Category: Faith and Family on the Internet

Ellie Kemper and Stephen Colbert Talk Her Baby’s Catholic Baptism

On Wednesday night, Aug. 17, Ellie Kemper, star of Netflix’s “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” stopped by to visit a fellow Catholic on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” and revealed a big milestone in the life of her one-year-old son, James.

Kemper and writer husband Michael Koman, who’s Jewish, were married in a Catholic ceremony — last summer, a very pregnant Kemper told Colbert that story — and like many interfaith couples, had to make a major decision when the first child came along.

“We were sort of figuring out how to raise James, with what religion,” she told Colbert. “We’re going the Catholic route. He did get baptized.”

Kemper revealed James was baptized in May, when he was 10 months old — and she was a little concerned that he might be too big for the priest to manage. Apparently, young James did scream, but all turned out well — even when he grabbed a shard of glass at his grandparents’ house.

“An hour after the baptism,” Kemper said, “I found James with a shard of glass in his hand! It was in my parents’ house …He was miraculously unhurt. I don’t know if he was testing God. I don’t know what the point was, but I mean, he turned out OK. I don’t know if it was a sign.”

Kemper then finished off with a bravura, more grown-up (but still clean!) rendition of the song played by her son’s favorite toy.

Here’s the whole thing. Enjoy!

Congrats to Ellie, Michael and James, who seems to have gotten a good start on life.

Image: Courtesy CBS

Learn more about Family Theater Productions’ upcoming, new and vintage productions as well as our Hollywood Outreach Programs; and, of course, you’ll find us on Facebook. Visit our YouTube and Ustream Channels for our contemporary and classic productions.



Dads, Tell Your Kids a Joke — It Could Be a Memory Forever

It’s National Tell a Joke Day, so why should that matter to dads?

My dad, who passed away last November at the age of 91, was know for puns and limericks (as any waitress who served him found out). Just thinking of them makes me smile. Today’s kids are no different.

Today, the Ad Council released a video showing kids relating the silly jokes their dads told them, and then snuggling with their fathers. You’ll laugh … and maybe tear up a bit.

Below is the full press release from the Ad Council, plus links …

A Message to Dads across America: Take time to be a dad today

According to an Ad Council survey, 86% of dads spend more time with their children today than their own fathers did with them. However, a majority of dads (7 out of 10) also reported that they could use tips on how to be a better parent. To inspire and support fathers everywhere, the Ad Council, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse have launched a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) to encourage dads to recognize the critical role fathers play in their children’s lives through something as simple as a dad joke. The TV spots feature kids re-telling jokes their dads shared with them, highlighting that even the smallest moments fathers spend with their children can have the biggest difference in their children’s lives.

More On Fatherhood Involvement:

These PSAs are reaching out to all fathers to inspire and support men in their commitment to responsible fatherhood. The PSAs communicate to fathers that their presence is essential to their children’s well-being. The tagline “Take time to be a dad today” is part of an ongoing effort to encourage dads to play an active role in their children’s lives. The campaign also serves as a resource for fathers by providing the information they need to become more involved with their kids.
Click here to learn more:
Subscribe for Ad Council’s latest PSAs:

Of course, dads can always turn in prayer to St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, for support and consolation. He’s there to listen!

Images: Courtesy the Ad Council

Learn more about Family Theater Productions’ upcoming, new and vintage productions as well as our Hollywood Outreach Programs; and, of course, you’ll find us on Facebook. Visit our YouTube and Ustream Channels for our contemporary and classic productions.

‘Born This Way’ Star Rachel Osterbach Talks Independence for Those With Down Syndrome

Having just completed its third season on A&E, the docuseries “Born This Way,” which focuses on young adults with Down Syndrome, took home an 2016 Emmy for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Series, and is nominated again in that category for 2017, along with five other nominations.

The show has done much to raise the profile of people with Down Syndrome and acknowledge, along with the challenges, their capabilities, accomplishments, aspirations (which are much like anyone else’s) and essential humanity.

Among the young people profiled is Rachel Osterbach, 34, of Fountain Valley, California, who works for a local insurance company. She graduated with her class from Edison High School, and attended a Regional Occupational Program at Orange Coast College.

From a 2014 piece about her in the Orange County Register:

Her father, Gary Osterbach, says his daughter has always been a positive person who has never let any setback bring her down.

