“It’s every actress’ dream to start playing moms!” she said sarcastically, thus revealing the actual conceit behind her new show at UCB Chelsea (and its tongue-in-cheek title, “M.I.L.P. – Moms I’d Like to Play”). “It’s a commentary on what it’s like to be a female actor in the entertainment industry, and how common it is to try to put people in these types.”
For McCrossen, that typecasting happened quite early. “I’ve auditioned for a lot of moms,” she said with a laugh, recalling that she once played the mother of a 15-year-old when she was in her twenties. “I remember, in college, being told ‘You’re a young mom type.’ What does that mean?” she asked. “I think it’s just because I’m not cool.”
“When you audition to play a bunch of moms, you start to realize how similar many of them are,” she said of the roles she was being offered. “The director would tell me, ‘You don’t do anything, just react to what your husband does,’ so I’d be like, ‘Oh, I just need to roll my eyes– okay, I can do that…'”
But behind the various mom-jokes of all kinds, the skits were also a way for McCrossen to work through some of the anxieties she herself had about the IRL role of motherhood.
There’s the mom who’s so anxiety-ridden about nagging her children that she starts a cooking show to reveal “how to sneak spinach into brownies” and other methods of smuggling in veggies like they’re South American contraband. Another one of McCrossen’s favorite moms is “the mom who’s really afraid of giving her 13-year-old son’s friends boners,” she said with a laugh.
McCrossen said she came up with that character after finding herself sitting across from a couple of boys on the train. “I had on a sundress, and I began to wonder if this was making them uncomfortable! It was so comical to me to have that thought.”
Despite her frustration at always being relegated to mom roles, McCrossen emphasized that she has enormous respect for the work mothers go through, and singles out her own mother in particular. “My mom is a wonderful friend, she’s actually featured in the show,” she said, explaining that the acts will be intercut with actual voicemail messages her mother has left her. “I have to be humble to the fact that my mum is funnier than anything I’ve ever written.”
However, McCrossen’s favorite kind of mom (apart from her own, obviously) happens to be someone who wasn’t known for her mother role at all: Eleanor Roosevelt. “There’s an Eleanor Roosevelt quote at one point in the show. Kids were really not her strong suit!” But it’s precisely this attempt to raise her children nonetheless that made Roosevelt such an interesting mom figure, McCrossen said. “She would be the person who I’d want to be friends with.”
“M.I.L.P. – Moms I’d Like to Play” at UCB Theater Chelsea, 307 west 26th Street at 8th Avenue; first show Wednesday, July 20 at 8pm, second on Wednesday July 27 at 9:30pm; $5 entry.