DIVA TALK: Catching Up With Pippin Star, Two-Time Tony Nominee Charlotte d'Amboise

By Andrew Gans
24 May 2013

Mann and d'Amboise on opening night
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Question: Since you have kids, what went into your decision about whether to take the parts?
D’Amboise A lot. Terry and I have kids now, they’re nine and ten, and pretty much it's always been one of us working at a time doing eight shows a week. A couple of times we’ve overlapped, but usually it’s been one of us. And then one other time we did have a bit of an overlap, and we took the kids out of school and brought them with us, but that was an out-of-town thing. We’ve never had this kind of problem where we knew if we took this, it could be a year of eight shows a week. But I feel like the kids are old enough now. If they were younger, I would have a harder time, but because they’re older now, they can be okay going to sleep without us putting them to sleep. So I think the timing is okay. But, otherwise, I think it’s difficult because they just want you there all the time. And we’re there – we're there in the mornings, and then we're there in the afternoon to pick them up from school. And, they live with us: All they want to do is come hang out at the theatre with us, so on the weekends they’re with us, Saturday and Sunday. And then in the summer they’ll be on our schedule. They’ll come hang with us at night and then we’ll put them in bed. I just believe in them being with us as much as we can have them. We took them out of school for Cambridge for two months, and they had the time of their life. I worried about doing that, and I’m so glad we did because, to me, it was such a growing time for them in a really amazing way. Truthfully, I think all of it’s great for the kids. They see us working, and they get to hang out with musical theatre people – what could be better than that?

Question: What was the original rehearsal process like in Cambridge, combining the acrobatics into the show?
D’Amboise: The whole process was, I have to say, a very slow process, even though it moved. Diane works in a very collaborative way. Everybody’s kind of throwing ideas up, including actors and dancers, and Chet [Walker] and Gypsy [Snider] and Diane and Nancy Harrington. Everybody, literally, even the person working at the theatre, is throwing ideas out. [Laughs.] Diane sees what sticks. She listens to everybody, and it slowly molds into something. She starts to mold it, and it was that kind of a process, step by step. And they knew they wanted it to be seamless, that part of it, the dancing and the acrobats, and that just took time of slowly building a number. We did a little workshop of it in Cambridge for a month. We went up there in the summer for a month, and that’s the first time they really saw it was going to work, it had possibilities. But they also saw we’re really going to have to work hard at collaborating these two worlds. And a lot of their work was just trying to make that happen, which I think they did very successfully. But it wasn’t like, "Oh my God, one day it just happened, or this is what did it." It was a process of us all working together. Really, that's what it was. It was us all getting to know each other and understanding who we are, and giving each other room, and making it one family, and then it just happened. And the out-of-town thing – I swear, shows that don’t go out of town, I don’t understand how they do it. It just makes such a difference to go out of town and work in front of an audience. To have that is so great because that’s how you grow, performing in front of an audience, and seeing what works and what doesn’t. And, Diane works through the whole process. We rehearsed the whole time we were there in Cambridge. But what else are you going to do in Cambridge — we loved it! And the kids were with us, and it was so fabulous. It was like a vacation to tell you the truth. We had a ball, and it was a really fun time in Cambridge creating this beautiful show.