Friday, June 26, 2009

Suddenly Mommy Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 22 to July , 2009
Perfectly Norma Productions Proudly Presents
Suddenly Mommy!
She got married and had kids for the glamour and there is no glamour!
Written & Performed by Anne Marie Scheffler Directed by Michael McGinn
The baby’s crying, the toddler’s peeing beside the potty, the step daughter can’t find her shoes and the husband’s leaving for work! How will our heroine ever get the kids out the door and her step-daughter to school when she can’t find her twig lipstick?? Who left Anne Marie in charge??! Second City alumni and star of her own Comedy Special on CTV and The Comedy Network, Anne Marie Scheffler jumps into a new world of funny! Having kids! Sure, she thought that’s what she always wanted, but they’re so much work! It looked so easy in the brochure! A mom and step mom in real life, Scheffler exposes the truth of motherhood in an authentic and hilarious way! A modern Irma Bombeck! She’ll make you feel good about your parenting skills!
Venue#10 Planetarium Auditorium
190 Rupert Ave (theatre on lower level)
Friday, July 17, 3:45 PM
Monday, July 20, 5:30 PM
Wednesday, July 22, 9:00 PM
Thursday, July 23, 2:30 PM
Friday, July 24, 12:00 PM
Saturday, July 25, 7:45 PM
Sunday, July 26, 7:00 PM
$9. Babes in arms permitted.
45 minutes.

Suddenly Mommy! About The Creator... as in Mother

About the Performer: Suddenly Mommy: Anne Marie Scheffler
Anne Marie Scheffler likes to write about what she knows. “I really did find myself married with children in a blink of an eye. I didn’t find my husband until I was in my mid-thirties, so, there was a bit of a time crunch, procreationally speaking.”
“And becoming a mother? Wow! Who knew it was this overwhelming! I’m still getting my ass kicked as to how demanding these little people can be! And I thought I needed attention! Sheesh!”
Scheffler’s struggle to be a good mother and still remain herself, the theme of the show, is one she faces in real life too. “I was a middle child. I had no opinion of my own! I just wanted to make everybody happy! I blame my parents!” One opinion Scheffler always had was that she would be an actress. “Ever since I was 4 years old, I wanted to be a movie star. I still plan on winning an Oscar. When I am completely exhausted and frazzled, usually begging the boys to go to sleep already, rubbing Jake’s back in the dark, I close my eyes and rehearse the acceptance speech. And it always helps.”
“I also want a Golden Globe award. For my TV series which I write and star in. Just like Tina Fey.” Not that far-fetched a vision, as Scheffler is a known-quantity in the world of Canadian Television. She began her acting career with a recurring role on Street Legal, and has been making a living on film, radio and television ever since. She has a long list of TV credits including Due South, Queer as Folk and Doc. She has done over 30 commercials for TV and radio, Canadian and US, and is currently the voice of Milestone’s restaurant. She writes for television, is an alumni of the National Screen Institute’s Totally Television Program, and was just honoured with a CTV Fellowship which took her to the Banff World Television Festival. And she has a one hour Comedy Now! special on The Comedy Network.
Plus she has a TV series in development with Buffalo Gals, and intends on having the TV version of Suddenly Mommy to go into development by the fall.
And she’s a mom, step mom, and wife. “It’s not like I’m Suzy Homemaker or anything. My husband is a chef, so I don’t have to cook. I think it’s a case of he’s so good and I’m so bad that everyone prefers daddy’s food, so that’s good for me! Plus, my husband complains about my cleaning skills- or lack thereof.” She recalls a time when she asked her husband if they owned a mop. “Dave just dropped his head in despair. Shaking his head disappointedly. So I never mop! But I have other skills! Mostly on stage type skills, but that’s something!”
And Scheffler loves being on stage. She has 6 critically acclaimed one woman shows under her belt, including Situation: NORMA, Watch Norma’s Back, Leaving Norma, Dating Myself, Not Getting it and Got it Good. She is a Second City alumni and performs regularly at Mysteriously Yours. She was nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award, and scouted by HBO twice.
“I’m a better performer now that I’ve had my kids! Maybe my boys, with their short attention spans, force me to be incredibly entertaining on a day to day basis, so I’m a comic genius on stage. And I thought my life was over. ” It seems to be just beginning. With her 2yr old and 4 yr old sons and 10 yr old step daughter, she has about 20 years of comedy gold to mine.

