Bios

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ANN IMIG is the founder of the live-reading series and video sharing company LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER and editor of the acclaimed anthology LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now (Putnam Books, 2015). A Stay-At-Home Humorist, Ann’s writing has been featured on sites like CollegeHumor, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Huffington Post and The Washington Post. National TV appearances include ABCnews.com, NBC Nightly News and the webseries Battleground and The Louise Log. Ann’s blog (annsrants.com) has been named a Babble Top 100 Mom Blog, A BlogHer Voice of the Year, and a SheKnows Top 5 Funniest Mom Blog. Ann lives with her husband and children in Madison, Wisconsin.

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Co-Director/Producer of Listen To Your Mother Burbank, CA, Taia Perry is the mother of two fantastic daughters and has spent decades being passionate about theatre. Taia has degrees in both Acting  and Counseling Psychology, holds her SAG-AFTRA cards and has enjoyed acting, writing, teaching and directing theatre. She has spent the last six years running her Theatre Workshop (teaching, directing, producing plays) in the Burbank school system. This is her second year directing and producing this exciting project.
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Two-time Burbank Co-Director/Producer Suzanne Weerts is a North Carolina native who moved to Los Angeles fresh out of college with $200 and a dream. An unclarified, unresearched, hardly visionary dream of escape and some kind of career. The first job she landed was as a nanny, which turned out to be great training for her later career as MOM. In between she worked in television marketing and promotions for over a decade, experience that has served her well in her recent work as an arts and education advocate. When not writing grants, she has worked as a Speaker Coach for TEDxPasadena Women and spends her time writing personal essays and sharing those stories at Expressing Motherhood, Story Salon, WordNOW!, on Mamalode and on her blog, Stories to Tell. She is thrilled to bring Listen To You Mother back to Burbank for the Grand Finale season, giving a voice to more stories while continuing to help a cause that is dear to her heart, Burbank’s FAMILY SERVICE AGENCY.

2017 Cast

KatsyKatsy Chappell is an actress, comedian and quirky crafter and quilter. A few of her TV/Film acting credits include TRUE LIES, YES MAN, ER, Torchwood/Miracle Day and The Veil. She has performed worldwide including tours to entertain our nations armed forces stationed on bases and in the trenches over Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait and Djibouti Africa. Katsy was voted entertainer of the year by the Bob Hope USO shows. Katsy’s corporate comedy shows sometimes come with a side of crafts, where she teaches with textiles and the making of handmade soap from scratch. Her craft goodies can be found on Instagram: QraftyQomic and her blog: mylifewithpieces.com. Katsy is thrilled to be a part of the 2017 Listen To Your Mother Burbank production and wishes to thank her family, friends and especially Momma Earnie Maye for her love and support.

Megan DolanMegan Dolan has written and performed stories for Expressing Motherhood, Two Truths and a Lie, Laugh Riot Grrrrl, The Scripted Comedy Festival, Cake Batter’s Funny Women Festival (finalist storytelling competition), High Brow Comedy Fundraiser, and The Trunk Show. Her solo show, “Snack” played to sold out houses and won an Encore! Producer’s Award at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival. “Snack” was selected to be a part of the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival at the Electric Lodge in Venice. She has been a special guest performer for the Southern California Doula Association and Long Beach City College. She had the privilege of opening for the comedy folk duo “Mommy Tonk” last spring. Megan was a speaker at the TEDxWomen Pasadena conference in October, her talk entitled “Messy Mommy: Slob in the Shadows” is on YouTube. She lives in Long Beach with her husband, son, and daughter.

Ruth Davidson Guerra

 

 

While she’s not sure when making the perfect poached egg became more important than having a sunroof in her car, Ruth Davidson-Guerra currently finds herself in a vortex of change.

From her evolution as a renaissance girl in San Bernardino, into a 25+ year civil servant, she’s on a journey back to the bassixx…a soul-search to find her authentic and creative self. Ruth is thrilled to be part of the cast of LTYM Burbank.

