Amra-Faye Wright is no stranger to Broadway. She tells us about the wanderlust that led her into the world and the fascinating life she is living in it. There’s nothing to be said for hard work and talent.
Q: Having started out your career in your home country of South Africa what was it that inspired you to take your career international?
A: It was never just the work. I had such a wanderlust when I was younger. I wanted to see and do and experience everything, and I was fortunate to be in a career with opportunities to travel far and wide. I extended my abilities from Dancer to Singer and Actor and this opened more doors and soon the world become a much smaller place. I put a lot of effort into making it possible (Visas and Attorney’s) to work in the UK and in the USA. These were my priorities as opposed to building a life in one place.
Q: You have performed in many different countries and many different languages around the world. What has the experience been like to witness and perhaps be immersed in so many different cultures?
A: It’s been fascinating to observe how different cultures deal with rehearsal periods, performance ethics and audience reaction. For example, In some cultures, dance rehearsal is a “discussion” between dancers and choreographers and in others, you daren’t make a peep. I have managed to fit in wherever I go by keeping a good sense of humor! and working hard. I remain respectful of cultural idiosyncrasies when I’m working in a foreign land. I always remember that I am a visitor. As a result I have made wonderful and lasting friendships all over the world.
Q: We are all products of our histories. How do you feel your South African origin has influenced your work (if at all) ?
A: South Africa made me who I am, America allows me to be that person. I am still deeply connected to my roots, and as I get older I appreciate and celebrate my South Africaness’. I received excellent training in SA, and a strong work ethic.
Q:What is your favorite moment as Velma Kelly?
A: It changes all the time. Sometimes I go through a period when I come up out of the lift for my entrance and think: “wow!…That’s an entrance!!!” Other times I prefer to just sit in the chair in Act 2 and sing “Class” and not move at all!
Q: In 2010 you made the move to make New York City your home. What was this transition like for you?
A: It felt perfectly natural and awesome at the same time. I had been going back and forth from London to NYC since 2005, and I knew that someday I would just never go back. Of course, I set up the immigration process the minute I got to NYC in 2005. It just seemed to fit like a glove.
Q: Do you have any words of advice for international performers who have hopes of taking their work globally?
A: Yes. If you are going to travel and work, understand where you are going and what’s expected of you. Study the standard of work and rise to the occasion. Then immerse yourself in that culture, experience the food, learn the history, sight-see, understand the cultural differences, be polite, work hard, and be an ambassador for your own country. Understand how things work whether it’s on Broadway or on a cruise ship. Otherwise, stay home!