“Ageless Wonders: A Grown up kids Guide to Growing Newer”
written and starring
Directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson
Music by Roland Mousaa
Lyrics written by Mindy Fradkin & Roland Mousaa
I am in my 6th decade now and started feeling like I entered a new universe. People began talking to me differently. “Are you retired? Are you still working?” People at a previous job were mostly in their twenties, and I was older than their parents. Weird. One day you wake up and its a new reality. Maybe I have more wrinkles, brown spots? I must look different! In my thinking, I don’t feel any different. I had a job that was awful, and I came home one day very exhausted, more tired than ever, and I began writing this show about ageism in America, and my experience being a “senior” in our youth driven USA culture.
It’s also harder to be an “older” woman in our society in many ways. It may be better or worse in the UK. I am not saying its easy for men either, but there is more bias against us women. Men are “distinguished” while women don’t have flattering terms like “old bag” or “old ladies”.Times are changing though. Through writing my show about ageism in America, I started meeting women who had a similar goal to shift perceptions about aging, realizing we are no longer in the youth club.
I had never written a one woman show. I had been performing a one woman improv, interactive show for decades promoting designer hats that I created, and would sell them at the end. After a while, women’s clubs, senior homes, charity events would book me to perform. I wore outrageous outfits, and my art to wear hats and wigs. I previously was a wardrobe stylist for print ads, and billboards. I did costumes for a film, and the whole time, one of the actors, said I needed to be in front of the camera, not behind, and I could just get up and talk and everyone would be laughing. After that summer, I took a comedy class in Manhattan. I proceeded to do stand up comedy after the 10 week class, which led to going to hat school at FIT. I didn’t like working late at night in clubs, smoke filled and drinking. But, of course, hat making was wonderful, but I needed to still perform, so I created a hat performance which is part of my one woman show, Ageless Wonders.
Years later, on my Dad’s deathbed, he gave me a big grin. That smile changed my life for the better. He rarely smiled, as he had a terrible tragedy as a child. I was inspired to start a movement about the healing power of a genuine smile. The Smile Revolution was born. I started a blog, had a radio show, with celebrity guests, like Pete Seeger, Richie Havens, Arlo Guthrie, Buffy St. Marie and more. My wasband( ex-husband), Roland Mousaa, introduced me to them, and worked with them. He and I wrote a series of smile songs that we sing in my show.
After my radio show ended, I was developing a TV to promote The Smile Revolution. Nothing was working out. I went to Los Angeles, and saw my actor friends who said, “Why don’t you do a one woman show, and here’s a coach?” I immediately contacted Jessica Lynn Johnson, an award winning Best National Solo Artist, and Director of Solo Shows. I could never have written and performed this play without her direction and guidance. I started writing a show about my childhood, but after a few months I paused as it felt really hard. After 9 months ( like giving birth!), I was working at a job that I hated, and one night being very exhausted, I started writing my new show. I contacted Jessica and we immediately started work on it. It’s been a tremendous amount of work and financial investment, but its the most rewarding experience of my life. I feel fulfilled and happy, yet stressed at times too! My show has a metaphysical twist to it, which gives others hope, and a new perception on aging.
In my show, I speak directly to the audience sharing personal stories as well as inspiring stories about aging that help shift perceptions, mainly for women, since its harder for us in U.S.A. I do an interactive ‘Hat Parade” with my designer hats, sing original smile songs with my was-band, ex-husband, Roland Mousaa, promoting the healing power of a simple smile. I interviewed in a 2 minute video, Anthony Mancinelli, who at 107 has been cutting hair for 95 years, works full time, and drives. He is a true “Ageless Wonders” and knew he would inspire my audience to realize they are not old!
I have one SOLD OUT show on October 6, and am selling tickets for Wednesday, September 26 at 3:30pm. My special guest is Anthony Mancinelli, at this matinee. Tickets: $47.25 at box office or Telecharge 212-239-6200 or http://unitedsolo.org.us/agelesswonders-2018 ( extra fees apply)
“Mindy is a wonderful, living, work of art.” Nohoartsdistrict.com
“Mindy is zippy, zesty, and full of life!” Bonnie Priever, Curtain Up
“She leaves the smiles and laughter for keeps.” Paul Smart, Woodstock Times
Article by permission from Advantagesofage.com