tanna frederick today

November 22, 2011

Movies, Movies and Movies – Oh, My!

So our friend Tanna has a bunch of movies coming out – three that I know of. First, will be the soon to be released (I hope) Just 45 Minutes From Broadway which is in post-production according to IMDB. This was originally a Henry Jaglom play, which ran in Los Angeles at the Edgemar Center For the Arts for almost a year. Jaglom, decided to make it into a movie, with mostly the same cast – Tanna Frederick, David Proval (The Sopranos), Diane Louise Salinger, Harriet Schock, Jack Heller, Julie Davis and Judd Nelson (replacing David Garver). I’m really looking forward to this. Just 45 Minutes From Broadway has moved into the top five of my all-time favorite plays. That list includes (big productions and small) The Sound of Music and Karen Black’s play Missouri Waltz.

Movie number two is The ‘M’ Word, also written by Jaglom. This film is all about menopause. I don’t know that a film has been made about that topic, but you never know. Jaglom is very fascinated women’s issues and this film promises to be interesting, especially if it’s in the same vein as Eating and Going Shopping. Tanna Frederick and her co-stars – Corey Feldman (Stand By Me), Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Gregory Harrison (Trapper John, Md) and Francis Fisher (Titanic) – pretty much guarantee that this will be a fun romp.

Michael Imperioli? OHMYGAWD!!! How exciting. It’ll be good to see him and, hopefully, not think of his character Christopher Moltisanti from The Sopranos. I did see him in episodes of Law And Order and he reminded me a little of Christopher. Maybe they’ll have him grow a moustache or do something different with his hair or wardrobe so that he looks different. I think Gregory Harrison is drop dead gorgeous and he was fabulous in Randal Kleisr’s true story It’s My Party.

The third movie is called Just Beautiful and I’ve read that it’ll be the first production of Project Cornlight, which is Tanna Frederick’s new endeavor. Project Cornlight was created to revitalize the film industry in Iowa in the wake of the scandal that prompted the demise of the Iowa Film Commission due to misappropriation of funds. Many Iowa filmmakers left the state as a result of not being able to get funding and support. Frederick and Kimberly Busbee (Wild Rose Film Festival) decided that something should be done to bring filmmaking back to Iowa, home of Field of Dreams, Twister, and The Bridges of Madison County. Just Beautiful will have an all-Iowa cast and crew. What a beautiful thing to do! Once again, Tanna Frederick sees a need and does something to fulfill it.

Thanks, Tanna! (And Kimberly)


June 15, 2011

Have the Queen of the Lot Over for Dinner

Okay, I admit that that’s a tacky teaser to tell you that Queen of the Lot is now out on DVD! I can’t wait to get a copy. I heard Henry Jaglom and Tanna Frederick speak at Vidiot’s Video last year and they were articulate and engaging. Henry Jaglom could easily teach a course on film history and I’d be there hanging on every word. His anecdotes and stories were riveting. On the Queen of the Lot DVD, there’s commentary by Henry Jaglom, Tanna Frederick and Noah Wyle. Oh boy. That’s one of the coolest things about DVDs – the commentaries by directors and actors. I’m hooked on commentaries.

A few years ago, I watched It’s My Party which was written and directed by Randal Kleiser. It was his true-life story about his relationship with his lover who had AIDS. The story chronicles the time through the end of his lover’s life and the changes their relationship went through. Gregory Harrison played Randal and Eric Roberts played his lover. Both were brilliant. This was at the beginning of the AIDS crisis when nobody knew what was going on. What a courageous story. I watched the movie with a friend, then we watched it again, with Randal’s commentary turned on. Wow! To say that it was fascinating is an understatement. Then, having all the details from Kleiser, we watched the movie again! What a story. I’ve never watched the same movie three times in a row but after the commentary, the movie seemed new again and we understood it on a deeper level. That’s the beauty of commentary.

The Queen of the Lot DVD is on sale at these outlets:

Netflix.com (put it in your queue)
Barnes and Noble stores
Available in Canada in July
more to come…

If you can’t get it at one of those outlets, you need either a new car or a new computer.

May 24, 2011

Sylvia Sparkles at the Edgemar

Tanna Frederick - photo by John Heller

I knew Sylvia was going to be good because I’d seen it at the Sierra Madre Playhouse a few months ago. It was great back then. I loved it. What I didn’t know was that with a new director (Gary Imhoff), a beautiful new Joel Daavid set and the addition of Tom Ayers to the cast, that it would be ten times better than before.

Gary Imhoff is a master director. The characters are so much richer than before. And Tanna Frederick’s physical comedy gets a full workout.

As I’ve said in the past, Tanna Frederick has the doggy thing down. All the mannerisms and doggy behaviors (like enthusiastically greeting people as only a dog can) are there. And they’re extremely funny. In terms of over-the-top physical comedy, I’d like to see her in something with Jim Carrey and Steve Martin.

