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How Are We Coping With Self Isolation: Insight From Around the Country With Joan Ryan

How Are We Coping With Self Isolation: Insight From Around the Country With Joan Ryan

After doing the series on the residents of Manhattan Plaza, I felt there was something we were not addressing. Being confined to your apartment in New York is different than California, Florida, Texas or anywhere else in the US.

I wanted to offer hope, shared camaraderie and insight into how to make your day just a little bit better.

First up is actress, singer, producer and mom, Joan Ryan, who has been dividing her time between LA and New York. Joan created the role of “Tina Pallodrino,” in the long running hit series Saved By The Bell”  and has performed across the country in Little Shop of HorrorsJoseph and The Amazing Technicolor DreamcoatFootlooseNunsenseAngry HousewivesTriumph of LoveNite Club Confidential, and the West Coast premiere of Stephen Sondheim’s Anyone Can Whistle. In New York she has performed at Carnegie Hall, Feinstein’s/ 54 Below, Birdland, The Green Room 42 and more.

T2C asked Joan the following questions.

Hailey Mills and Joan Ryan

T2C: How are you dealing with home containment in LA?

Joan Ryan: I go through a lot of emotions. At the beginning it was great, because I was so grateful to have made it to LA in the nick of time right before everything closed down. I had been flying back and forth every two to three weeks, so the first couple weeks were about resting and recharging, being with my family and cleaning out a lot of drawers. But now that we are going on five weeks, I find it really important to create some kind of structure every day. I miss my New York life so much, but I know there will come a time when we will be back.

Joan Ryan and Carol Burnett

T2C: What would you say is the difference of being in self lockdown between NY and LA?

Joan Ryan: First and foremost, my family is here. And secondly, there is also a lot more room! When I go stir crazy I can get in the car and drive or just sit in our backyard. We have a pool, so instead of going to the gym, I can swim and that seems to keep me somewhat sane!

Joan and her two daughters Kelsey Rose Rootenberg and Callie

T2C: What have you been able to accomplish in this time.

Joan Ryan: It’s funny…some days I’m extremely motivated and I get so much done. I’ve updated my website, begun editing the videos of my last two shows and worked on my YouTube channel. But other days, I feel like I need to get in bed, watch movies, eat Sugar Pops and lose myself in Facebook and Instagram.

Faith Prince, Kerry Butler and Joan Ryan

T2C:  What has this time stopped you from accomplishing?   

Joan Ryan: I had just begun  working on a new series that was being developed in New York and it was put on hold. 

Joan Ryan

T2C: What kind of emotions does this time bringing out of you?

Joan Ryan: I feel like I am on a rollercoaster. My emotions go up and down. If I am busy and distracted, I am ok. But when I think of the hardship and loss that so many are feeling, and when I am missing the rest of my family and my friends, I  am so sad. Not to mention, the fear of the virus itself. So yes…I am definitely on a roller coaster of emotions.

T2C: If you were to equate this time to a song or song cycle what would it be? 

Joan Ryan: David Friedman’s song, “We Can Be Kind.” There is so much discord in our country right now, but there is also so, so much good…we are helping each other and we will get through this. 

Jason Alexander and Joan Ryan

T2C: What message would you like to give the world right now?

Joan Ryan: Please stay home. Be smart, be kind and and listen to the scientists. Also, many people are really alone and isolated. Reach out and call them…it makes such a difference.

Fran Drescher and Joan Ryan

T2C: What is the first thing you will do when we are no longer self quarantined?

Joan Ryan: Come right back to New York!

Joan in Saved By The Bell

T2C: What are the things that are getting you through this time?

Joan Ryan: Being with my family, working on my new show and being creative. Also, for me, having structure really helps. Zooming with friends and family, for sure! Oh, and Sugar Pops.

T2C: What haven’t we asked you that you would like to say?

Joan Ryan: You know, I actually ask myself a lot of questions…questions like: who do I want to be at the end of this time? Where can I be of service and truly make a difference? What do I want to accomplish? And I think the answer is that there is truly no right answer. Anything that gives you peace and joy is really ok. For the first time, I am trying to focus on the present and not worry about what’s next. Because, we really don’t know what’s next…Except to do our best to be safe and to take care of each other and ourselves. 


Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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