“She has inspired me and my wife with her positive attitude,” he said. “We’re very proud of her.”

He said he heard about the voluntary board position through the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County, of which Rachel is a member.

Rachel Osterbach also is a charter member of the Toastmasters Gavel Club and one of 15 global messengers in Orange County for the Special Olympics. She was an avid participant in her younger days and has collected more than 100 medals in basketball, bocce ball, soccer, track and field and rhythmic gymnastics. As a global messenger, she acts as an ambassador speaking about the Special Olympics.

Osterbach also has her own IMDB page, listing her as an actress.

I recently conducted an email interview with Osterbach about her life and aspirations:

What is the biggest misconception you think people have of those with Down syndrome?

People think that if you have Down Syndrome that you cannot do very much – that is not true.

Much of the conversation about Down Syndrome focuses on children — but of course they grow up. What is the show teaching about what it’s like to live as an adult with Down syndrome?

The show is teaching people that individuals with Down Syndrome can lead an independent life – they can hold a job, they can have a relationship with a partner, they can overcome fears, and they can have goals and dreams and achieve them – like everybody else.

Many parents are very afraid of having a child with Down syndrome. What would you like to say to them?

Don’t be afraid because your son or daughter can achieve anything and can find great happiness in life.You will laugh with them, you will cry with them, you will enjoy their successes with them and be there for them when they are struggling, just like you would with any child.

What do you like about your current job?

I love being with my co-workers and being part of a team. I also enjoy my work in the mailroom – opening and sorting mail, receiving and sending emails, and being sure that everything gets done on time.

What makes you interested in acting?

Acting is my dream – what I like most is that it gives me a chance to express all different emotions.

What did it mean to you for the show to win at the Emmys?

It meant a lot to me – it meant that people loved the show and it made me proud to be part of it. I also got to go on stage with the cast to accept the Emmy which was presented to us by Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens – a moment I will never forget.

Which challenge that you’ve overcome makes you the most proud?

I am most proud of the fact that I have overcome my fear of loud noises and crowds, which has enabled me now to attend concerts and plays that I never would have been able to attend before.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I see myself being married, living with my husband independently,and being a famous actress.

Here’s a clip of Osterbach’s favorite singer, Adam Lambert, helping her overcome her fears:

And another that shows her with fellow “Born This Way” cast members:

No airdate has yet been set for a fourth season.

Full episodes are available online (if you have a cooperating cable provider) or through Amazon Prime Video.

Image: Courtesy Rachel Osterbach

Visit the Family Theater Productions homepage and Facebook page to learn more about how FTP is reaching out to Hollywood and producing its own projects.

Petula Clark: Blast From the FTP Past (And She’s on Tour Now!)

In 1981, British singer Petula Clark — known for such British Invasion 1960s hits as “Downtown” and “Don’t Sleep in the Subway” — participated in an Easter special called “The Greatest Mystery,” for Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C, and Family Theater Productions.

We’ve reached into the vaults for two beautiful songs from that show, performed with a boys’ choir.

But you don’t have to see the 84-year-old singer just on video — she’s on tour right now, playing dates at the Fairport’s Copredy Convention in Banbury, U.K. from Thursday, Aug. 10 through Saturday, Aug. 12; at Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, California, on Sunday, Nov. 19; and at Bear’s Den, Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel, Niagara Falls, New York, on Saturday, Dec. 16.. Click here for details.

In the meantime, enjoy:

Image: Wikimedia Commons; Family Theater Productions

Visit the Family Theater Productions homepage and Facebook page to learn more about how FTP is reaching out to Hollywood and producing its own projects.

Marshall McLuhan on Media and Faith, With FTP Founder Father Patrick Peyton

In his 1970s show “Matter of Faith,” Family Theater Productions founder Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., did an extended interview with media visionary Marshall McLuhan, who originated the phrase, “The medium is the message.”

Here’s how his official Website describes McLuhan (whose birthday is July 21):

McLuhan was still a twenty-year old undergraduate at the University of Manitoba, in western Canada, in the dirty thirties, when he wrote in his diary that he would never become an academic. He was learning in spite of his professors, but he would become a professor of English in spite of himself. After Manitoba, graduate work at Cambridge University planted the seed for McLuhan’s eventual move toward media analysis. Looking back on both his own Cambridge years and the longer history of the institution, he reflected that a principal aim of the faculty could be summarized as the training of perception, a phrase that aptly summarizes his own aim throughout his career.

