by Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman
Even though we don’t have to wash all our clothes by hand, walk hours to get water and cook from scratch with limited ingredients, life today as a mom has its own difficulties and pressures. Some pressures – like dealing with a baby that doesn’t sleep well – we can easily admit to. Others – like the pressure to give our children the best opportunities and maybe watch our children not reach their potential – we don’t always care to admit to. But that’s okay, the play Urban Momfare, currently playing at the FringeNYC festival does this for us. With intelligence, finesse, and lots and lots of humor. I recently attended a performance and while I was thoroughly entertained, most of all I felt relieved to hear others say the things that most of us are embarrassed to say.
Urban Momfare follows three women who live on the Upper East Side: Kate, a newcomer from Pittsburgh and her friends, Debbie and Ellen. The story takes place over the course of 17 years. It begins when Kate’s daughter, Charlotte, is a baby, and ends when she goes off to college. The three friends deal with nannies, divorces, problematic children and the pressures of being a modern mom and how it affects their own friendships. Throughout the show I constantly had that “Yeah, me too!” feeling. It sometimes felt like a good part of it was written about my own life. In fact, I don’t think there’s a single mom out there who won’t be able to identify with at least some of the issues. I don’t want to give away too much so I’ll just discuss some of the highlights that I think make the show worthwhile (not to mention that it’s also affordable). One of the most memorable scenes was of a class called “Music for Gifted and Talented Babies”, that highlighted how moms can be competitive and pushy about their kids and trying to have the “best kid”. I loved the song “I want a Superdad” – a perfect example that the grass is always greener. In dealing with the ambiguity that comes with having your first child – there was a great line in a song: “Everybody asks about the baby, nobody asks about me”. This was really easy to identify with, along with a line from another song: “Nobody wants to hear about your kids”.
Urban Momfare is a satire and the jokes fly at a mile a minute, but there were some bittersweet moments. One of the characters, Debbie, deals with a child with issues, who is likely autistic. Her song “A Child That’s Hard to Love” was very moving and brought me to tears. The talented cast is spearheaded by Pamela Weiler Grayson, who wrote the music and lyrics and co-wrote the book with Alice Jankell, who directed the show. Sarah Rosenthal as Charlotte, nearly stole the show – what a huge talent! She could really hold her own with the seasoned adults. I also want to mention Cheryl Howard, who was equally believable as an Upper East Side posh mom and a Caribbean nanny (accent and all).
Oftentimes shows begin with a great opening scene but then gradually get worse as the show progresses. In Urban Momfare, the show just got better and better. Each song was better than the one before, each punchline more poignant than the one before. The show, which runs for one hour and 35 minutes, is playing for only two more days, this Friday and Sunday and at a mere $18 per ticket it’s a steal!
When: Friday, August 22nd at 5:15pm
Sunday, August 24th at 3:30pm
Where: Theatre 80 (Venue #7)
80 St. Marks Place (between 1st and 2nd Avenue)
Price: $18 advance, $24 at the door.
To Purchase Tickets visit www.fringenyc.org
Photos by Dixie Sheridan
I was not compensated for this post. I received tickets to the show.
Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman is the owner of Mama’s Bites and has also written for The Huffington Post. She has been living in New York City for thirteen years and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature as well as a Law Degree, but blogging is her true passion. Maytal is a stay-at-home mom to three kids (ages 7, 5 and 1) and loves finding great products that make her family’s life easier.