Baristanet Profile: Miranda Ferriss Jones

photo by Jaime Atlas

NameMiranda Ferriss Jones

Where do you live? Montclair!

When did you move there? 2017 we moved from San Francisco where we’d been living for ten years.

Where did you grow up? A teeny rural town: Monkton, Vermont

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion?

I make half of my income as a composer for musical theater and half of my income as an adult vocal and ‘creative life’ coach. (My website!) I also spend much of my time working on my five original musicals, that are all at different stages of development/production. Currently, I’m working with Laura Benanti on creating demos for my song cycle Spiral Bound that was recently performed at the Montclair Art Museum, produced by the Montclair Theater Project. Also, I’m working on The Precipice – an original dark fairytale musical that I spent five years developing in San Francisco with Grateful Dead founding member, Bob Weir and his pianist Jeff Chimenti! 

And of late, I’ve been working with my ‘Activism Girlfriends’- Laura Benanti Brown, Bridget Placek and Marina Miller- to organize around the pro-choice movement. Super excited for our all femme/female/anyone with a uterus dance party on Tuesday, June 7th! I cannot wait to dance and ‘rage out’ with the women of Montclair and am so proud to have already raised $15,000 for Yellowhammer- an organization that provides abortion access to those in the Deep South.

Coffee, tea or … ? Coffee. Coffee forever and ever (until it’s 4pm. Then Tea.)

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? A long morning run around Montclair, a hike at Eagle Rock with my two sons- Will and Leo- and my husband Ben, followed by an afternoon through evening barbeque with good friends and their kiddos.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? Oh man. Marcel is great. Dai Kichi I love. Uncle Momos. Do I have to pick? Also Dino’s chicken soup is a total dark horse!

What’s on your nightstand? My eye mask, my ear plugs, my sleep meds (can you tell I’m not a great sleeper), my journal in the rare occasion that I wake before my kids and get to do morning free write. And my kindle, currently I’m reading On Girlhood- 15 stories from the well-read Black girl library edited together by Glory Edim.

What are you listening to? I’ve been obsessed with Aimee Mann’s songs for an upcoming musical based on the book that inspired ‘Girl Interrupted’. It’s called ‘Queens of the Summer Hotel’. Also, after taking my 3 and 6 YO to see MHS/SVPA’s ‘Urinteown’, we’be been listening to a LOT of that!

What are your current indulgences? Too much kombucha. Coming of age TV dramadies. Overpriced Manuka honey lozenges. Ezekiel bread with truffle salt and kerry gold butter.

What talent you would most like to have? I’d love to be able to play string instruments. Guitar, violin, my favorite- the cello!

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? 

I’ve just gotten involved with MFEE through their Learning Circles on Race and they have had such an impact on my Montclair experience. The learning circles create a safe forum to come together with my neighbors to learn and have open dialogue about the complex issues of race and equity at large and in our town. I was a participant in the workshops earlier this year and now I am excited to be leading one with the SVPA high school community along with Bridget Placek!

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral?

Oh wow. That wherever Miranda was you can be sure that there would be singing, dancing, deep discussions and joyful creativity. Oh and that the shows and music she wrote are having widespread positive impact on the world and giving high school theatre kids songs they love to sing! And that she left behind two kind, happy and healthy children who each have a strong sense of values,  self, and purpose and will live a life with no pain ever…;) 


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