)

  4. Cast of ALL STARS.

    i swear I felt the earth shift over here from the imbalance of talent waaay over there that day.

    So glad you got this chance to sparkle and bless so many with your words.

    Even if you think they're muppetish.


  5. THIRD?? THIRD?? Who said that? I want to know! LOL, Una, you make me LAUGH, in all sorts of giddy, naughty, helpless and delightful ways. And your baby is still a BABY - you have so much material to come! I can't wait to hear your take on it all. xoP

  6. Best.




    Can't wait 'til that kid is a teenager to read your rants! Gonna be great!

  7. Rene Syler when to my high school. Small world indeed! Can't wait to see the You Tube video :)

  8. You're one cool mama.

  9. Awesome! Love your mommy smile at the end with the smizer!

  10. Thanks for the VERY nice wrap-up of the show and even with photographs to remind of who (almost) everyone was. I so enjoyed your piece (as did my discerning 23 year old Writer) and look forward to following you in your blog. BTW, the Smizer looks like a lady killer, one of those candidates for a 'lock up your daughters' t-shirt. But FUN.

  11. Deborah Goldstein AND Ann? I mean. You were some kind of saint in your previous life. (I'm sure you were fabulous -- you'll have to reenact the whole thing in August for me).


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