Stories & Cast Interviews

Friday, November 1, 2019

Deanna Doyle 'S Wonderful In An American I Paris

Posted by: Pia Haas on Friday, November 1, 2019 at 5:00:00 pm Comments (0)

As a child, I grew up in Brooklyn. My extended family is all from Kansas City, but my mother moved my sister and I to Brooklyn so that she could pursue dance and musical theatre. My sister and I also got involved in performing, and I've been doing musicals, plays, and commercials since I was three years old. 

We come from a long line of performers, starting with my great-great aunts who had a sister act in vaudeville, so dance and performing is sort of the family trade! I studied tap and jazz from my mother and then studied ballet at the School of American Ballet.
 
I grew up watching mostly black and white movies and a lot of movie musicals. Ginger Rogers was my absolute favorite and I remember, even at a very young age, feeling rather sad when I would watch her films because I felt like I had been born in the wrong era. My other on-screen idols growing up were Vera-Ellen, Cyd Charisse, Leslie Caron, Katharine Hepburn, and Judy Garland. 
 
Also watching my mother perform was my main inspiration. Watching her rehearse and do shows like 42nd Street and Bye Bye Birdie made me want to be onstage, and seeing photos of her playing Cinderella and Alice in Alice in Wonderland made me think that she was just magical. I just really wanted to be a part of that magical world. 
 
My mother also took us to a lot of live performances--concerts, musicals, and ballets. I was always very much in love with the beauty of the ballet world. I couldn't wait to get into my first pair of pointe shoes. Because my mother taught dance, she had a bunch of books about teaching ballet and I would read and re-read the pointe section, studying the pictures and preparing for the year that I was finally old enough to wear pointe shoes.
 

An American in Paris was certainly one of the movies I grew up watching. Gene Kelly was a hero in my family, so I knew all his movies.

I think it’s great to see that theaters are doing shows based on these old movie musicals. It makes me feel like maybe I wasn’t born in the wrong era, after all! 

I love the scene/song with Henri during Act II where Jerry and Milo are having a simultaneous scene. It’s my favorite because it is so real and vulnerable and true to life. I think we can identify with the characters, in this case Lise and Henri, caring about each other so much but perhaps not being right for each other. Those difficult moments—the ones where we see layers of feelings and complications—are always my favorite to do as an actor and to watch as an audience member because it shows the complexity of life.     

I grew up loving Oklahoma, South Pacific, 42nd Street. I was obsessed with Julie Andrews in Sound of Music and Leslie Ann Warren in Cinderella. Sometimes it seems like I have too long of a list of dream roles and other times I feel like I just want to be surprised!
I’m a huge fan of classic musicals so I would love to do another Rodgers and Hammerstein musical soon. I also would love to do a play, like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner or Barefoot in the Park. I think my mom would love it if I would eventually used my tap background, haha. And my niece’s favorite Disney Princess is Ariel, so I fantasize about doing a production of The Little Mermaid just so that my niece thinks I’m really cool.

I like doing roles/shows that people think are overdone or irrelevant for the challenge of bringing something new to the role. I think that that can be just as rewarding as doing a new show. 
 
When not on stage, I enjoy so many things! I love to cook, bake, knit, paint, read, and write. I recently finished writing a first draft of a novel, which has always been a goal of mine.
 
I have a lot of jazz standards. Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller, and Frank Sinatra are some of my favorites and George Gershwin has always been at the absolute top of my list. I also have ballet class music on my phone that I use to warm up before a show. And all of Mumford and Sons albums are on my phone, as well!
 
 
Deanna Doyle's great-great aunts
 
 

Ian Knauer as M. Baurel in An American In Paris

Posted by: Pia Haas on Friday, November 1, 2019 at 4:15:00 pm Comments (0)
I grew up in Toledo, Ohio.  My American father owned a truck parts and accessories store and my British mother is a physical therapist.  They both enjoyed going to the theatre so from a very early age I saw all of the national tours that came through town.  I started singing and playing the piano very early as well and I would sing in the church choirs.  I remember loving singing in front of people.  And when I was around ten my church choir director suggested I audition for a local Equity dinner theatre's production of The Sound of Music.  I believe 500 children auditioned for the show!  I got it and performed in the show for around nine months.  That began my love for performing on stage and the people working in the theatre!
 
I remember seeing the movie of An American in Paris a long time ago and loving it.  Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron were just so remarkable.  Then I had friends who were part of the musical from when it went to Paris through to Broadway so I got to "experience" the show through their eyes as they went through the process.  I loved the show when I finally got to see it on Broadway and I hoped that one day I would get to play Monsieur Baurel.  I enjoy it when movies are made into musicals and vice versa when they find another element of the story to tell - when they use that particular medium to make the story and the characters vital and fresh.  Movies and stage are very different experiences for an audience and if they are used to their advantage - the audience gets to experience a familiar story in a new way.
 
