LTYM Chicago 2013: The Non-Recap Recap

I have been at a loss as to how I should formulate a decent summary post for Sunday’s LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER CHICAGO show. I have so many words swirling around in my head but at the same time, none of them want to come out in any way that makes sense. I could tell you how amazing the show was, but that would be very similar to what I said last year. In a way, that’s not a bad thing. I’m finding out that, just as Tracey and I have been preparing our 2012 cast for “younger siblings” in an alumni group on Facebook, each year our show is indeed like bringing another baby home, one that we love so much and find that it’s so wonderful (amazing!) in its own unique ways.

Here are some interesting things about LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER CHICAGO 2013:

1. I have always despised public speaking. As outgoing as I am, I do not enjoy the spotlight AT ALL. I would much rather do wonderful things behind the scenes than be out in front. (Exhibit A, and True Story: When I was a teenager and my girlfriends all wanted to be the lead singer or guitarist in the band we talked about forming, I wanted to be the manager. The MANAGER!) Interestingly enough and after all of the times I’ve had a nervous stomach and the shakes when I have to get up in front of people to speak, that all goes out the window at LTYM. Though I get a little jittery right before curtain, it leaves my body quickly. As I walk out onto the stage, I’m comfortable. Happy to be there, even! WEIRD, RIGHT??

melisa and tracey run through

Tracey and me at run-through. (Photo credit: Sabrina Persico)

2. At some point during the week before the show, Tracey and I have a “Freaky Friday” thing where suddenly my Type A personality gets transferred to her, and I (gladly) receive her laid-back demeanor. This is perhaps the weirdest by-product of doing this show: I have never in my life (and I’m old!) worked on any major project and found myself totally zen and relaxed in the days leading up to it. Typically I’m a basketcase, and anyone in my family will vouch for that. I laughed like crazy each time Tracey hissed at me, “HOW DO YOU LIVE LIKE THIS?? I WANT TO TRADE PLACES AGAIN!” (and then I said, “No.”) I didn’t get everything done nearly a week ahead like last year so there was a little bit of a rushy-rushy feeling last week, but overall I was very chill about show day.

Monica and Phoebe

In this case, Tracey was still possessing my Monica Gellar-type personality and I was clearly Phoebe Buffay, talking her off the ledge. I love that Sabrina captured this moment. (Photo credit: Sabrina Persico)

3. Last year, I was just figuring out the ropes of co-taking care (with Tracey) of every single little detail of LTYM Chicago. This year I felt like I actually knew what I was doing. And it’s a lot, too. Renting the venue, getting sponsors, casting, hiring a videographer, photographer and tech people for show day, ordering printing, running rehearsals, to everything else that culminated on Sunday…all of that was initiated by the two of us. We had advisors, to be sure: Ann Imig (Founder and National Director), Deb Rox (LTYM Business Consultant), and Stephanie Precourt (Online Media Manager) were there behind the scenes (and we are so grateful: thank you!), but the actual work, the to-do list, was all us. I couldn’t be more proud of us for putting on such a huge event, one that ran so smoothly. Along the way we discussed things we’d do differently for 2014–and believe me, we’re making a list this week so we don’t forget!–but even with desired changes for next time, the 2013 show could not have been more perfect.

LTYM Chicago podium

All we needed was a mic, a podium, and the showbook. (Photo credit: Sabrina Persico)

4. Once again, I fell in love with our cast. Tracey and I only knew about a third of them before auditions. When making our casting decisions, of course we weren’t selecting people based on whether we knew them or if they were nice people or if we thought we’d have a great time: we were making decisions based on how well their essays were written, how well they read them, and whether their essays “fit” in with the others that we were choosing. We say that the stories pick each other, and that’s really true. That said, I would guess that if you ran into any combination of the seventeen of us–or even all of us–somewhere, you’d never know (or imagine) that we all just met three months ago. I am so happy to have made fifteen friends during this process, and I am so proud of their work on the show.

LTYM 2013 group shot

The LTYM Chicago 2013 cast (Photo credit: Sabrina Persico)

5. It meant so much to me to have my family and so many friends in the audience as well as so many who sent love and support from far away, and that’s not something I will ever take for granted. The people who showed up in person, the people who tried their best but still couldn’t come, and the people who live too far away to attend but still called me, sent emails, and texted me on show day: I am grateful for every single one of you. Also, although I figure I totally wore out my welcome on Facebook because I was promoting the show constantly, I’m pretty sure I didn’t lose any (Facebook) friends over it and for that I’m thankful, too.

6. D even came home from college just to see the show, and provided some of my most favorite feedback afterwards:

Great job

7. The piece on Ann Imig and the LTYM movement is scheduled to air on NBC NIGHTLY NEWS WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS tomorrow (Friday), May 10, near the end of the broadcast. NBC was with us all day long, so I’m guessing you’ll see some pretty good glimpses of the Athenaeum Theater and some of our cast!

NBC films the LTYM Chicago cast

We got used to the cameras being around, just as if we were on MTV’s “The Real World”. Or “Jersey Shore”, since this is 2013. (Photo credit: Sabrina Persico)

All in all, another great LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER experience. Tracey and I, while riding this wave, have already started a little bit of planning for 2014 in between trying to catch up with the other parts of our lives. (Crazy, I know.) Thanks again to everyone involved. I will keep this year’s journey close to my heart forever!

Final bow

The final bow. (Photo credit: Sabrina Persico)