Journey to and through motherhood
Marisa Roberge stages Musical Mom in Goffstown
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
After graduating from Cornell University with a degree in theater, Marisa Roberge spent five years in New York, where she and her husband, Kevin, acted professionally. Eventually they landed in New Hampshire, after living “all over.”
She hadn’t done much theater after their second child was born, and about three years ago, “Kevin really encouraged me to put together a one-woman show about motherhood,” Roberge said.
They started listening to Broadway songs, and found ones that could apply to motherhood when taken out of their original context.
Roberge started working with director Wayland Bunnell of Community Players of Concord, who gave her musical revue a storyline. “He really helped me fine-tune it,” Roberge said.
Musical Mom takes you through motherhood from the moment you learn you are pregnant through letting go. It has been staged about five different times, including in Concord and Louisville, Ky., but never in the Manchester area until now.
Roberge performs it as a fundraiser for In His Steps Learning Center in Goffstown in time for Mother’s Day. (Her son Beckett attends the preschool.)
A fellow mom said after a show, “I feel like you’ve taken my journal and put it on stage,” Roberge said. Musical Mom is general enough that you can interpret it in the way that touches you, Roberge said.
Roberge said it’s hard to market an original one-woman show, but it won best original musical revue in the 2007 New Hampshire Music Awards, the same year she won best actress in a community musical for performing in Hot Mikado with New Thalian Players.
It’s been about two years since Musical Mom has been staged. Her children are seven years old and three and a half, and Roberge said the time has given her a little more insight for the show: “definitely the child-rearing part ... I have much more experience with that now,” Roberge said.
Kevin Roberge co-produces. Jed Holland helped develop the show as their original music director, and Joel Mercier is the current musical director; both are well-known in the area.
“Jed is fantastic — he really helped us link all the songs together... there’s really no dialogue,” Roberge said.
Songs that are used include pieces from contemporary shows as well as some obscure ones, like “Where is Me?” from New Faces of 1968. Bunnell has an antique sheet music business, Roberge explained.
“Some are very clearly related [to motherhood] ... some are totally not,” Roberge said.