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  • Writer's pictureBroadway Beat

Wait... Mama Will Provide? Mama Who Bore Me? When You're Good to Mama? How Do All These Broadway Composers Know My Mom?!?

Updated: 3 days ago

by Keeley Bell. @omgitskeeley.

LOS ANGELES – As I was listening to Broadway Radio on my morning commute, I noticed a disturbing trend in the showtunes: Many of them had ‘Mama’ in the title. That’s my mom! 

It can’t be a coincidence that my mother is the subject of so many showtunes. Take “Mama Will Provide," for example. Why yes, my mother has worked for thirty-plus years to care for her family. Mama does provide. But how could Ahrens and Flaherty possibly know that? And why has my family not been compensated for every last community production of Once On This Island, even the all-white ones? 

“Mama I’m a Big Girl Now” from Hairspray, too. Imagine my shock when one of the songs was titled the exact sentence that I said to my mother when I learned how to go potty at age three-and-a-half. I didn’t know I had to trademark my precious childhood memories, but it looks like some people just can’t come up with original ideas. 

And don’t even get me started on “Mama Who Bore Me” from Spring Awakening. Because this time, not only has Steven Sater capitalized off of my mother’s likeness, but mine as well. I’m obviously the “Me” in question. And I don’t think I was a sexually repressed German teenager who died at age fourteen, but I suppose every biographical musical takes some artistic liberties. Bottom line, if you’re going to use “Me”, you should have cast “Me” instead of Lea Michele. 

What do all of these musicals that feature “Mama” in their song titles have in common? That’s right, they've all won Tony Awards. 

By my calculations, factoring in Chicago, Hairspray, Spring Awakening, and more (Not Mamma Mia!  There is an extra M there. Not my mom), my mother is owed 23 Tony Awards, surpassing Hal Prince as winning the most individual Tonys. And I don’t want to hear from you readers the same thing I heard from The American Theatre Wing: To "stop calling" and that my mom’s name is "actually Lesley." These conspiracies get more corrupt every day.


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