The three of us sat together at a local public library community room for the final day of LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Milwaukee’s auditions. We are LTYM Milwaukee’s production team, and we each arrived in our LTYM uniform, and we did this without calling in to each other.
The red megaphone and the bold black “listen” is a sight so familiar to us, and we wear this logo with pride. We are part of something, and that something comes with purpose: we are there to help people’s stories be heard.
Nationwide, LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER is holding its final season of shows in 31 cities. That makes this year’s LTYM Milwaukee’s show our grand finale. This means it won’t just be our shows that will happen for the last time, but it’s our auditions too.
Our auditions have always been my favorite part in the role of co-producer. I listen to each story and think of how much we each bring into one anothers’ lives. This weekend, the combination of the current emotional political climate together with this year being our last LTYM year had me listening to our auditionees in a way I hadn’t before.
I listened, making my mind still, and I couldn’t help but feel this was like the last breakfast my sons had at home before we drove them to college. You learn to savor the moment that will be the last. Oh, we are going to miss auditions. The chills as we listened to these stories, knowing we can only choose 10, and that the ones we choose must weave into the theme that emerges. Every year, a main thread does materialize, and somehow, magic I’m sure, the thread finds its way to the stories that will begin and bring to a close, our show for that year.
This afternoon, Rochelle, Jenny, and I wrapped up our auditions for the last time. We had the library room for 30 more minutes after our last reader.
“Well, that was it,” we looked up at one another after our last reader closed the door. We each processed the moment.
What did we want our last show to mean?
What can we give to our audiences?
What experience do we wish for our cast members?
We sat together, in our identical Tshirts, pens in hand and our notebooks in front of us. We got to work.
It will be our last show, and already we feel how very special our May 7 event will be. Our readers today, well, I have to use the word WOW. Dear Milwaukee, not this year, not the year before, not the first year, not the last, have you ever failed to astound us in the best way. Not ever. Milwaukee, you have plenty to say!
With today’s auditions, I could feel the intent of our Milwaukee production team to be present. To listen deeply, hear the words that are left unsaid in the spaces. To learn about each other. To feel the gift of community and how much we bring into each other’s lives. Call it intuition, call it hope, call it what it is: our country’s re-ignited desire to engage and to be active in the world we live in.
Come to our show on May 7. You are going to love the stories you will hear. They will move you, change the way you think and feel. Our stories will help you see the beauty of the community you live in and show you that the way we come to know one another, is through our stories. Through seeing another world through the eyes of someone else.
Words are powerful and whether people witness or bring them, words grow in might in the presence of others. We hear a story, and though the show is over, the story we just heard never really leaves us.
Coming together is going to be the light in this world. And every story you hear on May 7, will make our world shine brighter.
Thank you for finding us, Milwaukee storytellers. You astounded us again, for the 5th year in a row. We were speechless with laughter, tears, and revelation of “me too” moments. Today was a bittersweet beautiful day and it was your sharing of yourselves that made it that way.
Here’s to our final LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Milwaukee show. Sunday, May 7, 3PM at Alverno College’s Wehr Hall.
Save the date, we’d love to have you there with us.
Your Milwaukee LTYM production team,