“Tales from the Crib” – About the Play

A fun dramedy by Milo Shapiro, available in one-act or
two-act versions, featuring five to seven actors


What’s the play about?  Ask the main character:   Hi, I’m Lucy.  Okay, sure, things haven’t been all-that-great with my husband, Jack, lately. Happily, I have some good news to come home with.  Not so happily, when I blurt out I’m pregnant again, in the same breath Jack interjects, “I want a divorce.”  Ummm…now what?

Jack, very much wanting to be a fully-invested Dad, suggests we save money by living together and “co-parenting” as friendly roommates.  Is he nuts? 

I’m 39, still care for Jack, have the grandest, most self-absorbed mother in New York, my best-friend/cousin means well, but overshadows me with her successes, my attempts to write fall flat, I have a crush on someone I’ve never met, and suddenly my whole social life seems to be the other breast feeders from La Leche League!  

Can the two of us survive this co-parenting thing as we try to get on with our lives and even…dating?  Tune in for the hope, heartaches, and hilarity as yours truly, Jack, and my crazy family try to balance it all. 

The history:  In 2006, Jennifer Coburn released her third hit novel, Tales from the Crib.  In 2022, actor and theater-reviewer Milo Shapiro asked Jennifer if he could turn her first book, The Wife of Reilly, into a play.  She’d already sold the rights to that one, but suggested that she always thought that Tales from the Crib would make a good play.  Milo gave it a re-read, fully agreed, and dove right in.

So much of what Milo loved in the book was Lucy’s thoughts, which don’t make sense for her to say aloud in scenes.  Rather than lose that richness, Milo had an idea:  What if we see Lucy in the scenes at 39 and also see her outside the scene, in her 60s, reflecting on this time in her life and commenting on it, much like Ebenezer Scrooge visiting his past with the ghost.  This way, we know what younger “Lucy-in” is thinking and, in some cases, the older “Lucy-Out” advances the plot.

The staged reading:  In 2023, Milo shared the script with connections at Wildsong Productions in Ocean Beach. They surprised him with an offer to cast it for a five-hour blocking effort, followed by a one-time-only straight run-through.  Direction had to be minimal with so much blocking to do, but everyone involved seemed to really enjoy the script, encouraging Milo to take it further. 

One outcome of the reading was that Milo and his co-director Shaun Lim agreed that, if the play were staged again, they’d recommend that the actor who plays Jack not play other roles, too; instead, find a sixth actor to play all those other parts so one actor is dedicated to Jack.

It’s now in the SD Fringe Festival!:  In April of 2024, Wildsong contacted Milo to ask him if he might be able to create a one-act version of it for the San Diego Fringe Festival.  Milo originally said, “There’s just too much material there to shrink it further!”  But then, realizing that the two acts are quite distinct, he came back with an idea:  “What if we did the opening scenes and then the narrator version of Lucy caught the audience up on the main idea of Act I and we just move forward?  It turned out to be quite doable and the one-act version was written, approved, and accepted into the Fringe!   Rehearsals are going well and it will be staged at the following times in 2024 with the following cast:

Sat May 18: 7-8:30pm
Sun May 19: 5:30-7pm
Wed May 22: 7:30-8:30pm
Fri May 24: 9-10pm
Sun May 26: 4-5pm

Note:  Milo will be at the just first three shows, due to long-ago-planned Memorial Day weekend plans.

Who’s In the Fringe cast?

Dani Guinn Lucy (at age 39)
Linda Levine Lucy (at age 62)
Kara Tuckfield Anjoli
Paul Costen Jack
David Lanni Numerous roles, esp. Alfie
Kelly Pocian Natalie, Diane
Caroline Witherspoon Numerous roles, esp. Eddie & Zoe


How do I GET tickets to see it at the Fringe?: 



About each of the six roles:

♥  Lucy-Out:  60-65 (older version of Lucy-In; Lucy-Out acts as a narrator of sorts).  Ideally, cast believably looking like she could be Lucy-In later in life.  We get much of Lucy’s thoughts and dreams through her.  Hollywood dream casting:  Tina Fey, playing a little older.

♥  Lucy-In:  39, sharp-witted and likely to use humor as a defense against what she’s really feeling.  The steady, logical one in a family of wacky people. Aspiring writer. Hollywood: Emma Stone.

♥  Anjoli:  early to mid 60s, but takes her looks seriously to pass for younger.  A grandiose, new-agey Auntie Mame who hasn’t a clue that she’s self-centered.
In the closing scene, many years later, she’d briefly be in her mid 80s.  Hollywood: Kim Catrell

♥  Jack:  39, Lucy’s husband. Tender, but still a guy.  Both sensitive to and clueless to Lucy’s needs.  Hollywood:  John Krasinski

♥  Man:  Plays several parts, mostly men, though also Aunt Rita.  Biggest role is a soliloquy with the feeling of a gay preacher.   Note: Could be the same actor as Jack as originally written, but better if Jack is his own actor; each could understudy for the other if re-combined into one actor.  Hollywood:  Young Jim Carey.

♥  Woman:  Probably the most demanding role, playing many parts, especially Lucy’s cousin/best-friend, Zoe, and a 29 year old teacher named Natalie.
Needs to believably pass for late twenties, though also plays up to late 70s.  She will also play two male roles:
(1) Eddie is a sexy, early 20s, dumb stud, inspired by the 70’s TV character Vinny Barbarino (see him at https://tinyurl.com/vinniebarbarino ). 
(2) a middle-aged male doctor.  She sings briefly in a later scene; doesn’t have to be amazing, but able to carry a tune.
Note: This role could be broken up, esp. so that one could understudy for the other by re-combining Woman into one actress.

Hollywood:  Young Kate McKinnon.

Shown above:  Lucy in labor toward the end of Act I in our staged reading.


Copyright 2024, Milo Shapiro.  All rights reserved.