This vaccinated summer, I’ve been recording the audio version of my 1996 mid-life memoir,  “Taken to the Stage: The Education of an Actress.” 

Voicing what I wrote 25 years ago, about my childhood formation and my dedication to becoming an actress no matter what, has been transformational. It’s been especially thrilling to do much of it in a studio used by The Eagles. 

The producer at the helm is the brilliant John Boylan, a friend from childhood. I remember him playing his guitar for my sophisticated older sister, introducing us to “Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right” and San Francisco Bay Blues.  Our families shared nearby summer cottages on Canandaigua Lake. We were all Catholic, meaning we were raised with high aspiration for this life and the next. The humor required to leaven our guilt when we inevitably missed the mark was much in evidence as we worked. I’m writing a new Foreword and Afterword for the project, so it will bring listeners up to date to “Dharma & Greg,” “In The Loop”, “Midnight In Paris” and “MOM” – and how I navigated the years between.

You may not know John Boylan but you definitely have heard his work. 

((Ahem))

Get to know GRAMMY award winning Producer John Boylan:

John Boylan is one of the most successful record producers in contemporary music. He has produced over fifty albums which have sold more than forty million records. His work crosses all boundaries of music, from rock to country, and from children’s music to film soundtracks.

A chance meeting with Linda Ronstadt at West Hollywood’s famous Troubadour club gave John a chance to explore some of his musical fusion ideas. Linda asked John to help her form a new backup group for her next solo tour and he quickly turned to the extended family of struggling musicians playing in various bands at the Troubadour’s Monday night “open mike” concerts. First to be hired was Detroit transplant Glenn Frey, followed quickly by Texan Don Henley, who had been pitching his songs to John, hoping to get Linda to record them. Rounding out the band were ex-Stone Canyon Band member Randy Meisner and ex-Flying Burrito Brother Bernie Leadon. With this solid line-up behind her, Linda’s career took off. Her next album, produced by John, became her first gold record, containing the hit singles, “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” and “Love Has No Pride.” In addition, John signed a two-year contract to manage her career, during which he negotiated her release from Capitol Records and landed her a long-term contract with Elektra/Asylum. After several successful tours during 1971, John helped Linda Ronstadt refine her sound into what would be one of the cornerstones of the California country-rock movement. However, everyone involved began to realize that her backup group had a special chemistry all their own. John recalls: “They were four great singers and they were writing some incredible songs. It seemed natural for them to try for a record deal.” Signed to Asylum Records by founder David Geffen, the group became the Eagles, one of the most successful rock bands in American history.

Read John Boylan’s Full Biography

Watch Linda Ronstadt on CBS Sunday Morning:

Every year for decades my family and friends have gathered at my home for one of my favorite Christmas traditions, a reading of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.

This year our Dickensian evening was a bit different, we brought the victorian classic to the internet age. We gathered across time zones and miles via zoom. 

Here are tips on how to have your very own Zoom “A Christmas Carol” party.

STAYING ON THE SAME PAGE!

Download the PDF of “A Christmas Carol” above.  This is Dickens’ full story not the script of the play. It takes place in five chapters called “Staves”. It helps if everyone is using the same text because it is easier to follow along. Our party had some attendees using their own copies and they do fine. But they had to pay attention to where we were in the story if they had glanced away to fill their glass or let the dog out.

HAVE A MODERATOR OR DIRECTOR IN PLACE.

Have a host in charge that can keep the event moving.

They need to be able to:

  • Stay for the entire story.
  • Be familiar with zoom so that they can mute and unmute as needed.
  • Keep an eye open for Admitting late comers into the meeting.
  • Reassign parts on the fly at the start of each Stave.

TAKE BREAKS.

Break between staves if needed. This will also give you a moment to chat about something or grab a snack. Let participants know that they can take breaks as needed to tend to things that come up and to turn off their video so it doesn’t distract from the reading.

CASTING!

Cast list download above. Here is the list of speaking parts in each stave. Assign the parts to participants before hand and you’ll have the most fun. People will stay on because they know they are needed for the “performance.” On the PDF above next to each character in parentheses is the page number cue. Again, this is helpful if everyone is using the same text of the story.

Things to keep in mind when casting:

  • Narrators should love to read out loud. Try to cast strong readers for the narrator and Scrooge. Strong readers will relax everyone else.
  • Share the Scrooge and Narrator parts. Assign someone new for each stave or alternate.
  • The 4th Stave features cockney accents. These can be fun but long and tedious unless the readers are nimble.
  • The Spirit of Christmas Future has no lines. Don’t assign to someone who likes to speak.
  • I reserve the part of Jacob Marley every year. Assign to an enthusiastic over actor!

If you want to see these characters performed beautifully watch the 1951 film version starring Alastair Sim. Watch the trailer and find out where you can watch here.

Merry Christmas,

Mimi

Mimi’s 2018 Christmas Blog Post of Clips from “A Christmas Carol” 

Host a Zoom Reading of “A Christmas Carol”

The Theatre Association of New York State (TANYS) festival is going virtual this year. As Shakespeare wrote in As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage..”

