Stay-At-Home Dad: ‘Motherhood the Musical’ plants seed of idea
By Howard A. Ludwig April 19, 2012 12:12PM
“Motherhood the Musical” is running at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted, Chicago, through June17. | Supplied Photo
Updated: May 23, 2012 8:07AM
I have very little doubt that “Motherhood the Musical” will be a hit. It just wasn’t for me.
The Wife and I took in the musical last week at the Royal George Theatre on Chicago’s North Side. Tickets cost $55 each. The show runs through June 17. We were invited as part of a press promotion.
I was suspicious prior to the opening curtain. I feared the musical would resort to one bad dad joke after another. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. There were a few jabs at fathers, but this was hardly the crux of the performance.
I was also impressed with the actors. Four women make up the cast. They were all talented and sang well.
The musical is set at a baby shower. Three women (presumably neighbors) shower the expectant mother with gifts and advice. The naïve mom hears from an overtired and underappreciated stay-at-home mom, a busy working mother and a recently divorced, single mom.
Their insights and gags are all fairly predictable, but the audience didn’t seem to mind. The crowd roared as the experienced moms sang about Costco and post-baby lovemaking. I occasionally cracked a smile, but I wasn’t cracking up.
Other jokes started out funny but were over-milked. For example, a couple of cracks about driving a minivan were enough. I didn’t need a whole song about it. Nor did I need to see one of the women squirm for two minutes while “her panty liner was stuck to her leg.”
Another problem was the lack of a plot. The expectant mom’s water breaks during the baby shower. Who didn’t see that coming? The guests rush her to the hospital and visit after the baby arrives. Other than that, the musical doesn’t really go anywhere. It’s just a series of silly songs with no real story.
And while I’m intimately familiar with the business of raising children, I often felt uncomfortable at the musical. It’s clearly crafted for women. At times, I felt like the unwanted dude who shows up at a bachelorette party. So ladies, do not drag your husband to this show.
On the other hand, I can see “Motherhood the Musical” as a fun girls night out. There are plenty of good restaurants near the theater at 1641 N. Halsted St. I even managed to find street parking nearby. And with Mother’s Day on May 13, I could also see this performance as part of a mother/daughter night out.
With this type of built-in audience, “Motherhood the Musical” — much like its predecessor “Menopause The Musical” — is sure to be a hit. And just to reiterate, the crowd around me really seemed to be having a good time.
With that in mind, I’ve been thinking of writing a script for “Fatherhood the Musical.” The cast would include an expectant father, a stay-at-home dad (of course), an overworked father of five, a divorced/weekend dad and their single buddy who’s content to remain childless, retaining his title as the “fun uncle.”
I’d throw in a silly song about coaching T-ball and a hilarious monologue about the fine art of peeing while standing up. Then, there will be a witty debate about how to get your wife in the mood with 25 minutes before the kids wake up from their naps and the house smelling like a bag of dirty diapers.
Now if I can only get men to buy a ticket to a musical.
Howard A. Ludwig is a former business writer for the SouthtownStar who traded his reporter’s notepad for a diaper bag. He can be reached at email@example.com