One of my favorite moments in the show is the ballet audition near the beginning of the show.  I really love the piece of music that is played - Prelude 2 - and I love watching the ladies and especially Deanna Doyle dance.  Richard Stafford has choreographed a beautiful moment.
My favorite shows are She Loves Me and On The Twentieth Century. I really enjoy traveling and having different cultural experiences around the world.  I love eating amazing food.  And I love spending time with friends and family.

Meet Erika Amato as Mme Baurel In An American In Paris

Posted by: Pia Haas on Friday, November 1, 2019 at 4:00:00 pm Comments (0)

I was born in Plainfield, NJ and grew up an only child in the neighboring town of Mountainside. I attended a private girls' school in Summit, NJ called Kent Place School, and then went to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, where I was a drama major. I moved to LA right after college, where I did some TV and film acting and fronted a successful indie rock band called Velvet Chain before circling back around to theatre and moving back to the NY metropolitan area about 10 years ago.

I've wanted to be an actor since I was very little. I started acting in school plays in kindergarten and never stopped. I was heavily influenced by Katharine Hepburn when I was young, and then later I became quite enamored with Meryl Streep and Maggie Smith, as well as Gary Oldman and Ed Harris. My greatest mentor was my drama teacher, Robert Pridham, who cast me in roles as diverse as the Mother Superior in AGNES OF GOD and Eva Peron in EVITA. He also gave me my first professional acting job at age 17 - in a production of TO GILLIAN ON HER 37TH BIRTHDAY. He continued to support me and see me in as many shows as possible until his untimely death from brain cancer a couple of years ago.

I've known the movie, An American In Paris, since I was little, being both a huge fan of Gene Kelly and the Gershwins. (And Leslie Caron, too!) I saw the original Broadway production, as well. The plot of the stage adaptation differs quite a bit from the film, but it retains a lot of the magic that made the movie a classic.

My favorite scene in the show is when my character, Madame Baurel, finally drops her facade for a moment and shares a sincere moment of warmth and connection with her son, Henri, after his performance at the nightclub. I'm sure it's not anything most audiences even register, but it's the fulfillment of my character arc, and that's why it's my favorite.

I've been fortunate enough to play a few of my dream roles already - the Witch in INTO THE WOODS, Reno in ANYTHING GOES, Maria in THE SOUND OF MUSIC, to name a few - but I would really love to play Diana in NEXT TO NORMAL, Mama Rose in GYPSY, or Margaret in THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA.

I watch a lot of movies, read books, hang out with my husband, and play with our dog. I also ADORE going to the beach, but obviously that's just a seasonal thing.

Believe it or not, I have quite a bit of Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, Arlen, etc. on my playlist. A lot of Great American Songbook stuff, sung by Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn, Bing Crosby and the like. As for pop/rock, I mostly listen to the old stuff. David Bowie, the Police, the Cure, Tears for Fears...a lot of New Wave from the 80s. Grunge from the 90s. I've loved Radiohead since forever. As for newer bands, I think the 1975 and Cage the Elephant are pretty good. And of course my own band, Velvet Chain. We put out 5 albums between 1995 and 2004.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Tommaso Antico Takes the stage in An American in Paris

Posted by: Pia Haas on Thursday, October 31, 2019 at 11:00:00 am Comments (1)

I grew up in a small town called New Baltimore, MI. One of those “if you blink, you’ll miss it” towns. I grew up with a family of 6 and we all worked in our dad's Italian bakery. I was never good at hard labor and knew there was more in store for me that didn’t involve making bread.

I never wanted to be an actor. I wanted to be a conductor for the orchestra (I was a huge band nerd.). But in high school, I joined the drama department (because my sister did) and I got bit by the theatre bug. So, I changed gears and pursued musical theatre cause it incorporated music and theatre.  

To be honest, it wasn’t until I got cast in this role that I learned that An American In Paris was a movie first. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. I then started my research and watched the original movie and the Broadway show. Movies being made into musicals are S’wonderful and I hope it’s a tradition that continues to inspire and educate future generations. 

Lately, I’ve really been enjoying my scene with Henri in the second act. The writing is informative but emotional, and it challenges me as an actor to just listen, be present, and respond. 

Waitress and Beautiful are two shows I truly adore. I’m attracted to honest real-life stories with contemporary music. I’m itching to see Hadestown. Something tells me that may be added to my favorites. 

I have a few side hustle/hobbies that inspire my artistic brain. Before this show, I had a residency playing my guitar and singing for this high-end hotel on governors island called Collective Retreat. I also love Interior design, yoga and all things, dogs. 

My music taste is all of the place. I love all genres and it all depends on my mood but I guess my go-to is anything emotional/singer-songwriter. Sara Bareilles and Jason Mraz are a huge go-to. In the dressing room, Brandon and I like to play anything from Beyoncé to Motown.