January 27, 2020

‘Welcome Home’ Star Amy Freinberg On Her Career, Why She Quit Hebrew School

Amy Freinberg; Photo by Dorothy Shi

“Welcome Home” — winner of the “Outstanding Television Program/Series” at the 2019 IndieFest — is a comedy series built on witty, crass humor that falls in line with TV hits like “Modern Family” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

The story revolves around Ron, Justin, and Jen — old high school pals who find themselves living back in their same hometown in upstate New York — and how the trio aims to put their best foot forward to make the most of their life-changing experiences in their home town. Justin (played by series co-creator/producer/writer/director Justin Alvis) is a failed copywriter who’s forced to sell his apartment in Brooklyn and move back with his widowed mother Janet (played by Amy Freinberg). Upon the return to his childhood home, he’s greeted by his shirtless childhood babysitter Jared (played by Greg Aidala), who’s now dating his mother. Justin just wants to get back on his feet and out of his hometown, as well as for Jared to put a damn shirt on.

“Welcome Home” also stars Daniel B. Martin (co-creator/producer/writer/director), Mindy Miner, Bobby Chase (also a co-creator/executive producer/writer/director) and Greg Aidala (series associate producer).

Season 2 of the award-winning show is now available for purchase as a digital download or to stream via Amazon Prime.

I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with the aforementioned Amy Freinberg, who has worked extensively both on-camera and off-camera. Highlights from that interview are below for your reading pleasure.

Jewish Journal: How would you describe Welcome Home to someone who hasn’t seen it yet?

Amy Freinberg: I’d say, “‘Welcome Home’ is a brash comedy about three 30ish entitled ‘kids’ who move back home with their parents and hysterically sort of suck at life.”

JJ: Before being cast in “Welcome Home,” had you worked with anyone in the cast or crew before? Or was it a traditional audition for you?

AF: Before working on “Welcome Home,” I’d not worked with anyone on the cast. This was a traditional audition. I remember being in Pilates class that morning and sharing with my instructor that I was heading to an audition for the role of a “MILF” and we had quite the laugh about that. In real life, I’m on the quiet side.

JJ: So how much of Janet is there in Amy Freinberg?

AF: There’s more of Janet in me than I thought! We share some of the same sensibilities about life. For example, we both think that it’s easier to ignore nonsense than confront it. We both care deeply about our sons and want to see them succeed. We both like real estate. And we both enjoy yoga. Although when I do yoga, everyone is dressed.

JJ: When in Season 1 did you find out that there was going to be a Season 2?

AF: At the end of Season 1 I found out that there was most likely going to be a Season 2. Bobby worked really hard to get the series seen, and everyone was delighted at the response.

Amy Freinberg as Janet in “Welcome Home.” Photo courtesy of AJ Henderson

JJ: Are there already rumblings of a third season for the show?

AF: It’s a rumor!

JJ: Welcome Home aside, what is coming up for you?

AF: Besides “Welcome Home,” I’m producing a docudrama called “Who Killed Hazel Drew.” It’s the story of a beautiful young woman who was killed in upstate New York in 1906. Her killer was never found, and her ghost story became the inspiration for “Twin Peaks.”

I’m very fortunate -— I love to work with crew on projects as well as on-camera roles, and I think that flexibility helps me stay busy and creative.

JJ: Beyond working as an actress, you have done well as a television and a model. Do you identify most with one of those titles?

AF: I love being on-camera— hosting, interviewing, acting. It’s all such fun. But I’m also a seasoned stylist, which means I help others prepare for their time on camera as well. Being part of this process is a challenge and a joy! I recently wardrobed over 100 extras for an immigration movie. What a thrill!

JJ: Were you bat mitzvahed? And if so, was there a theme?

AF: I was a rebel. Two weeks before my Bat Mitzvah, I stopped going to Sunday school. The kids were mean and I didn’t feel close to God there. It took me some time to recover from this, but in this recovery, my spirituality grew.

My great-grandfather founded a synagogue in Hudson, NY in the late 1800s and I think of Judaism’s role in my family with pride and reverence. When my son lights the Chanukah candles, I’m just filled with pride. Side note: Why are there so many spellings of Chanukah?

JJ: Finally, Amy, any last words for the kids?

AF: I’d like to share the words my Dad shared with me at the end of his life: “You gotta make the life you want. Be happy.”

“Welcome Home” can be found on Amazon.

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