Cathy Arden and Stephen Howard reprise their roles as Greg and Kate. They too, have somehow more developed, richer characters this time. The addition of Tom Ayers to the cast is perfect. He plays two characters -Phyllis, Kate’s stuffy friend from Vassar, and the wacky, tough New Yorker in the dog park who gives sage advice to Greg in matters of love, dogs and books. Both characters are marvelous and extremely funny.

The Edgemar’s main stage is a wonderful place to see a play. Because the action is right there at front-row level, I got the experience of actually being IN the scenes. This is distinct from being in the front row and looking up at actors on a stage. It’s intimate. As we walked into the theatre, a woman in front of me looked at the set and said, “I could live here.” That seems to be a common experience when people see one of Daavid’s sets. It happened with the set Daavid designed for the Henry Jaglom play, Just 45 Minutes From Broadway. I wonder what Joel Daavid’s house looks like.

The first review of Sylvia is in, from Irene Rubaum-Keller at the Huffington Post. Read it here:

I just realized that I’ve used the words “extremely funny” more than once in this blog entry. Well. that’s what it is – extremely funny. So call the Edgemar, reserve your tickets and go see Sylvia. Here’s ticket info: http://www.edgemar.org/events/271″title=”EdgemarCenterfortheArts-Tickets

Thur. Fri. & Sat. at 7:30pm & Sun. at 5pm
Edgemar Center For The Arts
2437 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA

May 6, 2011

A Labradoodle and a Good Home

Yes, the play Sylvia is coming to the Edgemar Center for the Arts on May 20. I can’t wait to see it again.

There’s one change in the cast. Tom Ayers is playing three separate and distinct (and funny) characters. It’s interesting when one actor leaves a role and another step in. Two different people will play the same role very differently. Both can work. I saw it with the long running Henry Jaglom play, Just 45 Mnutes From Broadway. At one point David Proval was out of town for a couple of weeks and he was replaced by Greg (“Mary Jartman, Mary Hartman”) Mullavey. Very interesting how differently they played it.

Same thing with the role of Vivian in the same play. Diane Louise Salinger was replaced by Karen Black – two radically different acting approaches. It can work.

This reminds me of a situation I had once where the boss who had been on the job for years left and the employees hated the new guy until he proved himself. It was weird to see my co-workers take it out on the new guy as if the old guy’s leaving was his fault. But enough of that. I’m sure Tom Ayers will be great, especially being directed by Gary Imhoff. I read Tom’s bio and he’s done a lot of comedy. He’ll be  great. I’ve decided, in advance, that I’m going to like him.

The rest of the cast is the same, Stephen Howard as Greg, the midlifer with a crisis who brings home a Labradoodle instead of a Lamborghini, Cathy Arden as his very straight-laced wife, and of course, Tanna Frederick as the adorable stray, Sylvia the dog. I’m looking forward to a lot of laughs and  maybe a few surprises.

There’s a website for Sylviahttp://sylviatheplay.com. It has lots of info. I also just discovered a Facebook fan page for Sylvia. It’s called “Tanna Frederick’s New Play ‘Sylvia’ is Opening at Edgemar Center May 20.” Check ’em out. And go see Sylvia. I don’t know about you but I could use a few laughs. I could use a lot of laughs.  I’m gonna go get my laugh on. 🙂

April 24, 2011

Doing It Doggy Style

Cathy Arden, Tanna Frederick and Stephen Howard

I am a dog lover. I’ve had dogs since I was a little kid and I can’t imagine life without them. I think I might have been a dog in another life. I’ve been called a “dog whisperer” more than a few times. I’ve had the experience where I’ll be out walking somewhere and encounter a dog owner who says. “He won’t let you pet him” and a few seconds later the dog is lying on his back letting me scratch his tummy. The dog owner is always shocked and says, “He never lets anybody do that!” I love dogs and they know it.

My current best friend is a mutt named Moochie. He’s probably a cross between a German shepherd, a labrador retriever and a vacuum cleaner. I love him. He’s a hilarious, large animal who tries desperately to look thin when he’s begging for your food. Hence the name Moochie.

So what does all this have to do with Tanna Frederick? She will be starring in the A. R. Guerney play Sylvia. It opens at the Edgemar Center For The Arts on May 20, 2011. It’s a wonderful play and Tanna plays an energetic, loveable dog, a role that she is perfect for. I saw Sylvia at the Sierra Madre Playhouse and the audience loved it, too. Here’s the story:

Greg and his wife, Kate, have just moved to Manhattan after their last child has gone off to college. Greg’s in the middle of a midlife crisis and on a walk, is discovered by a stray dog, Sylvia, a peppy poodle/labrador mix. Greg, charmed by Sylvia, brings her home, much to Kate’s dismay. She agrees to let him keep Sylvia for a only few days and you know what happens – he gets attached to her. Unfortunately, Kate doesn’t, and the fur flies. Sylvia understands Greg and what he’s going through and Kate is worried that she’s losing him to this unruly mutt. And the story goes on with life’s lessons about middle age, marriage, dogs, jealousy and love.

