I am completely filled with gratitude over this project. I first encountered Sweet Mama and the Salty Muffins through the “director-playwright speed dating” that the producers at Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival put their teams through to match up directors and playwrights. I read a lot of plays. I talked to a lot of playwrights. But something clicked when I read this play, and then when I spoke with playwright Ciaran Myers. It was like we had been collaborators for years already, despite literally a 10 minute phone call. Sometimes you just know.
We put up the first monologue of the play, Mama’s monologue, in the 2018 festival. It got some great feedback. And so often, that’s where new work ends. But again…sometimes you just know. We revived it at the D’Arcy Symposium in that form. Got more amazing feedback. Kept talking. Kept thinking. Then Ciaran approached me about a new collective launching a New Works Festival, Whiskey Ginger Collective. Did we think Sweet Mama could continue to develop?
We were going to do one more monologue for this Spring. An actor was lined up, a plan was in place. And then, suddenly, after a late night of writing… he had a whole play. 60 minutes, four characters, five songs, beautiful snapshots of our relationship to parenthood and loss. So, we found three more (amazing) actors who could workshop a script while also helping to write the songs for this play with music. We dramaturged. We cut. We debated. We wrote songs. . and here we are.
The current version has existed for about a week. We shared it with a preview audience Tuesday night, and invite audiences tonight (Wednesday March 20) through Sunday March 24th. It is a reading of the script in development, and it might even keep changing as the week goes on. We’ll see. You can get tickets here. There are PWYC shows, and artist rate shows, etc etc. We’re joined by two other works that are further along in their development, and hope that you’ll join us to see something new and fresh, and help give new writing the room to breathe in the ether. These four magnificent women represent some of the most versatile, generous, and talented performers you’ll encounter, which is worth the price of admission in itself. And, I think, there is something really special about this script.
Massive thanks go out to my collaborators:
Ara Glenn-Johanson - Mama
Liz Whitbread - Singer
Michelle Jedrzejewski - Bassist
Renee Strasfeld - Caroline
And to those who have supported the creation of this music: Liz, Ara, and Renee, along with John Norman and Sierra Noble, as well as to Lisa Lenihan and Emma Miziolek, who worked so diligently on the first production that helped make this all possible.