I cannot believe that it’s over…I think I’m still in the afterglow of the best show and the best new friends ever!

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make LTYM St. Louis 2016 so damn spectacular. I’ve literally gotten hundreds of e-mails and voicemails from so many people RAVING about the show and telling me how much they enjoyed each and every story! Every single story was fabulous and made an impact. I hope that everyone in the cast realizes what we’ve accomplished and are so proud of themselves.

A very very special THANK YOU to Taya Dunn Johnson for making the trip to St. Louis to see our show! I cannot tell you how much that meant to the entire cast, and especially to Naomi and I. I just wish we could have gone to Sweetie Pies with you…we were just a little busy!
NEXT TIME!!! :-)

I LOVE YOU ALL!

P.S. I’ve been listening to my CD all day long…IT ROCKS!

LTYM Cast Photo on Stage

LTYM 2016 Cast Shoe Photo

LTYM 2016 ANNIE SEAL

LTYM 2016 POPCORN PROGRAM

LTYM 2016 STAGE 2

LTYM 2016 WYNTRA

LTYM 2016 Jennifer & Annie

LTYM 2016 Colleen and her Mom

LTYM 2016 Photo with Taya & Ellie

LTYM 2016 Selfie with Colleen

LTYM 2016 Sadie and Pamela

LTYM 2016 Jennifer and Lillian Claire

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naomi 50 percent

Naomi Francis – has been planning parties and events for more than 20 years, specializing in sponsored events and fundraisers. She started in this field as a server and sous chef in Hollywood working at several award shows such as the Academy Awards, Comedy Awards and at various VIP homes. After arriving in St. Louis, Naomi branched out on her own as a caterer and then evolved into an event planner. After four years as a Co-Producer/Director for Listen to Your Mother – St. Louis, and loving every minute of it, she is trying her hand at writing a memoir focused on her own mother. Naomi is married to Ron, who is serving our country as active duty military, and they have twin 7-year old boys, Jake and Luke. So her household is always one big party that she’s forever trying to clean up!

What inspired you to co-produce/co-direct LTYM?
(This is Laura again…) Naomi couldn’t remember the answer to this one…so, I’m going to tell her!
Ellie Grossman-Cohen met Naomi at Kaldi’s and asked her to be a part of the group of this new, fabulous movement.
I think it’s hard for Naomi to say, “NO”, and even though she had twin toddler boys, she didn’t hesitate and said, “OK, I’ll start working on everything this afternoon!”
She’s a nut, but WE LOVE HER!!! Naomi is the easiest, hardest working co-producer/director EVER!

What’s the craziest piece of advice your mother or a mother gave you?
When I was in elementary school, I had a habit of wiggling my nose back and forth with the back of my index finger. My mom said if I kept doing that then my nose was going to get really big when I grew up.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve said to your kids?
Well, this is definitely pretty embarrassing for me, but when the boys were 6 I was in a hurry getting their backpacks ready for school. I was still unpacking from our move and couldn’t find the water purifier jug so I told Luke, “Sorry you can’t take your Star Wars sports cup to school since I can’t find our water purifier but I’ll give you a water bottle to take.” Then Luke smartly pointed out to me and said, “You can pour the bottle water into my sports cup.” Uh-duh!

Quick…ask the child closest (in proximity, of course) to you to describe you in 10 words or less. What did they say?

Luke (7 years) says that I’m a good mommy, I care about him, I’m happy, I have shiny teeth and nice black hair.

How would you describe yourself as a writer?
In my college days, I had an internship in the Alumni Office where I helped write their newsletter. My degree was in Public Relations and I had other positions as a PR person, so I think I tend to put a positive spin on my writing.

Salty or sweet? What’s your favorite snack to splurge on?
I do like combining them like Kettle Popcorn, Chocolate caramels with sea salt, and at Auntie Annie’s I actually get their cinnamon-sugar pretzel but I have them start it with a salted pretzel.

What was your first album?
My first album given to me was the Mary Poppins soundtrack. I loved that movie and even had a lunchbox with the characters on it. The first album I remember getting was Steely Dan’s Aja album. Loved Steely Dan!

Laura-Edwards-Ray-Still-Brain-Dead-Pboto-200x300

Laura Roodman-Edwards Roodman-Edwards-Ray (she married and divorced the same man with the same problems twice until she married the love of her life, hence the very long name) lives in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri with her two daughters, one stepson close by, and her loving husband. She is a full time mom, law firm representative for Thomson Reuters, author of Brain Dead in the Burbs and Cooking Your Way Back to Sanity- a memoir, Still Brain Dead & Cooking, and later this year, her third, ‘Forever Brain Dead’.
For the fourth year in a row, she is very proud to be a Co-Producer/Director for Listen to Your Mother – St. Louis, the fabulous show that continues to ‘Give Motherhood a Microphone’ and is currently in 41 cities, including one in Canada! She also has starred in a two woman comedy show, called “Funny Girls, The Experiment” and every Wednesday, co-stars in a YouTube cooking show with two of her best friends, Regi Drake and Fritzie Reeves, called ‘Brain Dead & Cooking with Friends”. In her free time, (she knows that’s a joke), she does everything she can to help her husband out at her husband’s record store of 36 years, Vintage Vinyl.