A.R. Guerney is a genius. Sylvia is very well-written. If you’re a dog lover, you’ll love it. If you’re not a dog lover, your viewpoint is well-represented here and I think you’ll feel validated. Maybe you’ll even like dogs a little better.

Tanna Frederick does a fantastic job of playing a dog with all the doggy mannerisms. In an interview she said she studied for the role by hanging out with her dog, Garbo. I’d love to know what Garbo thinks of Sylvia.

I can’t wait to see the set by award-winning set designer Joel Daavid. If you saw the Henry Jaglom play Just 45 Minutes From Broadway you’ll remember the set. I saw the play 3 times, with different friends and every time people walked into the theatre and looked at the set someone said. “I could live here.” I counted 9 separate “rooms” or spaces in the wonderful old house. I can’t imagine what Daavid will come up with this time.

The opening night show will be a fundraiser for New Leash on Life, a Los Angeles and Chicago-based organization which rescues animals, spays and neuters, does obedience training, finds home for them and/or trains them to be assistance animals or therapy animals to people in need. They have numerous programs and are a very worthy cause. Check out their website at http://www.nlol.org/aboutnlol.asp.

In the play, there are a few scenes at the dog park. There are no actors portraying the dogs at the dog park. I wonder if they’d let me play one of the dogs. Maybe for one special night at the Edgemar they’ll let a few of us be dogs. A girl can dream…

Go to see Sylvia. It’s a tail-wagging good time.

April 9, 2011

Why am I writing about Tanna Frederick?

Tanna Frederick

I’m one of those people who likes to tell people about cool people and cool things. I have spent time and money campaigning for politicians I believed in. The first time was in high school when I campaigned for a teacher I really liked who ran for public office. He was a nice guy. He lost, I think because he was a nice guy.

I have sent email blasts to friends when someone I know is in a play or a movie or is having an art show opening. I have told people about books I love. I have, over the years, given away over 30 copies of Shel Silverstein’s book Where The Sidewalk Ends. It’s one of the most wonderful books I’ve ever read.

So I like to introduce people to things that I like, that maybe they’ll like, too. So why Tanna Frederick? Here’s why:

1. She’s incredibly talented – actress, writer, producer.
2. She gives a rat’s ass about the planet and wants to do things to make the world a better place. She founded Project Save Our surf.
3. She cares about other people and wants them to be successful. She established a scholarship in her name at her alma mater, the University of Iowa.
4. The whole freaking world should know who she is. Her name should be a household word. Like Cher and Denzel (no last name needed) people should know Tanna.
5. I’m a fan. I’ve seen her films and plays. Wow! She’s fun to watch because she goes places where some actors would not. She’s fearless, sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking but always convincing on stage.
6. I heard Tanna speak at Vidiot’s Video once and both she and Henry Jaglom are fascinating people. Maybe I should blog about him, too, but he’s already an icon and I want as many people to know about her.
7. I met her once, after the play Just 45 Minutes From Broadway and I wanted to tell her how much I enjoyed her performance. She was very nice and we actually chatted for a few minutes. She was gracious and friendly and seemed genuinely grateful for my comments.
8. Here’s somebody who’s has talent, is doing good in the world and seems like a real person, a fun person, a cool person. She has that Sandra Bullock girl-next-door way of being.

So that’s why.

If anyone reading this blog knows her or knows about other cool things she’s doing, please let me know.

March 23, 2011

Queen of the Lot? – Yes She Is!

Noah Wyle and Tanna Frederick - photo courtesy of The Rainbow Film Co.

Henry Jaglom’s latest movie, Queen of the Lot is set in modern-day Hollywood and stars Tanna Frederick, Noah Wyle and Christopher Rydell. In this sequel to Hollywood Dreams, Margie Chizek has achieved B movie success with her action hero films under her new name, Maggie Chase. But she’s also gotten into trouble having had a few DUIs and now she’s under house arrest – ankle bracelet and all. She’s driven in her quest for A-list fame as evidenced by her obsession with her Google points. She’s got more points than her home state of Iowa but far less than Angelina Jolie and that’s got to change. She has to be Queen of the Lot – just like Norma Shearer.

Zack Norman and David Proval reprise their Hollywood Dreams roles as Kaz and Caesar, the hotshot gay Hollywood producers who discovered Maggie. They are still “married” (to each other) and funnier than ever. Maggie asks them if she can stay at their mansion for a while because she can’t stand being stuck in her apartment on house arrest with the press dogging her. They agree and she gets police permission to stay with them.

