Category Archives: Actor

Meet Upcoming Chicago Performer Colleen O’Neill

Colleen O’Neill is an Illinois mom who has plenty of experience on stage. She’s dynamic producer/writer/actor and we are happy to have her as part of our upcoming cast.
Where do you live, how many kids do you have, ages?
I live just outside the city limits, so I can have access to all the City of Chicago has to offer for less that half the property tax. 🙂  I have one little girl named Lola who just turned 9.
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 How are you creative post children? How has it changed since pre-baby?
I am a working actress, writer and producer, so I spend the better part of the day trying to focus on being creative.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  I think that I have become more creative since having Lola.  When she was a newborn, I had to find a way to be creatively efficiently, since I was writing and performing at Second City, auditioning and working full-time.  My first day back from maternity leave was the first day of the Los Angeles Film Festival where I worked 12-16 hour days for 10 days straight.  I was fortunate to be working for an organization that was supportive of both parents and the work we did outside of our time there.  I had Lola strapped to my body, wearing a custom LA Film Fest onesie that my husband made for her and life was good.  She is a very creative kid with an awesome sense of humor, so she challenges me to stay on my toes.  We spend a lot of time, as a family, creating stories, characters and laughing – a lot of laughing.  I guess you could say that we challenge each other to always be creative in all that we do.
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When do you find time to create?
It’s a full-time job. I try to set aside school hours to be my most focused hours, but sometimes it doesn’t always work that way.  I learned a long time ago that flexibility is key.  That is hard for someone with a tendency to lean Type A.  I do my best work in the car, at the gym or when I first wake up and am trying to peel myself out of the sheets.  The busier I am the more I struggle with the ability to just sit and write for fun and a chance to explore, creatively.  It seems the more time I have the harder it is for me to produce.  I’ve gotten good at working under pressure and not having the luxury of a lot of time – the definition of motherhood?
How did you hear about ExMo?
My friend Inana, who I met when we were doing a play together in LA where we had to learn the famous Thriller dance and play dead models, sent me an email telling me all about the show, Lindsay and that I should absolutely do it.  It sounded like a fun show and something I would love to be a part of… and here I am.
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What creative projects are you up to?
I am currently producing a fully-improvised web series with the first two episodes completed.  It is an exciting project where I try to pull together new cast and crew for each episode.  We start with a simple location and a very loose premise.  We don’t sit down beforehand.  The day of the shoot, we just go and see what comes.  That is what I love about improv – if you go in with an open mind, ready to listen and play, the outcome will never be what you expect.  Quite often, it will be better.  It is difficult to do a fully-improvised, on-camera project, because you need to deal with different shots and continuity and remembering the beats that worked and those that didn’t to recreate them without a script to guide you.  I like that challenge.  I am hoping to take the best of what comes from this series and put it in to a larger production.
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I am also continuing to work on producing my first feature with my husband – he’s a screenwriter… super talented and adorable screenwriter. 🙂  This film is a labor of love.  It was a story we worked on together many years ago and have adjusted throughout our years together.  We decide a few years ago that this would be the one piece we would love to be able to make together.  The process has been a journey with major ups and major downs.  We’ve had stops and starts, but so much great feedback.  We are determined to see it through and hopefully it doesn’t kill us. 🙂
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And, my biggest project is penning my first book.  Another crazy journey and another labor of love.
I am very excited to be a part of ExMo Chicago and looking forward to working with all these amazing ladies!

 

 

 

 

 

Our First “Talk Back”

Expressing Motherhood will host it’s first ever “Talk Back” after our Mother’s Day performance.

Right after the show we will invite members of the audience to ask our cast questions.

Feel free to stay and find out more about the moms who have just bared their soul to you.   Most of the cast met yesterday for a lovely brunch and here is a photo of them. Get your ticket now!

ExMo Brunch 2013

Courageous Women

I am always personally drawn to the stories of tragedy and triumph in our Expressing Motherhood shows. I suppose I feel connected to them, in a way. We have had so many women share such deep, emotional and often times very raw pieces on stage, I’m left with them for weeks…with a literal feeling of exhaustion…experiencing them over and over through our many shows. I can hardly imagine how our performers feel when sharing these same stories night after night. (Look up Courage in the dictionary and you’ll find any of our performers listed there.)

Kim Hamer shared with us her experience of losing her husband to cancer while leading her three young children through it. She performed her piece perfectly on stage and lived the emotions all over again after stepping off stage.

Kim Hamer

Andrea Meyer read to us her experience through a somewhat late term miscarriage. Andrea is so gifted with her words, her pain felt like your pain…as if you were actually going through this yourself.

Andrea Meyer

Angela Alexander lost two children in a car accident…while she was out of the country on active duty in the military. She turned her tragedy into a ministry and is inspiring many, many other people to keep putting one foot in front of the other when all seems hopeless.

Angela Alexander

Mona King not only has sung about the craziness of driving a mini-van and leading a life of a marriage and three children, she sang a song during one run of our show about raising a child with severe disabilities. You would have to be inhuman to not feel the insane love she has for that child.

Mona King

Anissa Mayhew wrote a letter to two of her three children apologizing to them about the attention her third one got so often due to that child’s cancer. Anissa suffered a stroke shortly before our show and was unable to fly to Los Angeles to perform. I had the privilege of reading her letter onstage. Anissa is as strong as she is hilarious.

“Team Anissa.” They traveled to LA for the show.

And don’t forget Dana Bell….

Dana Bell

These mothers and so many more I’ve been blessed to meet through Expressing Motherhood, are amazing testimonies to strong, courageous, women.