 

 

Julayne ElleJulayne Elle is a 1.X generation adopted Asian American poet, artivist, writer and occasional blogger. Writing is a source of liberation and survival for her. Julayne was a Community Literature Initiative Scholar in the Poetry cohort and you can hear her at open-mics throughout southern California. She has spoken on adoption at symposiums and universities in Korea and in the US. Her first book of poetry is forthcoming.

 

Jules FordJules Ford is a full-time Mom who also owns OptiMind Neurofeedback in Burbank, CA, where she trains brains part time. Her husband and three sons are the lights of her life and her primary source of dish-related stress. She often tells her family that she has to take very long walks with their wonder dog Rocky but in honesty, it’s just an excuse to catch Pokemon. This is Jules’ first time sharing a story with LYTM and she’s very grateful to be a part of this program.

 

 

 

Vicki JuditzVicki Juditz has performed stories at festivals and theaters across the country, including the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN, and the Aspen LAFF Festival. She has won many Moth StorySLAMs and a GrandSLAM, and her story “Swing Dancing” aired on The Moth Radio Hour. Her story “Boca” was featured on an episode of UnFictional on KCRW. TV audiences may remember her as the secretary on COACH and in comic roles on EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, YES,DEAR, and MY NAME IS EARL.

ROERoe Leone is a graduate of Leadership Burbank, a former Girl Scout Leader, and National Charity League member. She has served on the Burbank Mayor’sYouth Task Force and is currently a member of the Burbank Unified School District’s Climate Committee. Roe is employed by the Autry Museum and she manages the books for Kids International Foundation. The last speaking part Roe auditioned for was in 1st grade; where she landed the principal role of Mother Goose.

 

 

 

Kerry NadalKerry Nadal is thrilled to be a part of Listen to Your Mother and is privileged to perform with so many extraordinary storytellers. Kerry has over eight years of experience as a mother. She wishes there was a pamphlet to explain how to be a good mother, but there’s not, so sometimes she really sucks at it. Thankfully, her children and husband are sensible, rational people who help her through the crazy. Kerry yells…a lot…even though she swore she wouldn’t because her own mother was a yeller. She also has a tendency to overshare.

 

 

 

Joanna PeresieJoanna Peresie is a sometimes writer, and full time lover of coffee and Snickers bars. A Muncie, Indiana native, Joanna moved to California 16 years ago, and is happy to call Burbank home. She has two amazing children who (almost) never make bad choices, a dog, two cats, several ill-behaved chickens, and a wonderful husband who supports her always. Even when she says things like, “I think we should get three more baby chicks.” Though she loves coffee and Snickers bars, her true passion is children. She nannies three adorable little ones, has worked to provide after school enrichment programs for elementary school students, and has held PTA board positions for years (and years, and years, and years…). When she is not volunteering at fundraisers or doling out last minute book report assistance, she can be found writing truthful assessments of her life as a mother and caregiver for the amusement and mockery of her family and friends.

Analucia PratherAnalucia Prather immigrated to the United States in 1988 from Nicaragua. At age six she experienced the trauma and disruption of the Managua earthquake which left her Mother partially paralyzed. At age fourteen, during the Sandinista revolution, she was sent to the mountains as part of a literacy campaign to teach the villagers to read. She currently works at the Arthur Ashe Student Health Center at UCLA. She is married with two children and resides in Burbank.

 

 

 

MArgot RoseMargot Rose grew up in Indiana, where she started acting at the age of ten, playing Heidi in the local Children’s Theatre. She attended Yale Drama School and North Carolina School of the Arts (BFA). Margot began her professional career in New York; stage credits there include I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On the Road, (New York & LA, original companies, Godspell (4 regional companies), Regional & LA: Equus, Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, Largo Desolato, Gay 90’s, Taken in Marriage, Sordid Lives, Siblings, Uncommon Women & Others, Working and Robber Bridegroom, among others. She has more than 75 TV & film credits including television’s Mistresses, Desperate Housewives, Law & Order LA, The Mentalist, The West Wing, Judging Amy and in the films: 48 Hrs, Civil Action, True Believer and Hollow Man, among others. Margot produces Sidedoor Salon, an ongoing music & storytelling series, She is currently finishing up her musical memoir, SPRINGLOADED, which will premiere at this years’ Hollywood Fringe Festival. Most important of all, she is blessed with exquisite 17 year-old twins, Will & Nora.