Suddenly Mommy! The Show

About The Show: Suddenly Mommy
The idea for the TV series came first. That was two years ago. Then a year ago, Scheffler begin writing the Suddenly Mommy blog. Now, the live show. “Usually, it’s the other way around!” Scheffler laughs. Known for her 6 previous one woman shows, Scheffler is a familiar face in the fringe world and the television world. Her first show, Situation NORMA, which debuted in 1994, got her a better TV agent and she booked an episode of Forever Knight immediately. Her second show, Watch Norma’s Back!, had reviewers suggesting her character Norma should have her own TV series. HBO scouted her from both of these show. Besides her numerous TV credits, she was hired by Second City, was nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award, does lots of radio and TV commercials (she’s the voice of Milestones Restaurant), and her fifth show, Not Getting It, was made into a one hour comedy special.
“When Not Getting It became a comedy special on CTV and The Comedy Network, the TV series was an easy sell.” Scheffler won a spot in the National Screen Institute’s Totally Television Program to take Not Getting It from the stage to the small screen. “I was on the brink of having my own TV series. But I needed to pause and have my kids first.” One step-daughter and two babies later, Scheffler returned to the world of television development.
“I was pregnant with my second child, and met Christine Tyson, a firey single mom and producer, who worked at Shaftesbury. She wanted to develop a TV series with me. At the time I was a writer on a TV series, Out There, and my comedy special was a great calling card for my funny female voice,” Scheffler recalls. “Plus my kids loved her kids.” Soon Tyson and Scheffler created Irma Inspired, which is currently in development with Buffalo Gals.
But why have one show when you can have two? “Irma Inspired is about the single thirty-something woman with no kids of her own. That was me in “Not Getting It.” It’s a period of my life I could write about forever. But now there was another show I could write about. I was biking home from an audition, and I was wondering what a TV series based on my current situation would look like. You know, a funny actress who finally found herself, then had kids, and all that self work went down the toilet. I wasn’t very fast. I had a long time to pedal and dream. By the time I got home to the babysitter, I had the pilot episode mapped out in my head.”
She outlined the pilot and sent it to her writing agent, who loved it, being a single working mom herself. In the meantime, Scheffler began the Suddenly Mommy blog. “My birthday horoscope said that I should start blogging. I was already doing stand up about funny mommy stuff, so I figured I could blog about it too. I have lots of fun blogging about my boys, about how they treat me worse than some guys I’ve dated, and how if they were my boyfriends I’d break up with them. My blogs go out on Erica Ehm’s yummymummyclub e-newletter. She says I’m one of her most popular contributors.”
And then, Scheffler, (a Leo, btw), won a CTV Fellowship to The Banff World Television Festival. “I knew I needed to get in front of the broadcasters again. I also wanted to meet Kari Lizer, the creator of The New Adventures of Old Christine, who would be speaking about her show. Here I am, sleep deprived, with two boys who won’t listen to me, and a husband who was working doubles, expecting to be at Banff. When I got my parents to agree to watch the boys for 5 days, I knew it would happen.”
She won with the Suddenly Mommy TV series concept. She fleshed out the original outline to include three more leads. “I call it Sex and the City with Mommies.” She also got high marks for being multi-platformed. “It’s the new buzz word. I have the blog, the TV show and the live show. It was incredible to say “and I’ll be performing next month at The Winnipeg Fringe. It made the TV series more real. Plus, everyone seems to be from Winnipeg!” (Including CTV’s Robert Hardy, and HBO’s Gavin Wise).
And how was Kari Lizer? “She was speaking my language. She started off as a TV commercial actress then wrote a one woman show. She got offers to write for TV. Soon she was juggling a family with two pilots in development. So, it’s okay for me to have two shows on the go. That was reassuring.”
Creating film and television based on live material is an excellent formula for success. It clearly worked for Winnipeg Native Nia Vardalos of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” fame. Scheffler interviewed her recently. “I just wrote an article for the ACTRA National magazine about women in comedy and Nia, who is an inspiration to me, offered this advice. “Don’t wait for the phone to ring with an offer of a job- call yourself.””
According to Scheffler, doing the fringe this year is about calling herself. “It wasn’t easy to turn to my husband and say – “Look, I know we have little kids and variable incomes, but I want to go to Winnipeg for two weeks in July and do a fringe show. There’s no guarantee of money, but based on my prior work, I think this would be a great idea.”” She lives in Toronto with her chef husband and her sons, Nathan, 4 and Jake, 2. Her step-daughter Mackenna, 10, is with them every other weekend and for long periods in the summer and March Break. “I proposed Winnipeg as a great family vacation!” So far it looks like she’s heading to The ‘Peg on her own. But Scheffler is planning on hitting the fringe hard and really enjoying her time doing what she loves best.
“I’ve done 6 fringe shows and toured North America with them. I love the format. I love performing live. I get to be funny, with heart. I was in the live studio audience of a taping of Everybody Loves Raymond, and the penny dropped. What they are doing on the sound stage is what I am doing on the fringe stage. If the goal is to have my own TV show, then doing the fringe is a good idea.”
Can being away from her family for 2 weeks be a good idea? The irony is that her show is all about being overrun by her children. “My husband will be exhausted by the time I get back. He’s a hero.” Scheffler will also be shooting Irma Inspired in Winnipeg. “When I got into the fringe, I took it as a sign from above that I need to get to know this city. I’m freaked out about being away from the kids for so long. What kind of mother am I? But then I was picking up Nathan from Junior Kindergarten and I spoke with another parent who is also an actor. I told him that I was heading to Winnipeg for the Fringe. “I’m jealous,” he said. Seems to me that Winnipeg is the place to be.”
Especially if suddenly, mommy ends up with a TV show. Or two. “I have boys. Apparently hockey is in my future. I’m doing it for the team!”

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Man of Attitude, A Mom of Oblivion

Sometimes, it comes down to, going the easiest route possible. Wait. It always comes down to the easiest route possible. I just want to get through the day happy. Smiling. Easy. But if you don't give the kid some structure, he does things, like pour his milk into his jello, which spills over the bowl and onto him, and he looks at you with a "how could you let this happen to me?" face. And so the bathing and cleaning begins.

I see that there is wisdom in stopping the mess before it happens. Less cleaning for me. But I want to let him experiment. Explore this abundant universe. (Abundant in toys, not so abundant in sleep). But it also requires work on my part to stop him...

And I get so tired...

So the jello and the milk get everywhere and I'll clean it in the morning... or when he's 18. I just want to enjoy that 2 year old as much as possible! Could it be I am simply making it impossible for him to ever get married? Because there is no one in the world who would let him get away with what I let him get away with? Still, my relationships with the men in my life, continue to be challenging! More later! AMS