Just in time for Mother’s Day celebrations, the annual “Listen to Your Mother” [LTYM] show returns on Saturday, May 11, showcasing 11 area mothers – and one father – who will share inspiring, funny and powerfully poignant stories that give motherhood a microphone.
Showtimes are 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at St. Luke’s Hospital’s Institute for Health Education, 232 S. Woods Mill Road in Chesterfield.
The 2019 performance, the show’s seventh, holds particular significance for Laura Edwards-Ray, who co-produces and directs the show with LTYM St. Louis veteran organizer Naomi Francis.
“This year is special. I lost my very best friend since childhood to ovarian cancer in September of 2018,” Edwards-Ray explained. “The beautiful thing about this show is that, every single year, we contribute to a different St. Louis cause. This year, it will be St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness [SLOCA]. The show will be dedicated to loved ones our cast members have lost as well.”
Several 2019 cast members have appeared in past LTYM shows, including two encore presenters from its inaugural year in 2013. Edwards-Ray describes them as “absolutely wonderful and who everybody still talks about.”
The first of those is award-winning blogger and humor columnist Hannah Mayer, who puts her own hilarious spin on being a mom of three girls.
“My performance is about the amazing job I’m doing setting the best examples for my children – specifically, how I never eat junk food for breakfast, maintain a 100% positive body image at all times, and keep my language clean as a whistle,” Mayer joked. “Over the last six years of watching my girls grow, I have realized how fast it all goes and now try more to slow down and enjoy the little things, like when they surprise me by filling the bathtub with slime.”
The other original cast member is Jen York.
York will reprise her heart-wrenching story of being raised by an alcoholic and abusive mother who, overwhelmed by the family’s poverty and by caring for an epileptic husband and three other children, gave her a quarter for a pay phone when she was 11 and told her to “find someplace else to live.”
York said that in the years since her “incredibly cathartic” first LTYM experience she has realized how much anger she was still carrying toward her mom. However, raising her own three boys has given her a new understanding of the difficulties of motherhood, even for those who have extensive support.
“That quarter changed my life, and I am now grateful for that quarter,” York explained. “Now my oldest is 8, and I get it – parenting is very hard. I’ve realized that those choices she made were what she had to do to survive, and I will focus on the healing I’ve gone through over the last seven years and what that has done for my perspective.”
All 12 of the intensely personal stories shared by the LTYM cast will take the audience on a memorable journey through laughter, tears and a new appreciation of the powerful role of motherhood in everyone’s life.
According to Edwards-Ray, the cast is comprised of some of the best writers in the St. Louis region.
“It’s just incredible how much talent we have in St. Louis and in Missouri … such talented women, and one talented man, James Baker, who is the husband of a past cast member and tells a wonderful story about his own mother,” she said.
Tickets for LTYM are $16, and are currently available online at eventbrite.com or through the show’s website, listenstl.com. Tickets also will be sold at the door if available, but only 275 tickets for each performance will be sold and sellouts are anticipated, Edwards-Ray said.
LTYM is sponsored in part by Mid Rivers Newsmagazine’s sister publication, West Newsmagazine. Other sponsors include St. Luke’s Hospital, Brain Dead & Cooking with Friends, D24 Printing, Diba Shoes Outlet, Elegant Child Early Learning Center, Get Promoted LLC, Girls in the Know, Kranzberg Arts Foundation, Pirate Pictures, Spirit Journey Photography, The Cup, The Wolf Café, and Vintage Vinyl.