Maggie asks Kaz and Caesar if her boyfriend (an already established star) Dov Lambert (Christopher Rydell), can stay, too. Dov is a half-wit who hails from Hollywood royalty. Enter Aaron Lambert (Noah Wyle), Dov’s brother, a failed writer and black sheep of the family, who is sent to fetch Dov to help with a family crisis.

Is there really such a thing as a functional family? I don’t think I’ve ever met one. Dov takes Maggie home to meet the family, headed by charismatic patriarch Louis Lambert (played with great depth by Jack Heller). At dinner, Dov introduces Maggie to everyone, including his sort-of estranged wife (Daisy White). What happens at large dysfunctional family dinners (as in Jaglom’s Last Summer in the Hamptons)? Fur flies between various factions and, of course, Margie is right in there trying to fit in and help out and maybe make a connection that will propel her to megastardom. Aaron is in the fray maintaining his role as the family scapegoat and helping Maggie feel comfortable amidst the family bickering while Dov plays with his wife and other more important things – like his poker buddies. Maggie and Aaron reluctantly fall for each other and the way their relationship develops is one of the most irresistible aspects of the film.

Frederick and Wyle together make the silver screen simmer with vintage Tinseltown charm reminiscent of Tracy and Hepburn. Frederick plays Maggie Chase as down-to-earth, believable and loveable. Maggie is driven, insecure, and slightly conniving but she’s also smart, forceful and can take care of business. This is Frederick’s best performance as she infuses Maggie with her uncanny combination of star and girl-next-door. Wyle is at the top of his game as Aaron, an insecure good guy whose wife has just left him. He’s a wreck but his inner strength comes through in emergencies.

As often occurs in Jaglom films, his brother Michael Emil appears, this time as a curmudgeonly interloper in a therapy group. Jaglom’s daughter Sabrina is absolutely stunning. Remember her as Zoe Lambert, the young filmmaker in Hollywood Dreams who rejects Margie Chizek? Well, Zoe’s turned into quite a formidable, sometimes calculating young woman. Simon Orson Jaglom, is just adorable as Michael Lambert. Love him!

There is an outstanding supporting cast including great performances by Kelly DeSarla, Ron Vignone and Diane Salinger as Maggie’s “handlers.” Salinger is frighteningly believable as Maggie’s “life coach.” Mary Crosby, Peter Bogdanovich, Dennis Christopher, Paul Sand and Beege Barkette shine as various family members and associates. Tommy Garrett is delightful as a reporter who empathizes with Maggie’s quest for fame and the fact that she only gets attention from the press when she’s been bad.

You’ve got to see this movie. There are some very funny lines and Queen of the Lot has heart and soul. When I saw Jaglom’s Hollywood Dreams I thought, “This is the REAL Hollywood.” Queen of the Lot has reinforced that. I’d like to poll some Hollywood types to see if they agree. In any event, I am confident that Tanna Frederick is going to achieve her dreams in Hollywood and if there were still a lot, she would be queen of it!

March 8, 2011

“I’d Like To Thank The Academy…”

My name is Sally Brooks. The purpose of this blog is to introduce everyone to a wonderful actress named Tanna Frederick. I find Hollywood to be a fascinating place and I’ve met a bunch of actors – some well-known and some not. I’m fascinated by the process of growing a career as an actor.

So on to Tanna Frederick. I think she’s a great actor. I’ve seen her movies and plays and she works well in both arenas. She’s an up-and-comer and Hollywood should pay attention.

Not only is she a good actor, she’s involved in various charities including one she founded – Project Save Our Surf. They are “dedicated to the conservation of our oceans and the delicate marine ecosystems that reside therein.” She also recently established a scholarship in her name to an incoming student at her alma mater, the University of Iowa. How cool is that?

She’s won numerous awards for her acting, including Best Actor awards at the Fargo Film Festival, the Houston International Film Festival, the Wild Rose Film Festival and she received a Maverick Award from the Women’s Theatre Festival. This is the short list of awards this talented woman has garnered.

So she’s got the whole package. She’s beautiful – but not in a boob-job, nose job, butt-lift Hollywood way – she’s natural and real. She’s a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, an avid surfer and she runs marathons so she’s in fabulous shape. She’s got talent galore and she’s a humanitarian. I’ve met her a couple of times, once after the incredible Henry Jaglom play, “Just 45 Minutes From Broadway” that she starred in. and once when she and Jaglom did a talk at Vidiot’s Video. They’re both very nice, gracious and funny people.

I titled this blog entry, “I’d Like To Thank The Academy…” because those are words that I’m sure we’re going to hear from Tanna Frederick in the future.

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