I have known about moms the musical since a friend tagged me in an Instagram post where they were looking for people to share their thoughts on a demo online recording. To see this show grow from essentially a sound cloud musical (which you can read my review of here – https://rhysreviews.com/2021/01/18/moms-the-musical-soundtrack-review/) to a virtual concert where the performers were all socially distanced across America (which I also reviewed as is available at https://rhysreviews.com/2021/04/25/moms-the-musical-concert-review/)) and now to a live in-person product in New York is amazing! Think of it like baking a cake, Teddy and Kelly brought together all the ingredients and flavours they want the show to possess and let’s say that it takes 20 minutes for the perfect cake to bake… the soundtrack was at 18 minutes, the concert was at 19 but the live workshop is the cake at the sweet spot, exactly 20 minutes! WHEN the show makes it to Broadway they can add more spectacle and theatrics but that’s purely for decorative purposes but everyone knows that the fundamentals of the show have had time to prove (I know that’s a term for bread and not cakes but still!) If the show does make it to Broadway or goes on tour, I would like a front-row ticket, please. Not only was it great to see the Moms The Musical cast get an opportunity to all perform together but there’s an added layer of importance as it is a sign of the return of live theatre (as the show was performed both in-person and online) which we at Rhys Reviews could not be more excited about!
For those who haven’t read my previous reviews of Moms the Musical, the story follows two mothers (Justine and Mia played by Sydney Wesson and Leah Platt respectively) who have two contrasting outlooks on life but form an unlikely friendship to help them navigate the world of motherhood. It is an honest and real look into modern-day motherhood which discusses the highs (and lows) moms encounter every day. As children, we think of our mothers as untouchable superhero’s but in real life, they are just like us, real people who face the trials and tribulations we all do. The show shines a light on what it means to be a mother which parents in the audience will easily be able to relate to but even people who are not will be able to understand the show and associate it with their mothers or mother figures in their life. At Rhys Reviews, we have interviews two iterations of the cast (the first for the online concert and the second for the workshop which are available at https://youtu.be/H-Ub6ts-ePw and https://youtu.be/pSTBtka6b4I respectively) where we talked about how the show is meant for mothers to feel seen but it’s near impossible for people to not take something from the musical! The two moms find refuge in a mothers group chat which alongside their friendship helps them navigate some very real and devastating events.
I can imagine everyone reading this is thinking … why have you reviewed the same show and interviewed the cast twice? It’s because each show has been so different from the last (with the key ideas staying the same) and there’s no replacement for live theatre. The zoom concert was great but there is something in the actors performing in front of an audience and feeding of the energy (which is talked about in our latest interview) rather than simply to a webcam. This is a fully-fledged two-act musical with twenty developed musical tracks. Throughout this musical journey, I have known that it’s not intended for a younger audience due to the strong language and the themes it explores. They seemed to have amped up the comedy in this live production, I remember the show being a comedic but honest look at motherhood but did not remember chuckling as much as did during the show!
Since I discovered this show online my favourite song has always been the opening song “the miracle of life” due to the wonderful balance of sarcasm and honesty contained within it. The performance of this number in the workshop did not disappoint! A special shout out needs to go to Victoria Rae Sook whose over-the-top and almost caricature-esque choreography fitted the song perfectly and exaggerated the contrast of excitement/reality of motherhood! The almost pantomime facial expressions of all this involved in this song were hilariously funny and was the perfect way to start the show! Almost a complete contrast to this song was “Out here” which was performed by Sydney Wesson which talks about the additional stresses mothers face such as working on top of all the mothering duties. The vocals in this number were incredible to listen two and Sydney managed to flawlessly balance the high energetic/comedic points with the more emotional lower energy moments in the song to deliver some comedic moments but also portray the true realities of being a mother! On the more positive side of being a mother, we have Mia, played by Leah Platt, who plays the always upbeat, goody-two-shoes mother who never utters a bad word about anyone (until the very end of the show where she justifiable erupts!) Leah’s always preppy performance of the character was amazing and was truly showcased during “A wonder to be a mother!”
I have talked about the mother’s group chat which is three physical representations within Moms the Musical. They are the ever-knowledge and omnipresent beings (think the muses from Hercules or a classical Greek Chorus) and I found the meta nature of them changing props/set to be very interesting and added another layer to the show! When Justine, Mia and the Greek chorus (comprised of Annie Raczko, Jessie Macbeth and Jenna Leavitt) come together for a comedic performance of “MIL” or mother in law was brilliant. The five voices worked perfectly together with Mia hilariously picking up the lyrics and choreography as the song went on to be very clever and hilarious. My only qualm with the show was with the Chorus however as a phone pinging sound (which I suppose was supposed to signify the fact that they are a human group chat representation) was played over dialogue and was quite distracting. They could have used some sort of musical underscoring rather than simply a sound effect as at times it was difficult to hear what was being said by the group. The beginning of act one was “the birthing room” (which is clever as it’s the birth of the new act) was a brilliant song that contained a hilarious tap dance break in normal shoes. The moms all supported each other by encouraging each dancer despite how limited their tap abilities appeared to be which was not only comedic but further added to the idea of support these group chats can provide!
They had added a few new songs into this version of the show and “what they don’t tell you” was a wonderful addition. This was a much more emotionally driven song delivered by Justine (who again provided incredible vocals) with a much softer side to the character being shown at the perfect time. This number is very littler choreography/props/sets but instead, the focus was on the emotion and power shown through this song. I’m not sure if Sydney she’s a few tears during this song due to how powerful the music is but what I do know is that I did! Sean Ricciardi who played Scott did a perfect job of playing the detestable husband. Every moment this character was on stage I was waiting for him to get what he deserves (I do have to say that in real life Sean is a very lovely person but his character portrayal was perfect!) This character leads to Mia’s eventual breakdown in “Uncensored” where we finally hear her swear after a series of events and Mia erupts and unleashes a plethora of profanities and kicks Scott out which was met with thunderous applause!
Overall, this is a live workshop that manages to perfectly use the element of ‘contrast’ to create many comedic moments but still keeps the messages of motherhood at its core. Each cycle of this show has been better than the last and now the cake has been perfectly baked and ready for a bigger (Broadway) stage! I would rate this show 5 out of 5 stages with my only qualm being the choice of sound effects that can easily be resolved! I would recommend this show to anyone who has a mother/mother figure in their life that they wish they could understand more, which is most people!
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