Behind The Scenes: Listen To Your Mother, La Crosse’s Finale Season


Jess Witkins

Listen To Your Mother 2017 Cast. Photo: Diane Knothe of Apropos Photography
Listen To Your Mother 2017 Cast. Photo: Diane Knothe of Apropos Photography

Listen To Your Mother is a national series that features local stories about mothers and motherhood. In our second year hosting a show in La Crosse, my production team of Beth Erickson (Jobe Communications and Trust Point Inc.), Molly Hilligoss (YWCA La Crosse), and I wish that everyone could be a fly on the wall during auditions. We hear incredible stories of love, loss, laughter, and life journeys. It is a privilege to listen to each story, and we want to thank everyone who has trusted us with their truths over the past two years. There is something so touching about listening to a person’s truth it can only be described as magical.

The 2017 show promises to take our audience on a well-crafted exploration of “the good, the bad, and the barely-rested” that is motherhood. Though, we should say, you don’t have to be a mother to enjoy our show. We are excited to introduce our cast of 13 women and men to you. Our cast is diverse, and so are our stories, with tales coming from all over the globe this year.  

We’ve got stories about mothers, of course, but we also have stories about mother figures, the often unrecognized individuals who play just as important a role in our support system – grandmothers, aunts, sisters, even stay-at-home dads. We’ve got stories to make you laugh, and definitely some that will make you cry. All of our stories are full of heart.

Behind the scenes, our cast and production team are getting to know one another. We’re sharing more stories. We’re talking about our families, our jobs, our hobbies, our passions. We’re workshopping the show order and fine tuning our pieces, so when show night comes you can sit back and enjoy this production of live readings that is truly unlike any other.

We’re thrilled to welcome back our emcee for the evening, WKBT News 8’s Lisa Klein. So many of our local sponsors, such as Women Writers Ink and News 8, returned to support us this year, and we are ever grateful for their partnership. The many local sponsors we have help provide us with rehearsal space, they feed our cast, they promote the show, and they all support women and families.

All of the Listen To Your Mother productions across the country – there are 30 cities this year – take place within a few weeks of Mother’s Day, and each performance supports a nonprofit partner as well. Locally, ten percent of every ticket sold will benefit YWCA La Crosse whose mission is to end racism and empower women and girls. Our local YWCA has been established for over 100 years and offers many programs for teens and adults that support mentoring, counseling, rehabilitation, social justice, and diversity.

We can’t wait to see you in the crowd on show night! It is an honor to share these stories with each of you. In the meantime, don’t forget to LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER!

2017 Cast  

  • Joanne Adragna Shird
  • Beth Erickson
  • Maureen Freedland
  • Nancy Heerens-Knudson
  • Sylvia Jimison
  • Livia Johnson
  • Jonathan Lamb
  • Amy Sanwick
  • Susan C. Schuyler
  • Michael Scott
  • Sheida Teimouri
  • Clare Wight
  • Christy Wopat
2016 Cast. Photos: Bruce Defries
2016 Cast. Photos: Bruce Defries
YWCA Development Director, Rose Reinert. Photo: Bruce Defries
YWCA Development Director, Rose Reinert. Photo: Bruce Defries
Photo: Bruce Defries
Photo: Bruce Defries
Photo: Bruce Defries
Photo: Bruce Defries

Jess Witkins  author

Jess Witkins is a writer, blogger, and sometimes funny. Her mission: making pathetic look cool since 1985. She can be found in the Coulee Region's many coffee shops and wordmongering at Jess Witkins's Happiness Project.