As the lights went down, the audience heard: "You won't have to cook, clean or fold any laundry for the next 90 minutes." As the title flaunts, MOTHERHOOD: THE MUSICAL is indeed about the joys, woes and bladder control problems that entails being a mom.
This show is truly the soccer mom's anthem. After all, one of the lines shouted out is: "Don't ask what your mommy can do for you. Ask what you can do for your mommy."
The incredibly campy, cheesy, cheeky musical often hits right at home-playing off the stereotypes of bad kids, minivans, lazy dads, grandmas, sex, baby names, kegel exercises and…hemorrhoids.
A pregnant-for-the-first-time Amy (Lisa Manuli) asks, "Does it hurt?" To which she is answered "The delivery? Or the next 18 years?"
The show goes onto to be an inside joke that any dad might fall behind on, but has probably heard before. Yet, any mother that listens to the peppy songs would get a laugh. Titles like "Baby Weight Blues" and "Good Drugs," are apart of the 22-song show. Ranging from jingles about Costco (leading to a "storegasm") or a whole robust number on "leaking" (Barb yells: I depend on depends), mothers alike have something in common with this musical.
Produced by the same folks of "Menopause: The Musical," and with its book and lyrics by Sue Fabisch, the knowledge of a mother's pain and joy is limitless. The show has run at The Royal George Theatre in Chicago, Society Hill Playhouse in Philadelphia and has spawned national tours.
The premise is fairly simple. As one woman is about to enter motherhood, three been-there-done-that moms give her, occasionally cynical, advice on raising a baby.
The cast of four moms represents a different type of character. There's Amy, the mom-to-be, Brooke (Ilona Ahearn), the lawyer who still has time for her kid's soccer practice, Tasha (Jewel Lucien), the divorcee and Barb (Jen Chada), the veteran, yet lovable stay-at-home mom. All four ladies have played these roles before, and it obvious. Each was comfortable within their characters as they ranted about the do nothing fathers and threatened to strike from household chores; they even boast signs such as "Vacuums Suck" and "Put The Seat Down."
All four women also have the vocal abilities to back up their roles. Lucien has the pipes that would make a child throwing a temper-tantrum quiver. The ladies-even the pregnant Amy-dance around the stage, flaunt their "sagging" assets and have no problem digging out their panty-liner wedgies.
Still, for all the comical complaining that the moms deliver throughout the piece, the presence of actually being a mommy holds strong. Chada often delivers witty quips throughout the show; peevishly talking about raising her kids, she admits that she wouldn't change a thing. In her song "I'm Danny's Mom," she sings about how she may never be a star, but she is always in the spotlight when her kids are around. Chada brings a sense of realness to the show as she tears up singing about the real joy of motherhood.
MOTHERHOOD: THE MUSICAL has all the fixings to be a cult favorite. Similar to Nunsense, this ditty of a show does not present any serious dramatic flair. The plot never really builds to an overarching climax and the characters don't develop a brilliant arch throughout the piece. But, that's okay. This show is a riotous, hilarious ride through the often thankless job of being a mom.
This musical makes you want to give your mom a giant hug and a great big thank you.
For more information on MOTHERHOOD: THE MUSICAL at Downstairs Cabaret Theatre, click here.
Photo Credit: Campbell Photos