BWW Reviews: Moms Gone Wild in MoM: A ROCK CONCERT MUSICAL
"I'm just a stupid mom...who would want to hear me sing?" griped one band member before shedding her soccer mom image and launching into international rockstar success. In MoM: A ROCK CONCERT MUSICAL, five suburban 40-something moms form a rock group and learn how "rock and roll saved [their] sorry ass souls." This is a story of five everyday, normal housewives who forfeit their homemaking duties, throw aside their "granny underwear," leave the kids with Dad, and decide to follow their own dreams. "Why can't HE take care of the kids for a change?" they ask. As one mom aptly puts it, "Sometimes it's been a nightmare, and other times a dream come true."
Collectively, Donna Jean Fogel, Jane Keitel, Bekka Lindstrom, Dana McCoy, and Stefanie Seskin brilliantly play the rockstar moms who go on a humbling journey of priorities, familial destruction, and ultimate self-affirmation. Flawlessly written and directed by Richard Caliban, MoM's story may as well be a true one wherein every middle-aged woman who is a devoted wife and mother can relate.
As each scene progresses, we see clothes get skimpier and sexier, hair get bigger and wilder, and we witness sex, drugs, and alcohol addiction, marriage breakups, child neglect, lesbian affairs, and the evolution of a more raw, grittier sound. Husbands get tired, kids grow older, and the true meaning of life seems somehow missed or distorted by pursuing their own rock star dreams. All the while, however, Nancy (played by Jane Keitel) admits, "Mama's doing the best she can."
A true poignant moment is revealed when the mothers realize they've missed out on making breakfast for their family, attending soccer games, and don't even know what college their kids applied to. In a role-playing moment of a grown son to his mother wherein the mother is seeking peace and solace, the son simply says, "You did what you wanted to do." She can only reply with, "So much for, 'that's my mom up there -- she's a cool lesbian rock star,'" and goes on with her worldwide touring success.
Perhaps a little cliche in its theme and process, however, this ensemble has amazing chemistry and truly tugs at your heart as you follow their journey to stardom and self-discovery. Drummer, Karen (played by Donna Jean Fogel) even admits, "My problem is that I don't have a problem." That statement basically sums up each musician's predictable fate.
Some standout numbers include "My Lights are Shining," "The River Flows and Flows," and "Don't Hold Back." Not only do we observe an emotional transformation, but we also witness and appreciate the musical growth and development in song and lyrics.
The story is simple but the journey is complex. Five suburban moms, played expertly by five multi-talented actresses, under the stellar direction of Richard Caliban, sacrifice their families in pursuit of their own identity and rockstar dreams. Talented actresses and musicians trade in their soccer balls in favor of fishnet stockings and guitars, and learn how "rock and roll really did save [their] sorry ass soul." The only thing their kids remember, however, is "the artist formerly known as mom."
MoM: A ROCK CONCERT MUSICAL continues through Saturday at TBG Theater, 312 West 36th Street, Manhattan; (212) 868-4444, smarttix.com.
Photo Credit: Chris Monroe