There are few things juicier than an old childhood secret. And as lesbian Fox film producer Nikki Levy (pictured) has learned, everyone has something buried deep somewhere.
"I grew up telling my mother everything," she says. "She was a typical Jewish mother, and if I didn't tell her everything, I was wracked with guilt. It was only through a lot of therapy that I realized that there are things that I don't have to tell her. I think people have amazingly complicated relationships with their moms."
Levy and coproducer Lizzie Czerner are the ringmasters of the monthly Los Angeles stage show Don't Tell My Mother! which features Levy and five or six other writer-performers telling stories they would never want their mothers to know. The tales, which come from people like Girlfriends' Tracee Ellis Ross, out comics Jen Kober and Jason Stuart, and Justin Halpern, creator of the hit Twitter feed and book Shit My Dad Says, range from hilarious to touching.
"We're supposed to be good all the time, but there's so many things we do we wouldn't want our moms to know. But we all do them," she says.
Levy and her band of friends have been selling out shows across Los Angeles, in addition to a New York show November 29 featuring Saturday Night Live's first out lesbian cast member, Kate McKinnon. Levy says she wants people to tell the stories that they don't drag out at a cocktail party. The cast offers tales of dangerous hookups, stalking, poop-inducing skydiving, finding a secret porn stash, and downing 72 slices of processed cheese. Through the laughs and tears, the show is a hat tip to the complicated relationships we have with the women who raised (or didn't raise) us and the complicated results of those relationships. As the cast says closing the show out each month, if it's not one thing, it's your mother.
For more information, visit DontTellMyMother.com.