BWW Interview: Emily Ferranti of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS Talks Taking Gershwin's Beautiful Music Across The Country

BWW Interview: Emily Ferranti of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS Talks Taking Gershwin's Beautiful Music Across The CountryBroadway's Tony Award winning hit "An American in Paris" is dancing its way into Schenectady this week as the musical's first national tour will begin previews at Proctors Theatre this Friday. With a score composed from some of George and Ira Gershwin's most famous tunes, the show follows Jerry Mulligan, an American soldier who decides to stay in Paris following World War II. He soon finds himself not only entangled in the country's luxurious culture and art, but in a love triangle that may lead him to his soul mate. Among the talented cast gathered for the production are Garen Scribner, Sara Etsy, Etai Benson, Ryan Steele, and Emily Ferranti who steps into the role of Milo Davenport. Ferranti was kind enough to speak with us last week in midst of her hectic rehearsal schedule about her excitement to be working on this production.

BroadwayWorld: What about "An American in Paris" drew you to want to be a part of this production?

Ferranti: "It's just such a gorgeous show! When I saw it on Broadway in previews a couple of years ago, I was just really taken with the story telling through dance and the ballet really spoke to me. And I thought using the Gershwin song books was really clever and smart. I think it's just a beautiful show and so much fun to be a part of.

BroadwayWorld: You previously performed with the national tour and Broadway companies of "Wicked," which is a significantly different show from "An American in Paris." What challenges did you face stepping into the role of Milo Davenport?

Ferranti: "It was definitely challenging in a different and exciting way. Unlike "Wicked," which is a fictional story, Milo Davenport is inspired by the woman Peggy Guggenheim, so that was kind of fun. I've been researching that time period, the 1940s, World War II, the art scene, and the French culture back then. So it was kind of fun that I got to do a lot more research this time and base [my portrayal] off of people who actually existed during that time period."

BroadwayWorld: The show is also told largely through ballet and dance. Did that present any challenges to you or other members of the cast?

Ferranti: "The unique thing about it is that everyone is slightly out of their comfort zone because a lot of the dancers come from ballet companies or dance companies and here they are now singing on stage, so that's kind of cool. Some of us actors are doing some dancing with some of these amazing professional dancers which is a little intimating at first, but everyone is kind of out of their comfort zone, so we are all in it together."

BroadwayWorld: What has it been like getting to work with the amazing creative team and cast, including director and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, who received a Tony Award for his work on the show?

Ferranti: "It's kind of a dream. Everyone is spectacular: everyone is so unique, even in the ensemble. All of the dancers have their own unique style. Christopher Wheeldon is incredible: he's such an amazing director and choreographer and he's just a great, fun guy to be around as well, so it's been such a joy to work with him. And our associate director and choreographer Dontee Kiehn has been so helpful and really good at guiding us to finding our own way at approaching the characters and allowing us to make our own decisions that reflect who we are."

BroadwayWorld: Why do you think people should come and see "An American in Paris?"

Ferranti: "It's a truly beautiful story that reflects a time in our history which is really interesting and eye opening. It's a great show to escape to if you just want a night away. You fall in love with these characters and this story and you get swept away by this beautiful Gershwin music."

For more information visit www.proctors.org or www.anamericaninparisbroadway.com.

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