Wow.

Where did that season go???

We’re finding that there’s definitely a trade-off to having four years’ worth of experience producing this show. The other side of knowing exactly what we’re doing (and who is doing what!) is the speed with which the season flies by. It’s almost summer, for goodness’ sakes…weren’t we just announcing our submission period last week???

No. We weren’t. It only seems like it.

Our show, which took place on Sunday, May 3 at the Athenaeum Theatre, was phenomenal.

YES WE SAY THAT EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

It’s true.

You’ll be able to see the individual readings from our show (as well as the shows from all the other cities!) later in the summer on YouTube. For now, those of us who were there are clinging to our sweet memories. And the pictures, like this one by our show day photographer, Elizabeth Rago:

LTYM Chicago 2015 cast with Ann

This one was also taken by Elizabeth, but with my phone:

LTYM Chicago 2015 Melisa and Tracey

Naturally we couldn’t have done the show without our sponsors. Many thanks to national media sponsor BlogHer. BlogHer, part of SheKnows Media, hosts the leading annual conference for women in social media, where we at LTYM are proud to co-host an open mic storytelling event. Join us this summer at BlogHer ’15: Experts Among Us, July 16th -18th in New York City. This year SheKnows & BlogHer also hosted meet-ups for online content creators in five of our LTYM cities, and we were delighted Chicago was one of the cities on their tour.

Chicago had two local Megaphone sponsors for 2015, Prentice Women’s Hospital and Chicagonista Live! Prentice is a one million square foot state-of-the-art hospital dedicated to providing care for women through all stages of life. The hospital was thoughtfully conceived to provide patients with comfort and convenience, the latest in healthcare technology and support of the best professionals in healthcare.

Prentice Women's Hospital

ChicagonistaLIVE, Chicago’s first “Social Talk Show”, is an innovative and interactive show with 4 social, smart, and savvy mavens discussing serious to fun Chicago-centric hot city topics with engaging social media and tech news.

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2015 local Microphone sponsors were Chicago Parent, DL Loft, Balee Images, Naperville Moms Network, and Emerald City Theatre. Our 2015 local Podium sponsors were Little Beans Cafe, Aquarium Salon, and Chicago Elevated. Thanks so much to Kernel SweeTooth and Arranmore Arts for their additional support!

LTYM Chicago Oscar selfie

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.

Our lead photographer this year was Brandi Lee of Balee Images, who created our headshots and captured our rehearsals so beautifully.

Photo credit: Balee Images

Photo credit: Balee Images

Thanks again to Elizabeth Rago (and her assistant/brother Matt!) for photographing our show day; we were so lucky to have you there!

Photo credit: Elizabeth Rago

Photo credit: Elizabeth Rago

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, and Jerry at the Athenaeum Theatre. It’s always a pleasure to work with you; we love you guys!

Thanks to Jennifer Evers for helping us on show day with all front-of-the-house details. Mwah!
Thanks to Lisa Gangi for her assistance with sending out press releases!

You can read Melisa’s personal recap of show day by clicking here, and if your interest goes beyond Chicago (gosh, we hope so; it’s QUITE the national movement!), you can read about how she traveled to four other LTYM shows plus the NYC book launch by clicking here.

Naturally we want to thank our 2015 cast for their time, effort, bravery, and love. We had a great time getting to know this fantastic group of people and we’re thrilled that they are now permanent members of the LTYM Chicago family. (As we always say, they’re stuck with us!) Thanks Patti, Lyletta, Pamela, Angie, Keesha, David, Cindy, Stephanie, Kathleen, Cyn, Erin, and Samantha!! xoxo

LTYM Chicago 2015 reader Collage

All LTYM shows donate 10% of ticket proceeds to a local charitable organization. We were honored to work with The Red Pump Project for 2015. You can learn more about how this wonderful org educates about the effects of HIV/AIDS on women and girls by checking out their website. Thanks to co-founder Luvvie Ajayi for speaking on behalf of Red Pump to our audience!

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 LTYMChicago@gmail.com 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.

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Tracey: 2 days before our fourth show!! Yaayyy!!

Melisa: Where did the time go??? It seems like only yesterday that we were in the midst of auditions!

T: Sunrise, Sunset…

M: OMG. Stop. But they DO grow up so fast, don’t they?

T: This year has been awesome in the way that I would assume having a fourth child is awesome: we know what to expect, but the surprises didn’t really throw us for any loops. We just rolled with it.

M: So true. It felt weird but also nice to know that we FINALLY know what we’re doing. I mean, not that we didn’t before. (*waves to 2012, 2013, and 2014 casts*)

T: Hi guys!

