Staceyann Chin’s new off-Broadway play MotherStruck began as a 2011 blog post called “A Single Lesbian’s Quest for Motherhood,” the first of a series on Huffington Post. Now, Chin has re-imagined her heart-on-the page musings into a one-woman tour de force powered by her energy, charm and whip-smart observations about everything from growing up motherless in Jamaica to the hunt for a “baby daddy.”
In a recent review, the New York Times singled out this tongue-in-cheek bit about finding the right partner in Brooklyn’s “sea of lesbians:”
“We will spend 2.25 years reveling in the magic of our romance. Then, over careful, respectful, nonhostile negotiations and even more careful planning, we’d select the perfect sperm donor, who would have to, of course, be the exact combination of both our ethnicities, to assist in conceiving the radical feminist ninja messiah we intend to release upon the patriarchy.”
Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage
MotherStruck is a one-woman vehicle, showcasing the performance savvy Chin brought to Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam on Broadway and the depth of her searing 2010 memoir The Other Side of Paradise. But behind every great lesbian–at least in this case–there are two other great lesbians: Cynthia Nixon and Rosie O’Donnell.
photos by Amira Rosenbush
The two seasoned performers have wrapped their arms around Chin and ushered her into the spotlight. Post Sex and the City, Nixon has added director to her resume. She spent a year and a half working with Chin to shape and direct MotherStruck for the stage. O’Donnell, best known as a talk show host, comedian and philanthropist, signed on as producer.
These three power players sat down together recently in Manhattan to discuss their play. During a two-hour conversation–freewheeling, heartfelt and sometimes tearful–they talked about queer motherhood, their commitment to activist art and the importance of community.
AfterEllen: Staceyann, give us an idea how MotherStruck came about?
Staceyann Chin: I blogged about trying to have a baby for Huffington Post and the response was so live because nobody’s really talking about this stuff in detail. People were interested and asking questions, so while I was pregnant and even after, I kept writing. The blogs continued to be so popular that I started putting them together and reading them out loud when I would travel.
AE: And they became a full-fledged play.
Staceyann: I have always done one-person shows at the Culture Project and so when Allen Buchman [the artistic director] said, “What are you working on?” I said, “Oh, there’s this play”—and it wasn’t really a play yet; it was just a bunch of things that I had written and I was reading aloud. I started doing readings at the Culture Project, and people loved them so much that we started kind of trying to craft a narrative.