What inspired you to Co-Produce/Co-Direct LTYM?
Four years ago, Ellie Grossman-Cohen called to ask me, “How would you like to take on more than you can chew?!?” The second I heard the premise, I said,
“Sure, let’s go for it!” I’ve never regretted my decision and am so damn proud of this show and our city! It’s such a powerful experience each year, and it’s amazing to me that each year, my ‘family’ grows exponentially! I LOVE everyone I’ve met through this entire process. The cast, the sponsors, and the audience…Every single person involved in this show ‘Gets it’ and totally understands what we’re trying to do. This year’s cast members have gotten so close, so quickly, it just warms my heart! Ann Imig really created something so special and I’m so glad that I didn’t use any common sense when Ellie first called!

What’s the craziest piece of advice your mother or a mother gave you?
Way too many to even count…so let’s just talk about the craziest thing she said to me in the last few weeks? “Lou, you and I are going to Hollywood to be on Judge Judy!…pack your bags, because we only live once!”

What’s the craziest thing you’ve said to your kids?
Way too many to count, too! (I think it may be hereditary….Right, Colleen?!) I always say, “Just tell me where to go and how much I owe” and now I hear them say the same thing all of the time.

Quick…ask the child closest (in proximity, of course) to you to describe you in 10 words or less. What did they say?

Funny, caring, goofy, sweet, neurotic, spazzy, beautiful (awww),and wonderful (another awwww)

How would you describe yourself as a writer?
I write exactly like I talk…I ramble on and on, AND I just crack myself up (no one else thinks I’m funny, but I find myself laughing so hard that I have tears streaming down my face…you should see people at St. Louis Bread Company watching me write…they all think I’ve lost my mind…which is of course, debatable. Thankfully, I have a wonderful editor, Fran Levy, who ‘gets me’ and doesn’t want me to try to edit myself. It’s great because I don’t have to think about anything except the story!

Salty or sweet? What’s your favorite snack to splurge on?
Both. Right now I’m into Sugar Babies and White Cheddar Popcorn…and to think, I can’t blame it on PMS anymore!

What was your first album?
Van Morrison’s ‘Moondance’

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Naomi and I HAD to thank the following sponsors for believing in us, and for just being the coolest, most wonderful businesses in town!

May 3, 2016

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St. Louis Cast Spotlight: And if you ever question if miracles exist… Ladies & Gentlemen, Jennifer Freeman Talley

May 3, 2016

Jennifer Freeman Talley is an educator, musician, wife and mother. She has taught pre-school, kindergarten, and college level classes in Missouri and in Illinois. She was a curriculum specialist with McGraw-Hill and traveled the country training educators and supporting schools until the birth of her daughter. Now she works as a per diem consultant and literacy specialist for McGraw-Hill. “Student Made Thematic Mini Books,” published by Incentive Publications, is a book she wrote for early childhood educators and parents of young learners. Although she has enjoyed an extensive career in education, her dream job is being the mother to the miracle baby, 18 month old Lillian Clare. When Jennifer isn’t busy being a stay at home mommy, attending mommy and me classes or arranging playdates, you will find her playing the clarinet with the Saint Louis Wind Symphony, the Northwinds Concert Band and the Gateway Wind Quintet. She has a passion for Broadway […]

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St. Louis Cast Spotlight: Murphy’s Friend No More, The Very Talented Hannah Shanks

May 2, 2016

Hannah Shanks is an accidental clergy spouse, mother to one son and human to one dog. She works as an adjunct professor of social work at MacMurray College, part time grant writer, and non-profit professional specializing in volunteerism and poverty competency. Hannah enjoys reading, writing, running, and playing board games with noisy people. She is currently storying up quarters in her car, eagerly awaiting the appearance of neighborhood lemonade stands. Hannah firmly believes the sum life’s wisdom can be found in episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. She writes because other writers have given her amazing gifts she can never repay, but only pay forward. You can find some of her work at www.hannahtries.wordpress.com. What inspired you to audition for LTYM? I know the powerful experience that comes from being freed from hearing someone else’s story. I know how healing and hopeful it can be to identify with someone unexpected and say, “Me too. […]

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