In the Blink of an Eye…

by Melisa on May 4, 2016

Well, THAT was quick.

The fifth annual LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER CHICAGO show is in the rear view mirror now and I honestly don’t know how that happened.

I mean, I KNOW how it happened, but whoooooosh!

LTYM Chicago 2016

LTYM Chicago 2016

(All photos in this post were taken by our Smiley Dream Girl and Official Photographer, Brandi of Balee Images. She created our headshots and captured all of the lovely moments along the way on our journey to stage. She is adored by all of us.)

There are many great things about producing LTYM shows, but the fact that each year is unique (the show AND the behind-the-scenes elements) is one of the best. As Tracey and I have gained experience–lots of it!–creating each of our shows from the ground up, we have gotten good at analyzing what we need to do differently and which areas need improvement via more attention on our part.

Getting ready for our final walk-through.

Getting ready for our final walk-through.

I already know what we need to work on next year: figuring out how to slow down time. (A girl can dream!)

This season was a fabulous one for us (okay okay, they all have been!); it was incredibly smooth overall and aside from minor blips here and there that occur naturally when you’re trying to keep a hundred gears running smoothly without jamming to a complete stop, it was pretty darn perfect.

The support backstage is more special than can be described here.

The support backstage is more special than can be described here.

We worked hard for six months, cast ten incredible ladies and one incredible Pete, had two wonderful rehearsals and had a dreamy show day on which we presented thirteen new motherhood stories to our biggest audience ever.

Proud of her mama.

Proud of her mama.


We invited our VERY supportive LTYM Chicago alumni family to come in a little early for pictures to commemorate our fifth show, and I loved watching those who were able to get there on time joke around with each other (and our 2016 cast!) and have pre-show fun together. I kept thinking, “This is our family.” My heart soared.

Selfie! (Ussie?)

Selfie! (Ussie?)

Not everybody could make it to the show (or in time for the picture), but we updated our LTYM Chicago Alumni picture in honor of our 5th show!

Not everybody could make it to the show (or in time for the picture), but we updated our LTYM Chicago Alumni picture in honor of our 5th show!

We are so thankful to our sponsors, without whom we’d just be probably sitting at home watching television or cutting the grass on the Sunday before Mother’s Day:

BlogHer, part of SheKnows Media, returned as our North American media sponsor. BlogHer hosts the leading annual conference for women in social media–the very event that inspired founder Ann Imig’s first LTYM show in Madison, Wisconsin in 2010—-and where we are proud to co-host an open mic storytelling event. Join us this summer and discover what big ideas lay waiting inside you at BlogHer ’16: Experts Among Us, August 4-6th in Los Angeles.
We are so grateful for BlogHer’s ongoing support!

Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital, our local megaphone sponsor, is a state-of-the-art hospital dedicated to providing top-notch care for Chicagoland women in all stages of life. This week, The Northwestern Medicine Women’s Health Program housed under Prentice Women’s Hospital will launch a new Women’s Health Online Community where women can find a mental and emotional support system of people on a similar health care journey, get their questions answered by clinical experts, and enjoy lots of interactive features. Sign up HERE, starting May 8 (Sunday!). Thank you, Prentice Women’s Hospital!

Covering local events and attractions, offering advice, and growing and maintaining an incredible community with help from special projects like Going Places, Hey Baby, and Chicago Special Parent, local sponsor Chicago Parent magazine has been THE source for Chicago families for over thirty years. You can find this award-winning monthly publication all over Chicagoland; check their website for the most convenient pick-up location for you.Chicago Parent has been a great partner and we appreciate Editor Tamara O’Shaughnessy and her entire team so much.

Our other terrific local sponsors for 2016 were: Anicca Float Club, DL Loft, Naperville Moms Network, Little Beans Cafe, Aquarium Salon, Chicago Elevated, Naperville Art League, Balee Images, and Samantha Schultz and Marisa Vales. We can’t thank you all enough.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to LTYM Founder and National Director Ann Imig for her continuing vision and support. Many, many thanks also to Deb Rox, Stephanie Precourt, and Taya Dunn Johnson for their national behind-the-scenes work.

Once again, Howard Little of VideoTwist Productions captured our show so that we can offer the individual readings on the LTYMshow YouTube channel later this summer. Thank you, Howard!

Many thanks to Allan, Jeff, Beth, Elizabeth, and Jerry at the Athenaeum Theatre. It’s always a pleasure to work with you; we love you guys!

Thanks to Patti Minglin for helping us with auditions and to Jennifer Evers for helping us on show day with all front-of-the-house details. Mwah!

Last but certainly not least, we want to thank our 2016 cast of ten ladies and one Pete.
Andrea, Beth, Bonnie, Francie, Kathy, Megan, Mollie, Nina, Pete, Rachel, and Sidney: you have been such a fun group. We applaud your bravery, your hard work, and your enthusiasm. The magic you helped us create is so special to us, and we love you all. We hope that this experience was all you hoped for, and more.

ltym2016 5

All LTYM shows donate 10% of ticket proceeds to a local charitable organization. We were honored to work with Mujeres Latinas en Acción this year. You can learn more about how this wonderful organization helps Chicago area Latinas by checking out their website. Thank you to Director of Development and Communications Cheryl Wisnewski for all of your behind the scenes help and to President and CEO Maria Pesqueira for speaking from the stage to inform our audience about the great work done by Mujeres.