McLuhan was also an adult convert to Catholicism. Said McLuhan:

I was reading [G.K.] Chesterton, and [Christopher] Dawson and [Jacques] Maritain and those people. That’s how I came in.

I had no instruction even from clergy at any time but there was a friend of mine who said, ‘Well, since you don’t believe in Christianity’ – I was an agnostic – he said ‘you could pray to God the Father. So you pray to God the Father and simply ask to be shown.’ And so I did.

And I didn’t know what I was going to be shown, all I said was, ‘Show me,’ and I didn’t ask to be relieved of any problems. I had no problems. I had no belief and no problems.

Well I was shown in a quite amazing way and quite unexpected: I was arguing about religion with a whole group of grad students one night at Wisconsin and one of them said to me suddenly, ‘Why aren’t you a Catholic?’ and I shut up because I didn’t know. Up to that moment, it had never occurred to me that I would ever become a Catholic. But I was suddenly caught. I became a Catholic at once within a few days.

In the three videos below, McLuhan — who had a prescient view of how man and modern media intersected, even though he’s speaking before the internet — talks to Father Peyton about how the instantaneous and enveloping nature of modern media affects man’s mind, heart and soul.

Here McLuhan discusses the value of the replay, the effects media has on interpersonal relationships, and faith and resonance.

Here McLuhan discusses resonance, joining the Church, and the Church as a source of nourishment.

Here McLuhan discusses women as victims of sexism, the mother’s role, and the nuclear family.

Looks like McLuhan and Father Peyton were well ahead of their time!

Image: Family Theater Productions

Visit the Family Theater Productions homepage and Facebook page to learn more about how FTP is reaching out to Hollywood and producing its own projects.

The Success of “The Bible’s” Mark Burnett — Minus the Bible Stuff

Faith-filled viewers know Mark Burnett as one-half of the producing team — with Catholic wife Roma Downey — of “The Bible” and its spin-off “Son of God,” along with “A.D.: The Bible Continues,” “The Dovekeepers” and the recent remake of “Ben-Hur.” He and Downey also launched a family- and faith-friendly digital broadcast channel called Light TV (which we reported on here).

People say that Christians aren’t making it big in showbiz, but Burnett proves that isn’t necessarily so.

Of course, his success with faith-based entertainment is built upon decades of producing shows for the mainstream entertainment market. In large part, the credibility he built with shows from “Eco-Challenge” to “Survivor” to “The Apprentice” to “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” and “The Voice” allows Burnett to dabble in Bible tales without damaging his showbiz viability.

In fact, one reason that “A.D.: The Bible Continues” went to NBC instead of History Channel, like “The Bible” miniseries before it, was because NBC was in business with Burnett on “The Voice” and wanted to participate in his new venture.

Last week, entertainment trade publication Variety did an extensive portrait of Burnett, who’s currently president of MGM Television and Digital Group, and managed not to mention a word about his faith-based efforts.

But, it’s worth a read, if only to get a sense of how a former British paratrooper and nanny managed to build a showbiz empire. Read the whole thing here, but below find an excerpt:

Burnett has long been established as one of TV’s most formidable and innovative producers. But his career took a new turn 18 months ago when he was named president of MGM Television and Digital Group, after MGM acquired the remaining 45% interest in Burnett’s United Artists Media Group production venture with Hearst Corp. MGM’s total purchase price for Burnett’s banner was around $600 million.

The executive post at the studio was a surprise to the industry. Burnett had always been the maverick head of his own independent shingle, leaving him free to partner opportunistically with networks and studios as projects arose. Was TV’s ultimate entrepreneurial producer really ready to hang up his cargo shorts and IFB earpiece to sit behind a desk? Perish the thought.

Burnett has adapted the job of running a studio division to his own style, with the encouragement of MGM chairman-CEO Gary Barber. He’s typically in the MGM offices once or twice a week at most. He hasn’t given up his hands-on role as executive producer of NBC’s “The Voice” or ABC’s “Shark Tank,” among other shows. Burnett and his wife, actress-producer Roma Downey, travel frequently in connection with various productions and the couple’s many passion projects. And MGM TV’s president still doesn’t spend much time wearing suits.

Image: Courtesy Kate O’Hare

Visit the Family Theater Productions homepage and Facebook page to learn more about how FTP is reaching out to Hollywood and producing its own projects.