Tanna Frederick delighted audiences for more than a year in A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia comedy, playing the dog who has such a bond with her owner that it starts driving his wife crazy. Indeed, audiences came to see the show, at Santa Monica’s Edgemar Center for the Arts, because of Tanna’s bouncy, uninhibited antics as the title pooch. Now it appears the show is going to open on Broadway, with….someone else. “I’m like, oh God, who’s going to play the part? Miley Cyrus? I’ll just die,” admits Tanna with a groan and a laugh. “That role!”
The red-haired indie film fave, who’s also known as Henry Jaglom’s main muse (“Hollywood Dreams,” “Irene in Time,” etc.) certainly has found a silver lining in the fact that doing Sylvia led to her new role at the Edgemar – Lizzie in The Rainmaker. And yes, she’s aware that the repressed spinster, played memorably by Katharine Hepburn on film, is quite different for her. “I had to mix it up, you know, and I can’t say that it wasn’t a very intimidating decision to do this piece — no pressure or anything,” says Frederick, who has been drawing positive response from preview crowds. “People are shocked…My mother says this is her favorite of all my performances, and she’s been seeing me perform since I was eight, so that means a lot,” she dead pans.
Meanwhile, Tanna has two films expected to arrive in theaters sometime in Spring. One is the menopause comedy “The M Word,” in which “Frances Fisher is hilarious,” Frederick lets us know. Also, there is “The Farm,” a story partially inspired by the true-life saga of Tanna’s own grandparents’ struggle to stay on their family farm in Iowa. The film was made on the actual Frederick family farm, part of the actress’ Project Cornlight initiative to revitalize the film industry in her home state. She expects to begin production on her next Iowa-based movie production, “Just Beautiful,” in June.