If you would like to be included in the email announcements for next year’s LTYM Chicago show (including notifications about our submission period and auditions, ticket sales, and general show info), please email Tracey and Melisa at with the subject line “email list.” We are already planning for next year!!

One more thank you: to YOU. Whether you were a part of our audience or if you shared our news or encouraged a friend to submit an essay or even auditioned yourself, or if you’re just a loyal reader of this blog, we are so happy you became involved with LTYM Chicago. THANK YOU.

Taking our bow.

Taking our bow.

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Our 5th Annual Conversation Post

by Tracey on April 30, 2016

T. Our baby is 5!

M: Pretty soon I’ll be following the school bus to kindergarten! I’d say the same about you but you’d have a pretty short commute because you homeschool.

T. I will be following our baby to the kitchen table to glue feathers and work with geometric blocks and stuff.

M: Wait, can a show GO to kindergarten? Huh. ANYWAY, this is our fifth season. Best season yet!

T. Dude. Don’t let the other seasons hear you saying that!

M: Oops, right. But what I MEAN IS, we really know what we’re doing this year, compared to year one. Just like with the kids. All the ones up to now were experimental. AMIRITE?

T: Um… suuuuure. (the good parent over here).

M; ANYWAY, I’m really really excited about Sunday. I can’t believe it’s here already!!!!

T: It DID seem to fly super fast this year, didn’t it? The cast is READY though. I have total confidence in their ability to fly. Fly!!!!

M: Shhh! Don’t tell them about the wires for flying, Peter Pan-style.

T: These lips are sealed.

M: We still have a few tickets left for this extravaganza, right?

T: Actually, we do, but HOLY COW they’re selling fast! I’m so glad the Athenaeum is such a huge theater.

M: Me too. For those people who haven’t purchased tickets yet, they can still do so by clicking HERE or by calling the box office at 773-935-6875. I can’t wait to look out into the audience and see…well, not a lot because of stage lights but I will know that there are so many people out there supporting us, our cast, and our charity partner Mujeres Latinas en Acción!

T: I wonder how many “Me Too” moments will be happening in the audience…

M: I’m going to guess five hundred thousand. You?

T: Um… that sounds like you used some “New Math” to achieve that number, but I am going to go with it. YES. 500,000 Me Too Moments.

M: I guess everyone will just have to come and count them for themselves, huh? Now let’s get back to work on our to-do list!!

T: #bossy


Buy Your Tickets for this “Extravaganza” HERE!

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Two More Sleeps!

April 29, 2016

Show day is nearly here! Last night, Tracey and I finished our final run-through of the script, stuffed programs, and went over our final to-do list for LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER CHICAGO 2016. This season, our fifth, has flown by for us. It seems unreal that in 48 hours we’ll take the stage at the Athenaeum Theatre, but oh boy, we will! Also a little unreal: we already know that Sunday’s audience is our biggest to date (we’re so excited!). One of the things we loved about the Athenaeum when we first saw it was that, after coming from a venue that was much smaller, we knew we’d have room to grow our audience. That has happened. A HUGE crowd will hear thirteen motherhood stories on Sunday, but we still have room for you. And you. And her. And him. And them. Oh, and them as well. If you HAVE NOT BOUGHT your […]

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Local Sponsor Spotlight: Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital

April 28, 2016

We’ve said it over and over again, and we will continue to say it (sorry, not sorry!): Tracey and I could not produce this show without the support of local sponsors. We’ve worked with quite a few local businesses in our five (FIVE!) seasons, and it’s truly been a pleasure, working with them hand in hand to get our show to the stage. We’re beyond lucky to work with Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital, a returning local Megaphone sponsor for 2016! Prentice Women’s Hospital is a state-of-the-art hospital dedicated to providing top-notch care for Chicagoland women in all stages of life. In other words, while they excel at pregnancy and newborn care, that’s only part of what they do! Here’s more: fertility and reproductive medicine, pelvic health, gynecologic oncology and minimally invasive gynecologic techniques to treat uterine fibroids and endometriosis, just to rattle off a few other categories they cover. Prentice exists “to […]

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Cast Spotlight on Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

April 27, 2016

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara is definitely “dedicated” to the LTYM mission and the epitome of “just keep swimming!”  ~~ 4th Time’s a Charm My own mother raised me on the old adage (first heard in the 1800’s) “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.” I heard it most when I was a frustrated toddler whose ambitions exceeded my abilities. When I became a mother of two I trotted it back out for them… frequently. Now that my two are teens, it’s mutated into you’ve got this, keep trying, don’t give up, you’re not a quitter, or other variations on that theme. They hate to hear it just about as much as “Google it” and “Practice”, the other two frequent phrases in my mothering repertoire that give them fits. I can only hope that my words of wisdom sunk in there somewhere in my kids’ subconscious, and they’ll resurface as a little voice in […]

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