Jennifer SeifertJack Nicholson Scholarship Award winner and alumnus of the University of Southern California, Jennifer Seifert is a certified life coach, actress, writer and director. As an actress, Jennifer is an Ovation Award winner, and has worked with such theaters as A Noise Within, Pasadena Playhouse, Shakespeare Festival LA and The Falcon Theatre with Troubadour Theatre Co. Jennifer produced her own short film, “To Desdemona, Love Juliet.” Jennifer can be seen in the Academy Award nominated film, “In America”, and opposite Oscar winner, Anjelica Huston in “Huff.’ In 2010, Jennifer became a mother, was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and her life took a significant turn. She attempted to balance creativity, motherhood and her new physical limitations. After picking up Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”, she was able to embrace her new “normal”. She now facilitates Artist’s Way groups, continues touring the country with “Playfair” and “Shotspeare”, and has found a new voice with “Expressing Motherhood” and now “Listen to Your Mother”. She hopes to produce her new short film this summer. “Inside a Feather” is one woman’s story of gun violence and the need for gun control.

Marlena SkrabakMarlena Skrabak is a high school junior who was born in sunny San Diego. Raised in California,
Tennessee, France, and the Czech Republic by travel-loving parents, she has been immersed in
foreign cultures and customs, surrounded by languages that sound like beautiful gibberish, and
has experienced the eclectic teaching styles of many educators. From this, she draws her
inspiration for her love of art in all forms, ranging from photography, to painting, to writing in
both English and French. During the weekdays, when she is not studying, she is swimming laps
with her varsity swim team and on the weekends, she spends her time at the local pool as a
lifeguard. She is honored to a part of this year’s Listen To Your Mother show.

2016 Cast

Ashley AltmanAshley Alteman is known for her love of dinosaurs, ponies wearing sweaters, forgiving stretchy pants and overuse of commas. She was awarded “Employee of the Month” in August of 2015, which she awarded to herself. She won a spelling bee in the 8th grade for correctly spelling “carrot” and knew from that moment she was destined to be an amazing journalist, or a sarcastic blogger. Ashley details her laugh-out-loud parenting and personal fails at SmashleyAshley.com. Additionally, she’s rescued several dinosaurs from captivity and currently rescues items off of Amazon.

ellenEllen Ancui (ahn-swee) is a playwright, screenwriter, memoirist and journalist. A native New Yorker, Ellen transplanted to Los Angeles twenty years ago to write for the UPN sitcom, Malcolm and Eddie. Theatrical productions of her plays in LA include, Glory Pie at the Coronet Theater, Y2FU at Theater/Theatre and her one woman show, Jumping off the Fridge at the HBO Workspace. In NY her solo shows were produced at The Public Theater, The Knitting Factory, Dixon Place and Solo Arts Group (which she founded in 1994) and around the world at The Edinburgh Theater Festival and at London’s Camden Studio Theater. Ellen has been published in print in American Theater Magazine, Maxim, The Boston Phoenix and in numerous online magazines. She is the recipient of grants from the Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation and the Massachusetts Council of the Arts as well as commissions from the Arts Council of Princeton and the Women’s Center of Princeton University. She is currently working on a memoir/how-to book, called, Divorce Sucks! (But You Don’t Have To) which really should be read by married people as well.

Hedia AnvarWriter, filmmaker, actor Hedia Anvar (aka Gunmetal Geisha) prides herself on doing what she loves. It doesn’t always translate into square meals, but that works out because chewing can be time-consuming and she’d rather put the effort into creative endeavors. In addition to starving artist jokes, Hedia writes about her severe case of “chronic dichotomy” at gunmetalgeisha.com. As a writer, Hedia has been featured in Narratively and Huffington Post among others, and is currently working on a novel. She has also been seen in over a dozen TV commercials, but definitely not seen in the several indie feature films in which she played leads. She has written and directed thirteen short films, most of which have won prizes or reached finalist levels in various competitions. She is currently in post-production for Fountaineers, a short for which she took on far too many production roles in addition to directing. While she knows the term “award-winning” is thrown around loosely, she can’t resist mentioning her first prize in poetry from the LACC Foundation, her BlogHer Voices of the Year and an audience choice award for Best Acting from a teeny, formerly-existing film festival in Kansas.