The festival is two days of workshops and features a keynote speaker each day. Mimi will be the keynote speaker on the second day of the event, Saturday 11/21/20. 

The deadline to register is Saturday, November 14th.

TANYS serves nonprofessional theatre in New York State. Specifically community, university and college, secondary school drama departments, and Children Theatres across the state. 

The organization strives to foster the contribution of theater to the lives of NYS citizens. TANYS promotes the high standards of theatre practice through education and example. This encouragement allows for the exchange of ideas through creative expression and gives individuals an outlet to receive and transmit these interactions. 

“I’m thrilled to participate in a festival that celebrates community theatre and the community that theatre brings to our lives. To be asked by my hometown theatre, The Rochester Community Players is a true full circle moment.” – Mimi Kennedy.

Mimi’s mother, Nancy was actively involved in the Rochester Community Players and served many roles including as board president. 

The festival is a great resource for anyone interested in theatre. Whether you are already a member of a community theatre organization, an educator or an aspiring actor-there is a workshop for you! 

Learn More About TANYS: http://www.tanys.org/AboutUs.html 

Register for the Event: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tanys-tough-the-power-of-theatre-registration-117796433303 

Mimi and her mother Nancy Kennedy perform on the Rochester PBS affiliate WXXI.

Mimi with her mother Nancy. Courtesy the Rochester Community Players.

Mom Season 8 sees Christy (played by Anna Faris) leaving to go to law school after the actor who plays her suddenly announced her departure earlier this year. Anna Faris may be out of the show, but Mom continues with its remaining cast members, which include Oscar-winning actor Allison Janney.

Janney, as well as other Mom co-stars like Mimi Kennedy and Jamie Pressly, have spoken about Farris’ departure from the CBS comedy.

Most of these comments come courtesy of an interview with Entertainment Tonight. In this, Janney led the tributes to Farris, saying: “It’s a huge loss for the show to not have Anna…we will miss her so much.

Kennedy’s take on Farris leaving was as follows: “I had the dressing room next to her and I played her sponsor. And I got to know how smart she is… and I really, really enjoyed talking to her. She was also very funny and very witty and I’m going to miss that.”

Wendy actor Beth Hall added: “The thing about Anna was she was always so encouraging. If you were funny, if you did a great scene, she was always the first one to compliment you and tell you how well it went.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

MOM airs Thursday nights at 9/8c on CBS.

How is the cast reacting to Anna leaving the show?

Mom Cast interview with EXTRA

Allison Janney and ‘Mom’ Co-Stars Address Anna Faris’ Exit: ‘It’s a Huge Loss’ (Exclusive)

How will the show dynamic change without Christy Plunkett?

“It’s an enormous loss. The show was very much built around her and Allison. For her to step out was a big move to cope with. But we have an extraordinary ensemble led by Allison in a show about women in recovery. Let’s continue to tell the stories of a wonderful group of people we’d come to know and care about. When the (season) debuts, Christy  has gone on to greater things. Her career and path through life is going great. Recovery from addiction – not always but very often – brings with it an extraordinary life. And that’s the story we’re telling with Anna’s character, that her life has leapt up to another level, which has her leaving Napa Valley to go to Washington and finish her education.” – Chuck Lorre.

Will MOM address the Covid-19 Pandemic?

The short answer? No. 

“The question of whether or not to deal with COVID is something that we grappled with quite a bit. However, because our show has never before reflected current events in our storytelling, we ultimately decided not to address it. For us, it feels like we made the right decision and hopefully our audience will enjoy a little escape when they watch our show.” -Gemma Baker

“Going into this season, we thought for sure that all of the COVID restrictions would change the type of episodes we could produce. But now that we have five shows under our belt, we’re pretty confident that the viewers at home will not feel the restrictions one bit. That’s because our stories have always been small and intimate. So while how we shoot the show has completely changed, what we’re shooting has not.” – Gemma Baker.

“That was a choice that we made early on, that the shows will reflect life as we knew it, as we’ve known it, and hopefully as we’ll know it again. If we do shows that are reflective of what’s happening right now, it’s unlikely that they’ll have any value down the road. I’ve always been a big fan of shows that have shelf life, that have the ability to entertain the audience now, next year, or, God willing, years from now. I don’t know if it’s the right call, but it’s the call we made because I didn’t want to do episodes that a year from now no one wants to watch and may not want to watch now. Maybe you want to go home and watch a television show and have a little relief from social distancing and masks and the inability to hug your friends and loved ones. Maybe we can offer a respite from that.” – Chuck Lorre

Why do we need comedies like MOM more than ever right now?

“Laughter is a shared human experience. Laughter is a genuinely wonderful thing to have as part of our lives, especially when the world is upside down. It’s a gift.” – Chuck Lorre.

Season 8 of Mom Premieres Tonight at 9/8c on CBS.