MIMI WITH HER FAMILY
REBECCA, CHIARA, SANG & EMILY YI
February 20, 2017
Mimi has a pretty good handle on life in her Holmdel neighborhood. A township native, she’s lived there all her life. Nowadays, though, she’s pushing her boundaries of experience in a whole new world, in Eatontown, where she travels most days with her mom, Chiara Yi. Chiara is a co-owner of The Studio on 35, a newly opened atelier, where Mimi also works (with great enthusiasm, albeit somewhat haphazardly). Chiara drives.
The performing artists studio, which debuted June, 2016 has been well received, and with good reason. “Parents of some of the students,” Chiara explains, “they’re like, thank god you opened this place, because now I can come here and get the same quality training that I would in New York without all of that mess.” The mess being expensive travel, expensive parking, expensive classes. “Everybody that we’ve come in contact with, the students, the parents, they’re all grateful we’re here, and very supportive of us and each other,” she says.
Chiara used to schlep her two avid singing-and-acting daughters, Rebecca, now 13, and Emily, now 10 (Mimi, who joined the Yi family just three years ago, has other interests) into the city for professional training. It’s fun but serious stuff. Emily got several audition call-backs for the Broadway musical Annie. This, it turns out, was to start the ball rolling for The Studio on 35. Emily had to learn two songs in a short time, and her regular coach wasn’t available. Chaira’s husband Sang, a local, independent financial advisor, happened to be at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, and was advised to enlist the aid of one Theresa Fowler Pittius.
Theresa teaches voice and has an extensive entertainment repertoire that includes off-Broadway, national touring productions, and film credits; she has also created and run various Monmouth County-based performing arts programs and touring productions. It was a match made in New Jersey.
During this time Chiara and Sang—who both grew up in Matawan—continued to rent out the building they owned in Eatontown at 21 Main Street. That is, until their tenant left. Sang thought they might open some sort of business there for themselves. Chiara and Sang spoke to Theresa, who was excited by the notion of a local “unique and creative” venue, and became the nascent studio’s co-owner and creative director. Renovations were soon underway. A motto was informally adopted: “We’re bringing New York City-style training to the Jersey Shore—at an affordable cost.”
Mimi enjoys her new home-away-from-home, and the students, ranging from ages four to 50-plus, enjoy her. The rambunctious Chihuahua, whom Chiara says serves as a kind of studio mascot, greets everyone as they enter the building (especially Rebecca and Emily), and after making sure all is copacetic, calms down and lies down. Until someone else walks in. “Everyone knows and loves Mimi and calls her by name,” Chiara says.
The studio, which offers private voice/acting classes, Broadway Master Classes, resume building, audition coaching, and more, has grown from a handful of aspiring performers to around 40. They come from as far south as Manahawkin and as far north as Sayerville. “Every day we get phone calls, people signing up for various classes, inquiring,” she says. “It’s really amazing.”
You can see Rebecca and Emily in the Studio on 35's 1st ever showcase productions of OLIVER! & HAIRSPRAY!
Need tickets? Buy online at TheStudioOn35.com, call 732.544.3500, or stop by The Studio in person to order yours this week. 🌟OLIVER: Friday, February 24th @ 6:30pm + Saturday, Feb. 25th @6:00pm 🌟HAIRSPRAY: Friday, February 24th @ 8:30pm + Saturday, Feb. 25th @ 8:00pm Middletown Arts Center 36 Church StreetMiddletown, NJ
THE STUDIO ON 35 • 21 Main St. (Rt. 35), Eatontown • 732.544.3500 • TheStudioOn35.com