Talk about super cool: Meet Sue Fabisch, the awesome playwright behind Motherhood the Musical. We caught up with Fabisch to get her insights on being a playwright, finding inspiration, and (of course) motherhood!
For our readers who might not know, what is Motherhood the Musical? Where did you find inspiration to write it?
Sue Fabisch: When my first child was born (18 years ago!), I started writing songs about him. They were mostly lullabies about the unbelievable love I felt for this baby. Once babies #2 and 3 came, it seems like the songs became more frantic, kind of like my life. Before I knew it, I had 40+ songs about motherhood. I used to perform them as a one-woman show for years, but then I re-wrote it as a four-woman show and that’s when it really took off. So today, Motherhood the Musical has played in a bunch of cities around the US, in Scotland as well as a two-year tour all around Australia…twice!
Can you take us through the process of writing, producing, and then putting on a play for an audience? Were there any obstacles you had to overcome in the process?
SF: For me, the best part of the process was that I had no idea what I was doing. After I wrote the layout for the initial show, I found a little festival in Nashville that was featuring shows written by women. I submitted it, got in, and then thought, “Wow, I guess I need to finish this thing!” The response was tremendous and I knew that I was onto something. I figured I would present it to a few people that I knew in New York (I grew up in New Jersey and have a big fan base there). Again, the response was fantastic.
Then I decided I needed to do a production here in Nashville, to sort of see where we stood with lights, a set, costumes etc. I was able to get five articles in the local papers, and we sold out three weeks before the show opened. The response was exactly what I saw in the other presentations – laughing and crying in all the right places. One month later I had three offers from producers.
Are there any scenes in particular that stand out to you as favorites? If so, why?
SF: Oh gosh, that’s like asking me to pick my favorite child (which I do have by the way…)! So many of the scenarios are ripped from my real life that each time my kids and husband see it, they’re like, “Hey! Why is that in there?!” I tell them that all is fair in love and show business.
I think that audiences really relate to some comical moments like when Amy, the mom-to-be, fantasizes that she’s going to make her own baby food and use cloth diapers. They also enjoy the song about “Leaking” (followed by an 80’s workout style song where they kegel). And of course, the big crowd pleaser is the big gospel-themed number “The Kids Are Finally Asleep!” (complete with Hallelujah’s and all.)
What’s one thing you wish you knew about the theatre industry that you know now?
SF: Nothing happens fast. That and read the fine print!
Do you have any words of wisdom for young women wanting to go into playwriting or just theatre in general?
SF: I’m a big fan of just getting out there and doing it! I like to set a deadline, say a performance in the future, and then I get to figure out how to get it done. I find that if I wait ’til the “right time” there will NEVER be a “right time.” I also find that if you put it out there, God will send all the right people your way to get it done!
Where do you see yourself and Motherhood the Musical in the future?
SF: I would love to see Motherhood the Musical playing around the world for a long time. And would a production in Hawaii be too much to ask?!
Visit MotherhoodtheMusical.com for more information, song clips and reviews! The show will be playing at Tennessee Performing Arts Center on May 6-17.