Marriage for all WordsAndPictures:"My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding"
Laura B. Adams, left, and Tinia Moulder. Photograph by Sarah Whiting.
"There's a great journey to love in all the best pieces of art, and this has it."-Tinia Moulder
by Shannon Drury
In 2012, marriage equality (and the lack thereof) is a hot discussion topic on cable news and ballot initiatives. But Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company's (MJTC) winter musical reminds theatergoers that what's at stake is far more than a political victory. The ability to be one's true self, including the ability to practice one's own faith and to love the person of her own choosing, is the most personal victory of all.
The musical comedy "My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding," making its area premiere at MJTC in February, tells the true story of how a divorced American woman's relocation with her teenage son to Canada sparks a series of personal transformations that culminate in the event of the show's title. That teen son, David Hein, grew up to be an accomplished Toronto-based singer-songwriter who co-wrote the musical with his own wife, Irene Carl Sankoff.
Twin Cities performer Tinia Moulder ("I'm the Wiccan," she joked) said she relished the opportunity to perform in "the story of an incredible journey to love," not simply because the show is a buzzy hit-premiering to accolades at the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2009 and winning four awards at the prestigious New York Musical Festival in 2010.
"Marriage for all is one of the great issues of today, and the biggest one looming for me personally," Moulder said, for she has witnessed the cavernous divide between rights and privileges awarded to her own two sisters, both married to public employees. One sister has benefits through her male husband, the other sister has no benefits as half of a lesbian couple.
"I believe that marriage should be equal for everyone," Moulder said. "Having rights and privileges that my own family members and dear friends don't have seems extremely wrong to me." Noting that the show is based on a real-life marriage, Moulder laughed, "Canada can do it! Why can't we?"
Barbara Brooks, MJTC's producing artistic director, said that "putting the show into this season made sense because of the intensifying social and political environment" around the issue of same-sex marriage in Minnesota. To that end, MJTC plans on a series of post-show discussions, featuring LGBT community members, legal scholars and others.
With songs like "Five Mothers," "Oh! My Mom's Lesbian," and "Feelings Are Important," it's obvious this show aims to entertain as well as educate. "It's very, very funny," Moulder said, "and there is so much love. There's the great love that these women find with each other, as well as the love that this young man has for his mom. There's a great journey to love in all the best pieces of art, and this has it."
Moulder is neither Jewish nor Wiccan, but as a Catholic she appreciated the play's reminder that "people of faith are not monolithic on this issue." She added, "I don't believe for a minute that there's a mistake in God's mission-He has created a wonderful and diverse population. We come together in amazing, incredible ways. My own daughter is adopted, and our family is not the same color. With this show I hope to tell the stories of other families that may look different, but are on the same journey to love as the rest of us."
IFYOUGO: What: My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding Where: Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company,
Hillcrest Center Theater, 1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul When: Feb. 18 - March 11, 2012
Saturdays 8 p.m.,
Sundays 1 p.m. & 7 p.m. Tickets: 651-647-4315 Cost: $18-$26 FFI: www.mnjewishtheatre.org