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Interview: Isabella Iannelli of ON YOUR FEET! at The Muny

12-Year Old Actor to Play Young Gloria in ON YOUR FEET at The Muny

Interview: Isabella Iannelli of ON YOUR FEET! at The Muny

12-year-old Isabella Iannelli will be making her Muny debut playing Young Gloria in the upcoming production of On Your Feet! based on the story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan. Isabella has starred on Broadway opposite Marisa Tomei in Tennessee William's The Rose Tattoo. She was a featured dancer in the Lin Manuel Miranda movie In the Heights. Isabella has had extensive dance training since the age of 3. She dances every style of dance. She also works with a vocal coach weekly. This incredibly articulate pre-teen sat down with BroadwayWorld to discuss her Muny debut and how she is navigating her young career.

Isabella talked about how exciting she is to be back on the stage after the 16-month shut down due to COVID. She discussed how organized everything is at The Muny and understands why actors call it a magical place. "I'm very excited to play an icon who never gave up on her dreams at this iconic theater," Isabella said. Previously, the largest audience she has played to was 770 people. Now the young singer, dancer, and actor will be performing for an audience of 11,000.

"My favorite scene in On Your Feet! is the "Tradicion" scene because everyone in the cast seems to be doing it as a big family," she beamed. Isabella went on to explain that in this scene she gets to do all three things, sing, dance, and act. She also mentioned that her favorite song in the show is "Coming Out of the Dark" because of the recent dark and scary times with COVID. Her awareness of the effect of the pandemic on the arts and people in general illustrate that her maturity is well beyond her young age.

Her awareness of the effects of the pandemic resulted in her starting a fundraising effort called Smile Behind the Masks for the non-profit organization No Kid Hungry. She conveyed that is was hard to see people's emotions during the pandemic with everyone wearing masks. Her thought was if she could help provide food for hungry children during the pandemic it would result in people feeling positive and smiling behind their masks. She exceeded her goal of raising $10,000 to help feed children without food.

Isabella made her Broadway debut at the age of ten. Her stint in The Rose Tattoo was a limited run so she had the opportunity to work full cycle from opening to closing the show. She was honored and grateful to work with a great cast. Isabella explained that Marisa Tomei was like a mother to her and gave her great advice to always remain humble.

While working on Broadway, Isabella stayed in school full-time while doing eight shows each week. Isabella said, "I wanted to be present with my friends and stay in school." She would leave school early and take the train, about 20-min, into Manhattan on Wednesdays for the matinee performance.

During the production of the film version of In the Heights she had the opportunity to meet Lin Manuel Miranda and Anthony Ramos. She talked about what a great experience it was to work with them. Isabella explained that Miranda and Ramos also illustrated great care and showed respect to every member of the cast and crew involved during the filming of the movie, a lesson she has learned from the artists that she has worked with on productions.

Isabella wants to use her performances to influence and inspire people to follow their dreams. She also has big dreams. As she grows up, Isabella wants to continue her career in the arts and study at Harvard. Her philosophy is to stay positive and work toward your goals. Isabella believes people should do what they love and have fun doing it.

Isabella said she has had a great time since stepping on the rehearsal stage at The Muny. "The Muny is a magical place," she continued, "This cast is impeccably talented, nice and kind."

The Muny will present On Your Feet!, sponsored by BMO, August 21 - 27, 2021. Tickets for On Your Feet! can be purchased at metrotix.com or by visiting The Muny box office in Forest Park. For more information visit muny.org.




From This Author - James Lindhorst

Jim Lindhorst has been a theater enthusiast for nearly 5-decades. He was bitten by the theater bug as a young teen while sitting in the last row of the upper balcony to see the first national tour of... (read more about this author)


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