Tag Archives: The M Word

Tanna Frederick Takes a Swing at a Hepburn Classic

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.

Tanna Frederick: ‘M Word’ Feature Dramedy Hits New Menopause Territory


Times have SO changed from that “very special episode” of “The Waltons,” when Mama was acting a mite peculiar on account of the change of life.  Production has just wrapped on Henry Jaglom’s feature dramedy “The M Word” — and star Tanna Frederick says, “It will be like our first step on the moon of menopause stories.  It deals with everything having to do with our ovaries and then some.  M is for menopause, menses and men.”

Frances Fisher plays her mother who moves in with her after her mate (Gregory Harrison) is caught cheating.  Two aunts (Mary Crosby, Eliza Fisher) move into Tanna’s character’s two-bedroom apartment as well 

“Henry is not commenting on menopause, he’s taking you along for a ride,” she says of the director with whom she made “Hollywood Dreams” and other films, who is known for his improvisational work with actors.  “He really let the three women playing my aunts fly, and let them go into their own experiences with menopause.  They took it to a fever pitch that’s really funny.  We got some powerful stuff that I think will spark some groundbreaking talks between women and men.”

Well, at least it sounds as if Fisher’s performance will spark talk.   “She is hilarious.  At one point in a scene, she took the frozen turkey that she had for the family Thanksgiving and put it between her legs because she was having a hot flash,” Tanna says.  “I stepped back and said, ‘I don’t even know what to do with this.'”

 Tanna’s TV reporter character is fighting the closure of her station.  Her smarmy Sammy Glick-type boyfriend is played by Corey Feldman, and the corporate hatchet man who comes out to cut station staff is Michael Imperioli — who, of course, her character falls for. 

“Always in the past, Henry has sort of tiptoed around around the socioeconomic status of his characters.  In this, he dove right in.  It’s scary and sad what’s going on out there with all the cutbacks in jobs,” comments the actress.  “My character is faced with this question: Do I fall in love, or do I fight for what’s right?”  She reports that at one point she has a scene “that’s probably as close to a ‘Norma Rae’ moment as I’ll ever have,” leading a group of some 30 women in an office.  Women who are all, you guessed it, menopausal.