Pittsburgh Did Listen To Your Mother PROUD!

by stephaniejankowski on May 26, 2015

…or maybe Listen To Your Mother did Pittsburgh proud?

Either way, our inaugural cast hit it out of PNC Park and into the Allegheny River with their performances on May 8 at the Elsie Hillman Auditorium at the Kaufmann Center Hill House.

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Auditions were fantastic!

Read-throughs at our cast party were fun!

Rehearsals were efficient!

Google Hangouts got us all a step closer to our final goal!

Performance night was perfection.

Jen, Amanda, and I are still gushing over how everyone had their best reading during their live performances; everything we initially loved about these women and their pieces was emphasized for our eager audience. From our colorful words to our fabulously colorful wardrobe, Listen To Your Mother: Pittsburgh rocked it.

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We took our places on stage while Alicia Keys belted out Girl On Fire, and then Amanda–who is meant to be on camera, like, 24-hours a day–dazzled with her smile and ability to put everyone at ease with a quick joke. After her brief introductions, we each left our seats, floated to the microphone, and had our moment. There was laughter, audible gasps and awwws, and, of course, tears. There was uproarious applause and maybe a standing ovation at the end–I don’t remember; I think I blacked out when Sara Bareilles’s Brave swelled through the auditorium and I held the hands of my cast mates for our final bow.

Just before the show, sweating back stage, our fearless leader Jen promised us that each of our stories was super important to someone in our audience. That our words were going to resonate with someone in an unexpected way, and that person would go home a different man or woman. Jen could not have been more correct.

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So many concerned Mamas rushed the stage inquiring about the end of Erika‘s thoughtful perspective as a new Mom; a father and businessman told me he plans to use the phrase “Like. A. Boss.” just like I did in my essay. My mom’s personal favorite was the sweet narrative by Britt; my brother preferred Tina‘s dry wit and fantastically funny reading.

All parents identified with Natalie‘s opening piece about giving our children wings even though we may want them firmly planted in our nests for-ev-er, and although not all of us have experienced Postpartum Depression the way brave Danielle has, we can all certainly relate to the brilliance and grace of hindsight. Nary a dry eye in the house after listening to Jen Pelling read about Shadow, the warrior hen, who stopped at nothing to protect the chicks she believed she had birthed, in this inspirational twist on adoption story. Just as we thought we were in for a good comedy, Jen Hicks took us from “lighting your farts” to sending her baby boy to college in a cluster of emotions.

Gina reminded us all of the infinite strength Mothers draw from their children as she paid homage to her son. Moms of daughters everywhere could relate to Tamara‘s fears as she patched up a part of her heart right there on stage in front of hundreds of strangers, and Moms of feisty daughters were laughing so hard it hurt when they heard Dawn‘s story!

While we’re on the topic of laughs…

I’m just going out on a limb here, but I think a lot of us put those Kegels to good use during Kristen‘s essay where sperm, Michael Bublé, and spelunking were woven together to tell one of the funniest stories of the night. And Ilene gave us as a case of the giggles as she recounted the epitome of elementary school-aged humiliation: an impromptu visit from Mom while you’re rocking the cool table in the cafeteria. Those giggles turned into tears as she wrapped up with a heartwarming message of appreciation and love for her mom.

And that’s just it, you guys: appreciation and love is a running theme of Listen To Your Mother. An appreciation for having a platform from which to share our voices, and a love for telling our stories. Because as our producer Jen said, someone is holding on to our voices and our stories, and it may not always be obvious whose heart needs to hear and be heard. Our cast mates and anyone who has ever been a part of the show all agree: Listen To Your Mother is a transformative experience, one that forever changes the way a person sees and does motherhood.

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Jen, Amanda, and I give many thanks to everyone who came out to our show, a heap of gratitude and hugs to our fantastic cast, and immeasurable and unending appreciation to the inimitable Ann Imig; if not for her vision and guidance, Motherhood wouldn’t have a Microphone in Pittsburgh. We love you all and can’t wait for next year!

 

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All photos courtesy of our fabulous friend & sponsor,  Ashley Mikula Photography

hello haha narf May 27, 2015 at 1:49 pm

the show was wonderful. much better than i expected (sorry!). i went at the invitation of a friend who was in the cast because i knew three of the wonderful ladies who would be speaking. i didn’t know what to expect. and i, quite literally, loved every reading. the entire show was marvelous. thank you for bringing the show to pittsburgh.
now i can’t wait for the videos!

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