Pam BassukOne of Pam Bassuk’s favorite ways to spend the morning is curled up on the couch with a warm mug of coffee, two full birdfeeders outside the window, and a journal in her hand. From there, she often saunters over to her computer and dives into the realm of creative nonfiction. Writing about life keeps Pam centered and sane. It helps her be a better mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend. Pam taught filmmaking at CSULB and LBCC for eight years before starting her own tutoring business. She optioned two screenplays for a total of three big ones – in layman’s terms that’s three bucks. She is currently writing a humorous memoir about her year as a stage mom trekking to cattle calls across LA. On the journey, Pam learned about the world of working artists and discovered the benefits of writing for pleasure instead of pay.

Courtney CraneCourtney Crane found her writer’s voice 5 years ago in Bella Carter’s class “Write Where You Are: The Art of Being Present on the Page”. She writes short stories about coming of age in the South, some of which she is expanding into a novel. Courtney has participated in the downtown L.A. play, “Expressing Motherhood” and in the “NOHO Lit Crawl”, and is thrilled to be cast in “Listen to Your Mother”. She grew up in New Orleans, but calls Studio City home, with her husband, John, and their teenagers, Jack and Cally. She worked for the David Hockney studio for many years, before joining Paragone Gallery Art Consulting Firm in West Hollywood. Courtney dedicates this story to her late mother, Jackeen Churchill, the quintessential “Steal Magnolia”, whom she lost in 2014.

Richard_Donatone copyRichard Donatone has been an actor, musician, a graphic artist and a salesman. He has always told stories, but only to one person at a time. It wasn’t until November 2013 that he found that other people were doing the same thing in groups and sharing their experiences. He has found a home telling stories of his life and sharing his unique take onlife’s situations. He has also ventured into the world of fiction writing appearing at the Story Salon’s Fiction Nights. He will be appearing there on April 8thwith the third installment of his story of a day cross county skiing that went terribly wrong. This event marks Mr. Donatone’s first appearance with “Listen to Your Mother.”

Juanita ManzJuanita E. Mantz (“JEM”) grew up in Ontario, California with her two sisters in the 1970s and 1980s in the kind of chaotic home from which great memoirs are made. After dropping out of high school at seventeen, Juanita took her GED and waitressed her way through UC Riverside and USC Law. After law school, Juanita worked at large law firms in Houston and San Francisco, but found her bliss as a Deputy Public Defender in Riverside where she specializes in representing the mentally ill. Her nonfiction stories and essays have been published in The Acentos Review, As/Us: Women of the World, East Jasmine Review, Inlandia Journal: A Literary Journey, Lifetime, The Riverside Lawyer and XO Jane. She is a four-time participant in VONA’s Summer Writing Workshop and this piece is an excerpt from her YA memoir in progress, “My Inland Empire: Hometown Stories”. Juanita’s memoir focuses on her chaotic upbringing and her escape through books and punk rock music. Read her blog at “Life of JEM.”

Lori PacinoLori Pacino is delighted to be performing in her first production as an adult. As a child she enjoyed performing in school plays and community theaters, and she is happy to have this opportunity to be involved with LTYM. She is a mother of three and a sixth grade teacher at David Starr Jordan Middle School. When she isn’t teaching, Lori travels with her family and enjoys exploring National Parks.

 

Joanna PeresieJoanna Peresie is the sometimes writer of her blog, Mommy’s Big Mouth, and is a full time lover of coffee and Snickers bars. A Muncie, Indiana native, Joanna moved to California 15 years ago, and is happy to call Burbank home. She has two amazing children, a dog, a cat, several ill-behaved chickens, and a wonderful husband who supports her even when she says things like, “I think we should get three more baby chicks.” Though she loves coffee and Snickers bars, her true passion is children. She nannies three adorable little ones, has worked to provide low-cost after school enrichment programs for elementary students, and holds PTA board positions at two schools. When she is not volunteering at fundraisers or doling out last minute book report assistance, she can be found writing truthful assessments of her life as a mother and care giver for the amusement and mockery of her family and friends.

