Cast Spotlight on Cindy Fey

by Tracey on April 25, 2015

Some people were born to be on stage; Cindy Fey is one of those people! 


Ham Mom

 by Cindy Fey

Come May third, the day I step onstage for my first Listen To Your Mother show, I can guarantee you that my heart will be racing. A party of butterflies will be dancing in my stomach and my armpits will probably be soaked, but make no mistake; I’ll be happy as a clam.

I love the spotlight.

Go ahead, call me a ham. That’s me, shameless under the stage lights. Never one to let my deep-seated introversion or a lack of talent hold me back. I’ll karaoke all night.

As a mother, my immunity to most embarrassment has served me well.

Need a volunteer to don a Plastic Bag Monster costume and roar “I don’t degrade for a million years!” at the kids in the lunchroom on Earth Day? Pick me!


Need some fool to get up in front of three hundred Girl Scouts and shake, shimmy, and whip her hair back and forth to win the camp dance contest for her Brownie troop? Hey, over here!

Need somebody to sing loud and slightly off-key on stage during the school fundraiser variety show dressed as a leprechaun? A chocolate lab? A green crayon? I am so there.

My mother was bigger than life, I’ve been told, a vivacious woman with an easy frequent laugh who played the trombone, made amateur mystery movies with her college friends, would throw two house parties in a single day, and had no qualms about jumping in front of the photographer taking a posed portrait of her father-in-law and his sons. Yes, my mother photobombed before photobombing. She died when I was four and I was raised by a modest aunt and shy uncle who would urge me at the dinner table, “Don’t be so demonstrative.”

So call it my mother’s legacy, call it my small rebellion against convention, call it a possessing a ham bone instead of a funny bone, call it obnoxious, I don’t care. C’est moi.

My poor daughters will roll their eyes and hush me when I start singing along with the grocery store Muzak, but I hope I’m modeling good qualities for them. Like facing your fears. And embracing fun and service and a love of music and theater and life and performance and other artsy postive stuff.

So I was thrilled to be chosen as a cast member of Chicago’s 2015 Listen to Your Mother show. And happy to have some time in front of an encouraging audience.

But I had a conversion experience the other day. It was the first day that I met the other cast members of LTYM and we practiced our motherhood essays for each other.

I sat mesmerized and moved by the stories I was hearing. My jaw was on the floor. And the show expanded in my mind into something bigger than a group of people speaking their truth, more than a cluster of individuals taking our turns in the spotlight.

We are part of something bigger than our selves — we are part of the ongoing story that is the experience of motherhood, a story that never ends, even after our mothers have gone, even after we have become mere memories to our children.

It’s the story of the world. It’s the story of us, all of us, those of us who had a mom, knew a mom, hated your mom, lost your mom, had lots of moms, hard-working moms, hardly-working moms, moms of two feeters and moms of four-feeters, step-mom, half-mom, substitute mom, a raggedy blankie wrapped around a wire monkey-mom, we are all in this story of motherhood together.

Now I have become an LTYM evangelist. These stories need to be heard; YOU need to hear these stories! Don’t miss the show. And I can’t wait to hear your story, too.


These stories DO need to be heard, Cindy! We totally agree! And the audience will agree as well, in just EIGHT DAYS! There are still tickets available for the May 3rd show at the Athenaeum. We hope to see you there!

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