Ladies and gents,
The oldest profession in the world, contrary to popular belief, is motherhood. It’s also the hardest and, this year, the job is more demanding than ever before.
Me, I’ve never been so delighted to be childless. It’s all I can do to get myself dressed in the morning (afternoon), and then white-knuckle it until cocktail hour (3:40 p.m.) In a good year, the notion of caring for a little tyke seems to require an almost other-worldly skill set, like being a photorealistic painter, a concert pianist, or a car mechanic. Add to that home-schooling and the reality of quarantining sans domestic staff, and I’m ready to faint.
So I hope this Mother’s Day takes on special meaning as we break out the pots and pans and send up three cheers for our original “front line workers.” My mother is no longer with me (which was an applicable phrase long before she passed away), so the mommies I’ll be honoring this Sunday are the great matriarchs of our industry. There are so many! Let’s start with Daryl Roth, whose instincts (maternal and otherwise) have shaped the American theater in ways large and small for the past thirty years and counting. I’ll also be thinking about new mothers, like Anaïs Mitchell, learning to nurture in a very scary world. Mothers-to-be, wearing masks to OB/GYN appointments and trying to manage all the anxiety without the benefits of booze, deserve special attention, too. I may even spend a moment or two thinking of all the fictional mothers that populate our stages, like the two at the center of Dear Evan Hansen (produced by another real-life mother, Stacey Mindich). And, I’m also going to send good vibes to the weary matriarch of our nation, Nancy Pelosi, whose own form of theatrics just may save us all.
Harvey Fierstein, who showed the world that motherhood knows no gender first with his play Torch Song Trilogy and then with his portrayal of Edna in Hairspray, ended a 2003 opinion piece in The New York Times titled “All My Children” with this lament: “What will this Mother’s Day bring? I expect nothing. No Whitman Samplers, no notes, no floral tributes. You see, I have grown smart enough to know that I have changed, but kids have not.” Well, children, this year it’s time to step up! I hate to end a column with a cliche but this feels important: for the love of all things sacred, pick up the phone and call your mother!
As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!