Things are getting exciting all up in here (again!); on Thursday, the LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER 2015 season kicked off with our city announcement. This year we’re bigger and better than ever with twenty-nine returning cities and ten new cities!
We’ve come a long way from that single show in Madison, Wisconsin back in 2010, don’t you think?
(*high fives Ann Imig*)
As the National New Cities Mentor, I’ve been working with our new production teams behind the scenes for the last month or so, all while they were keeping the news of their selection under wraps.
That’s DIFFICULT, you guys. Like, you don’t even know.
Over the past four weeks I’ve told these wonderful women multiple times to enjoy the peace and quiet where their shows are concerned because once that train leaves the station, we all eat, sleep, and breathe LTYM until May. It’s a lot of thinking, a lot of planning, a lot of work.
It’s also a lot of fun, a lot of laughter, a lot of feeling like this is one of the best things we’ve ever done in our lives. Ask any LTYM show-runner and she’ll agree with me.
The connections I’ve made through LTYM, from the Chicago cast members over the past three years (THREE YEARS ALREADY!) to the sponsors who support the show financially each year to the Chicago blogger community who supports the show so enthusiastically each year to my fellow producer/directors in other cities (both returning and new) to the National Team to, of course, Tracey, my platonic lobster and co-producer here in the Windy City, are more valuable to me than gold. Or diamonds. Or other valuable things. LTYM truly IS one of the very best, most fulfilling, fun, rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life.
The funny thing is, I have said this to this year’s newbies several times but now matter how much they might think they get it, they won’t really get it until much later. This I know. I’m not trying to rush the season by any means, but one of the most rewarding parts of my job as New Cities Mentor in my first year was watching the exhilaration ooze out of the ladies I had worked with all season, upon their shows’ end this past spring. I can’t wait (well, you know what I mean) until these new teams feel that, too.
Locally, Tracey and I are working on early season tasks for our FOURTH Chicago show. We’re not even thinking about casting yet (that starts after the new year!) but as we make our lists and send preliminary emails, I look at the “iconic” pictures from each of our shows and am inspired to once again do my best work.
It’s in looking at those pictures and appreciating the forty-two women (and man!) who have made the LTYM Chicago experience what it is for Tracey and me that fuels me for the hard work to come.
Let’s not even talk about how impactful it was to gather many of them on our stage in May for an alumni picture. I get teary-eyed all over again whenever I look at this one (Photo credit: Balee Images):
Okay wait, let’s talk about it. That was a huge heart moment. Tracey and I brought those people together, heard their stories, coached them through telling their stories to a live audience of hundreds of people, basked with them as they enjoyed their “Me too!” moments post-show, and now enjoy being a part of a forever family that is supportive and loving and fun. We’ve even already scheduled our alumni picnic for next August. (Waves to Stephanie K, our hostess with the mostess!) No sappiness intended, but that is what Tracey and I set out to create from the very beginning. To see them en masse was an experience I won’t soon forget. Forty-two people so far have joined Tracey and me as a part of the LTYM Chicago family, and as we plan to welcome another ten or eleven into the fold, I am just so excited and inspired.
THIS is what I want the new production teams to understand: beyond the small details (SO MANY DETAILS) that go into planning the perfect show for their city (and each one will be perfect–or nearly so!–in its own way) are the people and the lives that are touched forever by the sharing of these important stories. The bonds that form over the season have the potential to be very strong, and I encourage my new 2015 production teams to embrace the heart of it all, and make it an outstanding experience as a whole not only for their cast members but also for themselves.
It’s all starting to unfold…are you ready? I am!