tanna frederick today

January 24, 2012

She’s doing WHAT?!

Tanna Frederick – photo courtesy of Irene Rubaum-Keller

Okay.  So our friend Tanna has done the following things:

– Acted in movies:

Hollywood Dreams, Irene In Time, Queen of the Lot, Just 45 Minutes From Broadway (to be released this summer) and The “M” Word (in post-production)

– Acted in plays:

A Safe Place, Always…But Not Forever, Just 45 Minutes From Broadway, Sylvia (this doesn’t include the long list of plays she did before moving to LA.

– She’s won a bunch of awards for her acting.

– She started Project Save Our Surf to help save the oceans and marine life, mobilized tons of celebs and regular folks to help out – and they’ve raised tons of money to support various worthy conservation and educational charities like Inside the Outdoors, Waves for Water, Santa Monica Baykeeper and Tumelo Homes.

– She runs marathons to raise funds for charity.

– She does Tae Kwon Do and surfs and runs. She’s in incredible shape.

I’m sure there are other things I don’t know about, but this is the short list to which she’s now adding… drumroll please…


Yep, Tanna Frederick can add directing to her credits. She’s taken on a play called Why We Have A Body, which was written by Claire Chaffee. The play is about a lesbian private investigator named Lili who specializes in men  who cheat on their wives, Lili’s sister Mary who holds up 7-Elevens (played by Tanna Frederick – yes, she’s acting AND directing!), and their mother, an archaeologist – a specialist in the female brain.

This is gonna be VERY funny. It opens on Feb 17 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica.   I’ve got it on very good authority that Tanna is a great director.

More details here:



June 1, 2011

Sylvia is a Hit!!!

Stephen Howard, Tanna Frederick and Cathy Arden - photo by John Heller

I’ve been checking the Sylvia website (www.sylviatheplay.com) and you should see the reviews! They’re incredible. My friend Edward took his whole family (his father, his wife, their two kids and two other friends) to see Sylvia this past weekend and they all loved it. He saw it at the Sierra Madre Playhouse and liked it even better this time, at the Edgemar. He, like everyone else I know who saw both productions (and loved both) say this one is much funnier. I guess a different director (in this case, Gary Imhoff) can really make a difference.

Tanna Frederick gets to go all out in her doggyness – and she does. I’d be exhausted after the first act if I ran around and did all the stuff she does. I know she’s in incredible physical condition. She runs marathons, surfs and does Tae Kwon Do, so all that physical activity probably doesn’t phase her.

There’s also the emotional range of her character. Sylvia is, like any dog, totally excited to see and greet enthusiastically. She goes into a rage when she sees a cat (one of the funniest scenes in the play). She’s in awe of Greg (played wonderfully by Stephen Howard) and at one point gushes, “I think you’re God.” When she sees that Bowser (the hot male dog in the dog park) is there, she gets all cute. When Greg gets her fixed, she’s really moody. She goes through all sorts of changes with Kate (Cathy Arden), running the gamut from trying to get Kate to like her to one-upping her, showing Kate that she’s the new Number One in Greg’s life. It’s amazing to watch.

Cathy Arden actually manages to get you to like and even admire Kate. She’s got a tough role to play and she really pulls it off. Under Gary Imhoff’s direction, her character is fuller, more real.

Tom Ayers is spectacular as two characters – the tough guy in the dog park (Bowser’s owner) and as Kate’s girlfriend from Vassar. He elicits some side-splitting laughter from the audience in both cases.

I’m not an actor or a director, and I don’t know how directors do what they do, but I think Gary Imhoff is a genius. He’s taken A. R. Guerney’s marvelous play, a frighteningly talented cast, a beautiful Joel Daavid set and created a masterpiece.

Check out the reviews – I haven’t seen a bad one yet!

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 16, 2011

“Sylvia” is opening this weekend – May 20!

It’s been a long wait since Sylvia closed at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, and it’s finally opening this weekend at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica – MUCH closer to home. Yeah! I can’t wait. I’m ready to laugh.

I briefly met Cathy Arden, who plays the character, Kate, and Stephen Howard, who plays Greg, at the Sierra Madre Playhouse. I can’t wait to see Tom Ayers, who plays three very distinct characters. I can’t imagine anyone playing a dog better than Tanna Frederick. She’s got it down.

I’m going this weekend. Who else is coming? The last time I saw Sylvia, I felt like my inner dog was really acknowledged – no, it’s not my inner child, it’s my inner dog. I’ve said it before, I know I was a dog in a past life.

When I saw Sylvia the first time, I felt like I was playing with a puppy – that’s how I experienced the play. The only thing that was missing was that new puppy smell (kind of like a new car smell, only better). All the other doggie-like warm fuzzies were there.

So, here we go. Make your reservations for this weekend. Don’t wait. It’ll be fun.

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.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: