Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Teresa Thome!

“Poetry and Hums aren't things which you get; they're things which get you. And all you can do is go where they can find you.”
- - Winnie the Pooh




Happy Wednesday!

I hope that you had a fabulous Tuesday and that today exceeds that. I hope you all enjoyed my blog yesterday on Patrick Ziegler. It was so much fun getting to know him and I made so many new connections as a result of that blog including today's subject, Patrick's friend and business partner, Teresa Thome!

Let's start at the beginning...
Teresa's sister, Anne, took her to a play called "Bumbershoot" or "Bumbledoodle" or some such silliness.  It was a children's show at an outdoor theater. 

Her sister's high school friends were the leads. 
Teresa was 6 or 7 at the time.  
She was enthralled. 
She got their autographs after the show.  
She remembers being filled with such joy she was bouncing all the way home.  
The show was put on at Circle Theater in Grand Rapids.  She would later direct her first play at that theater - a children's show. 
Terese and her family when she was a kid.  The person holding the guitar is her older sister Anne who took her to the play.

Terese and her Dad
Teresa was exposed to the arts growing up, in very indirect ways.  It wasn't like her parents said, "Hey, we better expose these kids to the arts to make them more well-rounded people", it just kind of happened.  For example, her dad, a factory guy who worked two jobs until she was well in to her 20's, bought a series of Great Artists books from Meijer Thrifty Acres - a local grocery chain.  
They were flimsy and oversized and each book featured a different artist, Picasso, DaVinci, Monet, Manet, etc.  Terese was just about the only kid in the neighborhood that recognized the artwork in the game, Masterpiece.  She knew these books were special, but she didn't quite know why.  She remembers going to the Chicago Art Institute for the first time and thinking... "I know that VanGogh".  It made her feel very grown-up.  

Teresa's mother, a nurse... kept a piano in their home and Terese recalls seeing pictures of her on a stage in her High School Year Book in Remus, Michigan... a town with one stop light, best known for its butter.  On his one or two days off a year, Terese's dad took her and her siblings to the Public Museum and her sister - the one who took her to "Biliruben" or whatever that show was - was also an actress in a high school play.  Teresa remembers thinking, "I want to do that when I grow up".
 
Terese and her husband Fred in Italy
Aside from carrying the Baby Jesus down the aisle at church at midnight mass in 2nd grade - which was a huge ordeal for Teresa - her first stage appearance would have been in an all school performance.  All of the grades in her Catholic grade-school participated, so they had to move the performance to the neighboring public school auditorium.  
No "cafetorium" for that bunch!  Terese was to play the role of Betsy Ross. 
She had one line.  Her mom made her the costume.  She had to wave a handkerchief at "Benjamin Franklin". She thought her line was boring so she gave it her all... and added a little flirty wave with a handkerchief.  
The audience roared with laughter.  She was hooked. She desired to make people laugh.  For the rest of her life. 
 
Teresa's first professional job,  she was paid $50 to be Garfield for Roger's Department Store.  She spent 3 hours in a sweaty cat costume that made welts in my shoulder blades.  She was happy as a clam. She couldn't believe she got paid to do this.  Her first real acting gig! She was going to do this the rest of her life!!  
Her second paid acting gig came about 3 years later. She was an extra in an Amway Corporate Video.  She thinks she made $75.00.  She decided to pursue a career outside of entertainment and eventually became Executive Director of the Grand Rapids Children's Museum.
She felt like all her play as a child, and her theater work in college, and her improv work led her to be the ideal candidate for the job.  She will ever be grateful for that opportunity.

 
 Teresa's thoughts on Arts in Education

This is so hard for me to answer succinctly.  My children's museum soap box slips under my feet and I commence to shouting my opinions.  I'll be as brief as I can... cut away.  I'll speak to performance arts.

Even though I was active in the performance arts throughout my education, understanding the importance really came as an adult.  
First, when serving at the children's museum - writing grants - inviting "funders" to understand why to fund Play.  True play, in my mind, is rooted in the dramatic arts.  Imagination, critical thinking and decision-making are essential elements in the development of all children and are nurtured in role play and improvisation.  I am biased.  For years I performed in an improv troop - with my best friend and business partner, Patrick and a few other friends.  All the tools we need to be successful in business and life are learned in that environment: "Yes, and"... dealing with what is in front of you... engaging endless possibilities... it all taught me the kind of person I wanted to be... the kinds of things I want to inspire in others.  I read somewhere once that a child sees a stick in the back yard on a picnic table and it becomes a sword on a pirate ship.  Then an adult comes along and says "put down that stick".  The theater experience let's you pick up that stick again and say it's a sword, or it's a ski pole, or it's the Olympic Torch.  And we all look at him or her on the stage and say "yes, it is!"  I think we all need to experience that once in our lives and we will each see the possibility of life is infinite. 
Teresa and Patrick

And secondly, as an adult, I received an award from my Catholic High School for fine arts work in the community.  I was thrilled to go back to my school and accept the award.  To say that the best thing about my high school experience was doing theater.  
It got me to do theater in college, which in turn exposed me to the diversity that life has to offer.  I love the sometimes dysfunctional, often hysterically funny, ridiculously talented community that I found in the theater.  I think every child should taste the arts in some form - it will give them not only an appreciation for the medium itself, but for the people creating it. 

Patrick Ziegler, Betty White, Terese
And college theater is where I met Patrick Ziegler and my life has been forever changed.... in a good way (in case you were wondering)


What makes you cry out of the blue when you see or hear it?
I am a sucker for any incredible performance - a play or musical deserving of a standing O, a symphony, or a small show in a coffee house -- if the talent is present in the room, I will tear up.
I cried watching the performances of women in theater honoring Barbara Cook on TV. 
I once sobbed spontaneously as a chorus of German tourists, busted in to a Gregorian chant in a remote church in Italy.  Anything by Josh Groban.

 
Your thoughts on Carol Channing (All my blogs focus on Carol Channing’s FoundationFor The Arts)
I’m campaigning for Carol Channing to receive the 2012 Kennedy Center Honor in 2012. If you agree that she should receive this honor, can you say why you think this should happen

When I think of Carol Channing, a waft of nostalgia overcomes me.  It must be her Love Boat appearances first and foremost... I was a huge TV kid.  
I loved her.  I think of being entertained by someone who delivered the whole package.  She could sing, dance, be seemingly simple and yet, wickedly witty and smart.  I remember all of the parodies of her and was always amazed how one little person could pack so much influence.  I saw her perform on a special, I think it was, in more recent years, maybe the Tony's and I was blown away that she was still performing... and so amazingly. 
She is one of those icons of entertainment that always seemed so darn nice, too.  I love nice.  I'm very attracted to nice.  She is an ideal candidate for the Kennedy Center  Honors.  Very few performers have crossed over so seemlessly to so many different mediums - stage and screen (big and small) - up front and in supporting and even in voice over--- a true master.  For any young actress, she has an enviable career.  Her story is inspirational and worthy of such recognition.


Rally talking about film and TV jobs in Michigan
 Teresa's most recent appearance was the role of Lisa in Well at Actors' Theatre in Grand Rapids, Michigan about two years ago. 

Later this month, Teresa will be sharing some of her writing from a book she is writing about her relationship with her mother.  She is presenting this as part of a speaker's series at a local college.  It ain't for the faint of heart... a dark comedy, if you will.  She is looking forward to seeing how the ladies at the luncheon respond.
 

Fred Sebulske holding Patrick's Emmy
What is your biggest success in Show Business?

Winning  a regional Emmy was very cool.  Getting a national Emmy nomination was pretty amazing.  Writing on a project for Betty White was AWESOME.  But, starting a business with my best friend, producing five episodes and one year later still plugging along makes me pretty damn happy.

 
What was your lowest low and how did you surpass that?

Um - did I mention that we're still plugging along after one year? So proud of that fact, but we need capital.  Soon.  That said, I'm not anywhere near my lowest low.  While having the resources we seek will be helpful, I am still profoundly grateful for all that I have accomplished and all the possibility that lies ahead. 
I haven't truly at the lowest low in years.  I'm not interested in going back there.  I believe it was Zoloft that assisted in the surpassing. 

 
Teresa and Patrick from the first show they worked on together/It was "What I Did Last Summer" at Grand Rapids Junior College.  Patrick in the back in the middle and Teresa is to his right.
What one change would you like to see in today’s industry?

Industry for me/us, is outside of the mainstream.  I guess I'd like to see the mainstream continue to embrace and acknowledge the gifts and talents from outside major markets or coasts.  Talent is every where and can be nurtured from anywhere with the right resources.  
I believe, to lift one up, is to lift up everyone.  So the more collaboration that takes place, the better off we all will be.
Who are your TOP FIVE models and influences as an artist?

Hmmm... I guess I would have to say I am MOST influenced by the people closest to me - among them, my amazing husband, my incredible best friend and business partner and my genuinely funny father.  And I'll add Fred Sebulske, my college theater professor, mentor and friend - the man who taught me to love theater.  
And Jean Reed Bahle - a local actress, director and teacher.  She is one of the most genuinely talented, graceful people I know and the nicest, too... truly one of the nicest persons I've ever had the chance to meet.

 
What do you think ultimately made you become a performer? 

When I was really young my mom would make me perform ... "do Lily Tomlin's one ringy dingy" and my aunts and uncles would laugh.  
Or she would say, "do the impersonation of that old lady at the rest home".  And I would do an impersonation of an old woman with, well let's just say, gastrointestinal issues.  And people would laugh. (I come from an easily amused bunch.)  Then I did it for that big audience in 3rd grade... and the joy that came from making people laugh - just never went away.   Then, I learned to direct... and my actors made the audience cry and I thought - this is awesome... to inspire emotions - on stage or off... I want to do this forever.

Are you happy at the point you are right now in your career?
 I was on the path for a performance/directing career and put that aside to run a children's museum.  After 12 years, my soul ached to be more creative.  Today, I have started my own business with my best friend where I get to equally utilize both my left and right brain cells.  This makes me happy.  Is life enormously challenging?  Yes.  Do we need to raise capital to take it to the next level?  Yes.  Am I excited and scared? Well, a little bit scared. (she sings). Yes. I'd like to be further along in some ways, but I am grateful for how far along I've come.

Do you feel you have achieved what you set out to do?

Not yet.
 
What do you do to remain positive when life's hiccups get you down?

Talk to my husband.  He is incredibly positive.  The kind of guy that wakes up laughing because he just had a really funny dream. And enormously spiritual - he is an actor and a Hindu minister.  He is good at finding the right, non-judgmental words. 
Or, I talk to my business partner/bestie.  He always knows exactly what to say to me to get me to snap out of it.  Often he just says, "Snap out of it!"  It works. 

If you had all the money in the world...that you needed...would  you continue working.

Yes!  Patrick Ziegler and I want to do amazing things.  We need the resources to do this.  When we get these resources we will keep working and we will put other people to work and then we will entertain people we don't know... on the stage, screen (big and small) and the web.  I think all the money in the world would be enormously helpful.  And, of course, I'd buy world peace. 

A genie pops out of the lamp, he grants you three wishes. What are those wishes?

* I always thought it would be fun to be rolled out on the set of Saturday Night Live - during Weekend Update - performer comes out - does something funny - gets wheeled back off.  I'd like to have a character worthy of that roll out.
* I'd probably need whiter teeth if I was going to be on tv, so I'd ask for that

* and, hmmm... just one more...  EGOT... that would be fun.


If you could travel anywhere in the world and spend some time there, where would you choose, and what would you do?

Italy.  With my husband.  Extended stay.  Small village.  To learn the language.  Write.  Eat.  Walk.  Day trips to Rome to catch an opera.  Haggle with a street vendor in Italian.  Be the eccentric American who works in entertainment in the US.  Do a production of Spring Awakening with the village kids.  No, kidding, not that last part - although it would be kind of funny. 

 
What would you ask God if you could right now?

Might I have a word with Mary?  I'd like to hear this all from her perspective.

 I am so delighted to witness the success that Teresa and Patrick have achieved with their work. They are both amazing talents and two of the best people to work with, for, and around.
Fred Sebulske

 Teresa Thome IS a red headed ball of energy, passionate about her craft and spreading the message to community that theatre/performance arts is alive and well!
Shelly Irwin

Teresa L. Thome
co-founder / managing partner
fubble entertainment
contemporary media with a nostalgic appeal.
616.446.5682

 NO COPY WRITE INFRINGEMENT INTENDED ANYWHERE IN THIS BLOG.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!
Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!

Thank you, to all the entertainers mentioned in this blog! Thanks for the gifts you give to the world!
I love you ALL!! 

  Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

Now, GO OUT AND DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TODAY!

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                             Tomorrow's blog will be...CELEBRATING MARK NADLER!


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TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED TOMORROW!
Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com


This blog is in Loving Memory of Harry Kullijian Born:December 27th, 1919 in Turlock, CA. Died December 26th, 2011 in Rancho Mirage, CA

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