Pages to stages: 'Infamous Mothers' sells out Bartell Theater

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The story of non-stereotypical mothers has jumped off the pages of the book, Infamous Mothers, and has become a play.

"Sagashus has a huge fan base, rightfully-so. And people that are hungry for this, " Director of the play, Marie Justice said.

Sagashus Levingston wrote Infamous Mothers two years ago as part of her PhD thesis. She defines Infamous Mothers as single moms who have experienced some form of trauma in their lives, such as, homelessness, sexual assault, and drug abuse. Levingston says these moms use their traumas and turn it into motivation to power through life obstacles and achieve their dreams.

With help from her editor, Coleman, her thesis became a book.

NBC15 first met Levingston when the book launched, and has followed her success. After her book tour ended, Levingston was encouraged to move onto the new stage of her career. Coleman turned the book into a play, then Justice got on board as director.

"I wasn't expecting it to sell out as fast as it did," Levingston said.

As soon as tickets were available, the shows starting selling out one-by-one. They ran mid November at the Bartell Theater.

"One character doesn't represent one theme.There are several themes that are interwoven. Those themes include: sexual assault, domestic violence, the idea of who can be a change agent in society," Levingston said.

The play features four fictional characters based off of true stories. Actress, Tanisha Lynn Tyron plays a mother from the inner city with a drug problem. Her real story is much different.

"I am going to be honest with you -- in my grad class, it was mostly white males, the cute blonde, red head and then me," Tyron said.

The single mom worked and went to grad school for art. She says her experiences with lack of diversity in higher education are not an anomaly. Tyron says the Infamous Mothers movement helps other marginalized mothers feel apart of something.

Bringing together strong, mothers is something Sagashus prides herself on. She hopes to keep inspiring them to live their truths and push for what they want in life.

"I think the message is to always have a vision and be hopeful, " Levingston said.

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