There is one woman, however, that holds a story that I will truly never forget.

That story belongs to Beth Littleford.

Beth is a two time performer in EM. The first time she stood on our stage, she shared a little piece she called “Letter To My Son’s Future Therapist.” It was as funny as it sounds…but with a serious subject behind it…Postpartum Depression.

Beth and I after our closing night in her first EM show.

It was during that show Beth and I talked a lot back stage. We talked about grief, really. My own mothers death was not too far behind me at that point. She said she knew grief very well, but couldn’t talk about it…not because she didn’t want to but because she couldn’t.

When she came back to perform in the show again..she had found the courage, through healing, to talk about it. Beth lost her father and 12 year old younger brother in a terrible accident while the two of them were off to Alaska on an outdoors trip. Beth recalled detailed memories of the last few times she talked with her brother. At that point, her own son was approaching her brothers age when he died and the conflict of joy and sorrow was still overwhelming.

Beth was dealing with the grief as part a healing process. She was moving forward, sharing and indeed, healing. This is part of the reason why she decided to talk about it on our stage. And we are so glad she did.

I get it. The “sharing in order to heal” part of it.

There are so very many sides to all of the shows we’ve had to pleasure to put up. They are always filled with so many different women with hilarious stories of motherhood that have you rolling in the aisles to somber, humbling experiences like the ones above.

No matter which ones I’m identifying with at the time, I’m always glad we’re Expressing Motherhood.

Expressing Motherhood……The Reviews Are In!

Posted by  Co-creator, Jessica Cribbs

Well, another run is over.

But not without AMAZING things being said about it!

Our Fall 2012 Cast

“One of the most entertaining poinegnt evenings I’ve had in a long time. The stories made me feel like I’m not alone in my odd world of motherhood.”
– Nicole Sullivan, MADTv, Cougar Town

“I saw this production last night. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me want to share my story too. Thanks, ladies. You are beautiful women and moms.”
– Louise Post, Audience Member

“I LOVED IT. It felt like a delicious gift. Best evening in ages.”
– Gayle Cole, Audience Member

”Please don’t ever stop doing this. I always take away so much from your show. Thank you for putting so much time in to it!”
– Jennifer Lindman Lovold, Audience Member

“I loved this show. I laughed out loud. I openly cried… The women reminded me of everything that I had feared about becoming a mother….I felt it. The camaraderie of motherhood. The camaraderie of women.”
-Tommie Vaughn, TheWallsOfTom.com

Great job ladies. I’m sad to see this run end, but completely satisfied in the content shared and the bonds created. Bravo!

Last Night

Last night the women performed in front of a full house. Normally there is a fair amount of whispering backstage.

But not last night. We listened to the audience reacting. It was powerful and wonderful.

A woman talked to me after the show saying how much she enjoyed it. She said she heard about it via her daugther who follows performer Krista Knott’s blog.

Krista Knott

I went to Krista’s blog this morning and read this piece she wrote about her own fears and doing the show.

We have two shows left today, a 2:30 matinee and a 7:00 evening show.

 

 

Reflection on a conversation with Candace Cameron-Bure

Posted by co-creator Jessica Cribbs

I was fortunate enough to have the chance to meet and talk a bit with Candace Cameron-Bure. Can I just tell you how stunning this woman is in real life?! She was beautiful and obviously takes good care of herself.
That’s beside the point….you can read my post here on my personal blog about our conversation.

Thank you Lisa Robertson of BabesInDisneyland.com for taking this photo!

Amy Simon

Amy Simon is a mother, actress, playwright, published writer, producer, and self-proclaimed Cultural Herstorian.  She is the creator of SHE’S HISTORY! The Most Dangerous Women In America, Then And Now…. a play, presentation and school program about women who make and made history. Her first play Cheerios In My Underwear (And Other True Tales Of Motherhood) holds the record as the longest running solo show in Los Angeles. Amy writes, blogs, performs and entertains on the radio, online, and onstage. She is the mother of two teenage daughters who can tell you all about the first woman to run for President. Amy performed for Expressing Motherhood here in LA, we heart Amy!
Today’s Fabulous Female Fact ( Via Amy)
Texas, November 19th, 1977 The Spirit Of Houston

Trail-blazing, Hat Wearing, Peace-Making Bella Abzug – who joined Congress at the age of fifty – pulled off another miracle, organizing The National Women’s Conference AKA “The Rainbow Of Women” Conference, which she got the government to pay for!

 

Performer Amy Simon will be acting as Bella Abzug in NYC in November.

A Fabulous Federal First and a major major coup!

With a “special emphasis on the representation of low-income women, members of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious groups, and women of all ages,” every state was represented with two thousand delegates, along with eighteen-thousand women and supportive men, many husbands, who supported their wives by carrying their little babies so the moms could go to meetings. Also carried – a torch from Seneca Falls, New York (home of the First Women’s Conference in 1848) to Houston, Texas.

It was presented to Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford and Rosalyn Carter who said it was“…the most important and exciting conference I have ever attended”.

Also on hand, Coretta Scott King, Maya Angelou, Billie Jean King and of course the glorious Gloria Steinem, to name a few.

The thirty-fifth Anniversary of this historic event is being celebrated in Manhattan, November 2012, with yours truly(Amy Simon) speaking as Bella Abzug.

Amy is a true professional and big supporter of women. It was a joy having her in our show, she is a veteran show runner herself.
Playing November 2012 at The Museum Of Motherhood in New York City