Andréa Burns is a performer who needs no introduction; she has graced the stage as an actress and singer in shows from IN THE HEIGHTS to ON YOUR FEET!, as well as on television, and in the upcoming WEST SIDE STORY movie.
Right now you can find her on stage at The Old Globe in gardens in THE GARDENS OF ANUNCIA, the original musical from Graciela Daniele about her life and fostering a love of creativity and art during her formative years with her family in Perron’s Argentina. Burns talks about the show, her role, and her lifelong deep appreciation for Daniele’s talent.
Choreographer-director Graciela Daniele has had a remarkable life and has set an amazing example of artistry for future generations to be inspired by. Daniele is renowned for her work in RAGTIME, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND and more. She will even be awarded A Lifetime Achievement Tony Award at the ceremony this year.
Raised by her mother, grandmother, and aunts, Daniele wanted the musical to focus on them, their resilience, and their creativity during the days of Peron’s rule over the country. THE GARDENS OF ANUNCIA is a love letter to the women in Daniele’s family with Andréa Burns as Graciela’s aunt, Tía (Lucia), along with Mary Testa who plays the Grandmother, and Eden Espinosa who plays the Mother.
“I play her aunt who awakens her creativity and encourages her to turn her imagination into stories. She attributes a lot of her choreographing gifts and vision to laying down on the ground with her aunt when she was a little girl and listening to radio programs and imaging stories and pictures. It’s a beautiful role to get to play, and a beautiful person’s shoes and memories to be in. The characters are all specific and beautiful and charged with emotion and we feel it very deeply and we are very excited to share them with the world.”
Burns says that working with Daniele, composer-librettist Michael John LaChiusa, and her fellow castmates is a dream come true.
“Graciela, for me, has been a kind of north star for me creatively since I moved to New York. I went to see ONCE ON THIS ISLAND my first year in NY and fell in love with it so hard. Watching what she did with that show, I loved the core and all of the performers as well, but directorially that piece of theatre-making, I said: ” whoever made this, I want to work with this person”.
Graciela has always been an exquisite theatre-maker and magician in my opinion. And at a time when we are celebrating women in leadership positions, she was a very prominent one in the 90’s – so I’ve been wanting to work with her for decades. For me, this is a dream come true and that it is something so personal to her is a dream. Michael John LaChiusa is another one – I’ve been dying to sing his music for a long time!”
While at its core, the show is about these women and their lives, Burns wanted to specifically praise the talented gentlemen in the cast as well.
“I have to shout out Tally Sessions and Enrique Acevedo who are the two gentlemen in this play who basically play every male entity that we encounter in our lives, for all of the women. They are extraordinary and not only talented men, but clearly so deeply feminist, with love and respect for this story coming from both of them. It’s a delightful working environment.
Because there is such a focus on women I want to make sure I give them their due because they are integral parts of this show.”
Burns says that it has been a “masterclass to be in her rehearsal room each and every day.” The show celebrates art, family, and the talent that is Graciela Daniele.
“The power of family, the power of being raised by an entirely feminine family, it’s very powerful and you get to see these women raising this young girl from 8 – 18 years old and she subsequently becomes a legendary broadway performer and choreographer Graciela Danielle.
It’s very moving to actually see what humble origins she came from and the women who believed in her. This is her tribute to all of them.”
THE GARDENS OF ANUNCIA is a Globe-commissioned world-premiere musical.
Book, music, and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
Directed and co-choreographed by Graciela Daniele
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