Everything’s STILL Coming Up Roses for Hannah…and Now, she’s Legal!!

Posted: May 19, 2011 in Broadway, Culture, Entertainment, Performance, Theater, Theatre, Uncategorized

When your humble writer interviewed budding Broadway starlet Hannah Rose DeFlumeri in May of 2010, she was seventeen years old, just about to graduate from high school, and caused a sensational splash by posting a YouTube video of her performance as Mamma Rose in a school production of Gypsy, in which she proved so stellar that the clip went virtually viral and garnered her impressive national coverage, in Playbill and other publications. Very shortly thereafter, she landed her first professional job, as the backstabbing Vivienne in a national tour of Legally Blonde (the role was created on Broadway by the luminous Kate Shindle). Shucking her plans to attend Ithaca College as a theater major to the somewhat consternation of her family in Connecticut, DeFlumeri set off on a whirlwind journey that took her to theaters throughout the country and naturally managed to cop all the notices in every local paper in the land. Now nineteen, and with the tour having just played its final performance on Sunday the 15th, she’s planning to settle back into normalcy in Newtown while embarking on a round of auditions, and hopefully beginning the first step on the ladder to theatrical success with a move to mighty Manhattan. And, as would be expected, she has a LOT to tell about the last year she’s spent on the road.

ANDREW MARTIN: How did you happen to get cast as Vivienne? Was it a direct result of posting the Mamma Rose clip on YouTube?

HANNAH ROSE deFLUMERI: It was actually Joy Dewing, from Dewing/Clemmons Casting, which was Clemmons Casting at the time. They called me after seeing my videos and asked me to come in. I read and sang for Vivienne before the part was actually offered to me.

AM:  Did you already know the show, and did it make you nervous at all to know that you’d be stepping into a role created by Kate Shindle?

HRdF: I knew the show extremely well, actually. I saw it on Broadway during my freshman year of high school, and fell in love with it. My friends and I listened to the soundtrack on Repeat for years. And of course stepping into any role, that’s been played by someone so iconic, is going to be daunting. But you just have to use it as inspiration. Inspiration to bring something different to the character, and inspiration to make it your own.

AM: How did your folks feel about you bypassing college, to go on the road at such a young age?

HRdF: At first they were wary, as any parents would be. They already had it in their minds that I would be going to Ithaca in the fall. I had a hard time at first, explaining to them what a big deal this was; I don’t think they actually understood it, until they came to see the show for the first time. I remember giving them a backstage tour and seeing the looks on their faces. Like, “Oh, this isn’t just community theater, this is the real deal.”

AM:  Were you nervous about touring? Did your castmates help you to make the transition smoothly? Did you make any friends that you think will be long-lasting?

HRdF: I was really nervous jumping into the project. I didn’t know how I would get along with the cast, given how much older they were than me. I knew I had a lot to prove, being just out of high school; I was literally shaking when I was walking to rehearsal that first day. But I can’t even explain how amazing and welcoming the cast was. And not even just the cast, but the orchestra and the crew. It got to the point where I actually forgot how old I am, or how young I am; I’m an equal in their eyes, which I thoroughly appreciated. I know that I made long-lasting friends on this tour. Just today, I went into the city and met with a bunch of the cast. We lived together for nine months, we spent and shared our lives with each other. We became a family, and spent holidays together, on Halloween, Thanksgiving, New Year’s and Easter.

AM: What were your favorite cities to play? Which audiences did you particularly like?

HRdF: I have three favorite cities. The first is Columbus, Ohio. That was the first time my parents came out, so that’s a fond memory. And the nightlife there was insane. I remember they threw an opening-night party for us, and transported everyone by limo. It was amazing. The second was San Antonio, Texas. Everyone should get there at some point; the Riverwalk is breathtaking, and the food is divine. And, of course, the third is New Haven. I can’t even tell you how amazing those audiences were. After “Legally Blonde: Remix” on closing night, the applause stopped the show. It was the most amazing moment of my life. Oh, and the audiences in Vancouver were amazing as well. I just love when the audience gets involved and vocal. That gives us so much more energy.

AM: Was it ever uncomfortable to get so much press while you were on the road?

HRdF: Not at all, I love getting fan mail and messages, and all that stuff. Because that was me writing all the fan letters not too long ago to people I admire, and it still is, in a lot of ways. I also always made sure I signed up for every talk-back, as well; I remember how much I loved being part of those when I was younger and in the crowd. And I think it’s important to give back to the audience, after they just gave you two-plus hours of their time.

AM: Now that the tour’s over, what happens next for you?

HRdF: Audition, audition, audition. I’ll also be moving to New York in the fall, which I am very excited about!

Excited she may be to be “out here on her own” and needing “one good break.” But it’s those of us sitting expectantly on the sidelines and preparing ourselves to watch Hannah Rose DeFlumeri begin her much-deserved ascent to Broadway stardom alongside such women as Idina Menzel, Kerry Butler and Sutton Foster before her, who will absolutely be the ones at the ready with a much-repeated standing ovation and raucous shouting. Nothing less would be rightfully hers. And so, to her on this evening, all that’s left to say is a resounding “Bravissimma!” and a secure rest in the knowledge that we’ll see her starring on the boards before very long.

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