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Angela Riggs is a bereaved mother who has three children on Earth and one in Heaven. She lives in San Diego, CA where she works as a Human Resources Manager in higher education. When Angela isn’t home, you’re likely to find her at the happiest place on earth (Disneyland) with her husband and kids. To help cope with her grief, Angela created a blog called SurvivingSIDS (www.survivingSIDS.com) where she shares letters that she has written to her son, Leo, who passed away in 2013 of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). She is also a monthly contributor at Pregnancy After Loss Support (www.pregnancyafterlosssupport.com) where she shares her experiences, thoughts, and feelings as she continues down her parenting journey, focusing on parenting after a SIDS loss.

Suzanne SkrabakSuzanne Skrabak is a sun loving California native, born in Hollywood. She is the daughter of a Colombian immigrant and a “Windy City” mother. At 16 she survived a car accident that left her with a broken neck and paralyzed. One year later, notwithstanding her doctors’ prognosis, she limped out of the rehabilitation hospital and never looked back. Her strong sense of adventure and “live life to its’ fullest”, attitude has put her on trains, planes and automobiles, across Europe and South America, for months and years at a time. With her English Literature and ESL degree she served as a Peace Corp volunteer in the Slovak Republic, introducing pedagogy to students and colleagues while teaching English and Physical Geography, ultimately learning more than she taught. She and her equally adventurous husband, recently dragged their kind-hearted daughter (now 15), laugh-out-loud funny son (now 13) and tolerant dog to France and the Czech Republic, where she taught, and they lived for 3 years.

Shari WendtA Southern California native, Shari Wendt earned her BFA in screenwriting from USC film school. After a short stint in the film industry as an assistant and researcher, she worked in a fine art photography gallery as a registrar and archivist, cataloguing over 10,000 pieces of art. She moved on to fulfill a longtime dream of writing for the theater and had three shows produced, including a narration for “The Carnival of the Looney Tunes” for the Burbank Philharmonic as part of their Salute to Warner Brothers. Since becoming a mother, she’s been an active member of the PTA and was the project coordinator for the 2012 Scholastic Books “Kids Are Authors” grand prize winner, Two Dollars, One Wallet, making her daughter and six other third graders published authors. The team went on to win a 2013 honorable mention with the sequel Two Dollars, One Adventure, earning in total thousands of dollars in books for their elementary school. The descendent of poetesses, she dreams of being a lyricist-librettist when she grows up and is currently getting her rhyme on in Burbank with her teen son and tween daughter.

Pat WillsonPatricia Lee Willson is an award-winning actor and director. She received an LA Weekly Award and a Media Access Award for her portrayal of a woman with Down Syndrome in Elaine Osio’s ‘Rangements at the Group Repertory Theatre, where she directed a production of Noel Coward’s Hay Fever that received an LA Weekly Award for Best Revival Production. Also at GRT, she directed Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Therese Lentz’s 221B Baker Street and Frawley Becker’s 411 Joseph. She went on to get rave reviews there in Lonny Chapman’s adaptation of Chekhov’s The Harmfulness of Tobacco, then directed and co-starred in a production of Mark Stein’s At Long Last Leo, which the Los Angeles Times named “Critics’ Choice,” and for which the theatre won another Media Access Award. Most recently, she directed Twelfth Night at the Globe Playhouse in Hollywood and a much-hailed production of Margaret Edson’s Wit at the New Theatre in Sun Valley, Idaho and again in Boise, Idaho. She played Miss Marple in A Murder is Announced in Glendale while directing Via Dolorosa in Burbank. She is the artistic director of the sometimes going theatre concern of the Southern California Jewish Repertory Theatre. Pat received an MA in theatre at the University of North Carolina and later trained at HB Studios and Circle in the Square in New York. In Los Angeles she studied with Charles Conrad and Michael Shurtleff.