M: Hey, lots of them will be in the audience on Sunday!!!

T: I know! Once you start watching LTYM, it’s kind of hard to miss a year. It moves you.

M: I know that *I* don’t want to miss a year! Not that I’m going anywhere.

T: So help me God, if you ever miss a year, I will be locked up in a padded cell by June.

M: I won’t! I won’t!

T: *kind of shaking in fear*

M: Okay, but this is not about us. How ‘bout that 2015 cast???

T: SO. Talented. SO SO SO. We really know how to pick them, eh? (pats self on back)

M: Aaaaand back to us. But SERIOUSLY.

T: Seriously, I’m proud and honored and ANXIOUS for the audience to see their range of stories this year!!!!

M: We say that every year but honestly, it’s so true! We are so blessed here in Chicago to have such incredible writers. You know which essay I’m most excited about hearing live in front of our audience on Sunday?

T: You really shouldn’t tell everyone that you like me the best.

M: Um. Wow. ANYHOO…what I was GOING to say is that the essay I’m most looking forward to on Sunday is ALL OF THEM. It was a trick question! Haha! We put together such a nice mix. The audience is going to be blown away.

T: I hate trick questions.

M: Okay, here’s a real question. How can people buy tickets, if they haven’t already??

T: Funny you should ask that because I was JUST GOING TO PUT IN A LINK! #onemind

M: #onemind

T: If you haven’t already picked up your ticket, please do so online by clicking HERE or calling the box office at 773-935-6875. Bring your friends and family! The Athenaeum is a HUGE and gorgeous theater!

M: Oh!! And this year we’ve even got Luvvie Ajayi, co-founder of The Red Pump Project, speaking from the stage about her organization. The Red Pump Project, which will receive 10% of our ticket proceeds this year, educates about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls through focused events and their signature campaign, #RockTheRedPump!

T: I’m really excited to see her and hear what she has to say. AND I’m excited to see Ann Imig and buy a copy of the LTYM anthology! Chicago is well represented in the book.

M: Ann will be signing books before the show, just off the lobby in the lounge! We’re always excited to have her in the house, but this year is especially cool, with the new book. I’m exhausted already and it’s not even Sunday yet!

T: I think we need naps.

M: Naps RULE. Zzzzzzz….

2015ltym5

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Cast Spotlight On Keesha Beckford

April 30, 2015

Our final cast spotlight is the talented Keesha Beckford! Only 3 days left until you will hear all of our amazing cast on stage at the Athenaeum!! ~~~~ Just You Wait, New Mom! By Keesha Beckford Maybe you have one child. Maybe you have six. Whatever the case, you’re a mom with more kids than you can handle. So although you love babies, you hung an “OUT OF BUSINESS” sign on your uterus and closed up shop. To get your fill, you ogle infants in strollers to the point where families pray there’s a police officer nearby. When someone you know has their baby in tow, you beg to hold the child, even for just a few seconds. This baby lust, however, should never, ever be confused with actually wanting another child. No sirree, it should not! You DO NOT want any more of those tiny humans in your house; the ones you […]

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Cast spotlight on Angela Bahng

April 29, 2015

With the show drawing near, we only have a few more posts to share with you. I’m so glad we are able to share a post from Angie Bahng! ~~~ With or without the kids By Angie Bahng Similarly to my fellow cast member Patti Minglin, I just returned from two weeks of traveling for work without my kids and husband. Since returning to work full-time last year, these trips were my first time away from the kids. “Why did you have to go on vacation without us?” my three-year-old kept asking. I tried to tell her that it wasn’t really a “vacation,” but who was I kidding? In some ways, having four days in a row by myself was a vacation! My coworker and I, who also has two young kids, kept looking at each other like we were in some parallel universe while we sailed through airport security, ate lunch in […]

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Local Sponsor Spotlight: Naperville Moms Network

April 28, 2015

I have a special place in my heart for the LTYM Chicago local sponsor we’re featuring today. I will have lived in Naperville (a suburb that is thirty miles directly west of Chicago) for twenty years this fall. It’s the longest (by far!) I’ve ever been in one town. I raised my kids here; when we moved here, my boys were three and a half years old…and seven months old! Being a young mom back in the Stone Age when a thing called “The Internet” was just starting to catch on (*insert dial-up sound here*), I had to make friends the old-fashioned way: by meeting my neighbors and hanging out after preschool or at the park. It took a while. Naturally, “the old-fashioned way” is still a great way to make friends, but gosh I wish Naperville Moms Network had been in existence back in the day because I really could have used […]

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