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Interview: Ashleigh Rubenach And Jeremy Stanford of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at Crown Theatre

Interview: Ashleigh Rubenach And Jeremy Stanford of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at Crown Theatre

Extravagant show is sure to dazzle, say stars.

There is an air of excitement around AN AMERICAN IN PARIS opening in Perth this weekend. There have been challenges posed by the times, on top of the challenges posed by putting on a show famous for its extravagance and intricacy. I caught up with Ashleigh Rubenach, who plays Milo Davenport, and Jeremy Stanford, who plays Monsieur Baurel, to discuss the show and their journey here.

"The show is a celebration of all things beautiful," says Ashleigh Rubenach when asked what the show means. "It celebrates art and culture and life, and it's underpinned by the most wonderful love story. It's so fitting that it's set in Paris because the city is so magical, and the show celebrates everything beautiful about life."

"I have a unique advantage because I've only just joined the company and therefore have been able to see the show as an audience member," says Jeremy Stanford, who has only appeared in four performances so far with the rescheduling of other shows necessitating a cast change. "I really like that it's unashamedly an old-style musical, leaning on many old tropes of musicals but using modern technology to really make it a wonderful visual experience and an excellent all-round show."

There are definite parallels between the two characters, with Milo being the philanthropist who supports the artists throughout the show, and Monsieur Baurel surprising everyone by supporting his son's dreams of being an entertainer. Rubenach and Stanford both identify parallels between themselves and their characters.

"My friends and family keep telling me that Milo is just me with an accent," says Rubenach. "I can definitely see it: Milo and I both love art, fashion, and culture. Finding the parallels with your character so you can bring yourself into it is a joy of being an actor. Then, towards the end of the show Milo becomes more vulnerable and I love adding that humanity when I act."

"Against all odds and against the people around him, Monsieur Baurel supports his son pursuing the arts," says Stanford. "There's a lot of empathy and love there and the desire for his son to fulfil his dreams. I love bringing that love and support in whatever I do, in life and on stage."

Whilst AN AMERICAN IN PARIS is set post World War 2 during the liberation of Paris, it has a certain timelessness. The Gene Kelly film was made in 1951, whilst the musical debuted in 2014. Especially now, there are many parallels with the world.

"There's a sense of the arts being revitalized at the moment, says Jeremy Stanford. "Obviously the world is starting to open up again, and here in Australia we have a government that is paying attention to the arts after it was ignored for the last few years."

"The show is so topical; it tells about the re-emergence of art and culture after the war, and there is definitely a sense of that when we put the show on," says Ashleigh Rubenach. "The arts came back to life so quickly after the war, and it's good to be a part of an arts comeback now. It's a story of people being together and celebrating the things that we love, even if we haven't been able to show that love recently."

"Unfortunately we still see today the pointlessness of war today," adds Jeremy Stanford. "it deprives people of these things that are so important to life. How the different people have been affected by war comes out in small but noticeable ways during the show, and it's heartbreaking to think it's still happening in the world today."

Interview: Ashleigh Rubenach And Jeremy Stanford of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at Crown Theatre
The show is well known for its depth of choreography

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS features a large ensemble and differing talents; the show features ballet, jazz, and theatre dance sequences. Whilst Rubenach and Stanford have both been in many shows before this, they still appreciate the chance to learn new things. "This show strings together people with so many different skillsets, so there's times we operate well within our comfort zones, but still getting challenged to do new things," says Rubenach. "We get to see everyone learning new things, and it gives you the opportunity to develop skills you admire in others, and at the same time they're getting to learn something that may be more within your own wheelhouse."

"The cast have been so welcoming," adds Stanford when considering the cast. "I know how tough it is to lose cast members and bring new ones in, but they've welcomed me with open arms. It helps that my wife Annie was already in the cast, and everyone absolutely adores her. I guess that was my in!"

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS is playing at Crown Theatre until July 24th. Tickets and more information from An American In Paris

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