How a Mensch Got Me to the Theater…Finally

by Guest Blogger

This is a guest post by Robin Gorman Newman. Robin became a midlife mom at age 42, and it changed her life in ways she couldn’t have imagined. Soon, Motherhood Later (MLTS) was born – an organization for older moms. Robin is also Associate Producer of Motherhood Out Loud, which ran off-Broadway in New York and is now touring. As a Love Coach and author  — How to Meet a Mensch in NY and How to Marry a Mensch (being adapted for the stage), she has made appearances at shows including Dinner with Friends and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. She’s been seen on CNN and The Today Show and has spoken at numerous events and venues.

What are you going to do with your one and only life?” What are you going to do?  Viola Davis, actress, from her new movie, Won’t Back Down

It’s never too late to see your passions come to fruition…. even as a mom caught up in parenting. I wanted to share my story with The 52 Weeks so that others might be inspired.

I’ve adored theatre my whole life.

My first role in high school was a part in the ensemble of Anything Goes. While singing is not my strength, I won the role of an Angel — a big deal for me at the time. My family came to cheer me on, and it was an experience I’d not soon forget…and still makes me smile.

When I graduated college, my dream job was to become a professional Theatre Critic. But, when the New York Times hired Frank Rich that very year, my bubble was burst. He had scooped up the job I yearned for.

But I kept going. I kept my finger on the pulse of theater by writing reviews for the Queens Tribune and other local publications. I took a corporate job because it felt like the “safe” thing to do, but my heart was always with theater.

Over the years, reality set in, and the lure of a paycheck, and as I ultimately found my way to a career in public relations, my theatre critiquing took a backseat.

Then I became an author! My books, How to Meet a Mensch in New York and How to Marry a Mensch were published. As a little girl, I dreamed of writing books and seeing someone actually reading or buying it. But, in the back of my mind, the thrill of theatre always loomed.

When I was around 40, I decided to explore what it might be like to become a theatre producer.  I reached out to some producers, and they were kind enough to meet with me. One, who has sadly passed away…way too young…became my cheerleader and would invite me to readings of shows so I could experience that part of the process. Then, one day, out of the blue, he said to me MENSCH: THE MUSICAL. And, I said, “What?!” And, he replied and repeated as if it were a no brainer. “MENSCH: THE MUSICAL.” And, I said, “Really?!”

Shockingly, he envisioned my books as theater. He was interested in the project. I was stunned…thrilled…and scared out of my mind. I didn’t have playwriting experience. I took some classes and took a stab at it, but had no level of confidence in my ability.  So, I tabled it…but never forgot.

Parenting became my focus, and I launched a worldwide organization and blog, MOTHERHOOD LATER…THAN SOONER, after being tired of feeling like the oldest mom in the playground. I’ve worked on it tirelessly for about 7 years now. One day a wise friend said to me that Motherhood Later was really my “platform.” I knew what that meant…but didn’t grasp what it was leading to or what specifically she might have been alluding to.  Did she see something that I couldn’t? It turned out she was right.

One day, I got wind of a show that had just closed in Los Angeles called IN MOTHER WORDS.  I reached out to introduce myself and didn’t think I’d hear back from anyone. Then, I got a pleasant surprise. The co-creators/producers contacted me via email and suggested we chat. I wasn’t sure if they had an agenda or what I even had in mind, but I wanted to know more about the production to see if Motherhoodlater.com might somehow support it. Clearly, we were curious about each other, and that’s a good place to start.

What emerged from our phone conversation was so much more. The chat was stimulating, supportive, and I felt a connection to kindred creative spirits. The project was something I wanted to be part of. I was psyched! Little did I know, they were planning to next bring it to New York. The name became Motherhood Out Loud and they sent me the script. After a read and further discussion, and a meeting with the NY-based producer, I was sold. Associate Producer became my title, and I’ve embraced it with everything I have!  The show had a successful run at Primary Stages in NYC and is poised to tour worldwide.  It just completed a run in Tucson.

I’m also now working on MENSCH: THE MUSICAL. I’ve hired an experienced, award-winning playwright to “coach,” me, and under his guidance and encouragement, I’ve completed my first draft. Additionally, I blog about theatre on MotherhoodLater.com.  I’ve made theatre come to life in my life!

It’s never too late to keep pursuing your life’s dream…even “on the side” and in between real life. That much I learned as I look back with fondness re: my first theatrical role in Anything Goes.  Now I know why my parents were smiling even though my vocal talent left a bit to be desired. They knew I was doing something I loved from the beginning: following my passion for the stage.

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categoryPosted: 09/28/12 1:44 AM

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