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Meet Simona Rodano of Incanto Productions in New York City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Simona Rodano.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Simona. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I come from a family of musicians. I believe my mom’s family passed on its passion for music to me. My cousin Felice Reggio is a famous jazz musician. I started singing when I was six years old by performing at amateur singing contests, at school, at the Church or birthday parties. I did my first gigs when I was 16 and became a professional singer at the age of 28.

I have always loved both science and music since I was a little kid. For this reason, I was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in biology yet I also studied music and have always sang. I also learned how to play the piano and guitar. After my graduation, I decided to come to the US to start my Ph.D. at the Valhalla Medical Center, yet I was offered to work for the Italian National network RAI a few months after. “Science or music?” That was the question. I ended up choosing music, hence I came back to Italy to work at the RAI studios in Milan.

I worked as a vocalist at “Ci vediamo on TV” (See you on TV). A very popular and successful variety show which lasted ten years. It was broadcasted on weekdays and during the afternoon. After a few years, I became one of the lead singers of the show. Paolo Limiti, a great art director and tv host, allowed me to live my life while doing what I loved the most: to sing.

I have worked every morning from Monday to Friday for seven years, with the same enthusiasm and joy which arose from having the opportunity of working with music at professional levels. I could sing with a live orchestra, I could study the most famous Italian songs from the 30’s till today, every day. I could meet famous Italian singers and actors, such as Nino Manfredi, Johnny Dorelli, Jula De Palma, Milva, Massimo Ranieri, as well as international artists such as Gina Lollobrigida, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Woopy Goldberg. All of this had an enormous positive impact on my artistic life, moreover, it encouraged me to keep working in the music world. I was first working in TV and then I started with the theatre. There is a huge difference between these two, they are two completely different worlds, yet what they have in common is the performance itself, whether it’s on the screen or on the stage. When I was told I was chosen to play the co-star role of Angela (Geppetto’s closest friend and later on..partner), in the musical written by I Pooh, I just couldn’t believe it. Back then I was in Milan and I was still working on TV. Going from working on TV to performing on a real stage was like discovering a whole new world after ten years. I had new colleagues and I performed in so many theatres all over Italy and abroad. Moreover, working alongside The Pooh has been an incredible honor, and growing experience. Roby, Stefano, Dodi and Red are great artists who shaped the world of the Italian pop music. They have truly loved this musical they wrote, believing in all the performers who took part of and touching the lives of over five hundred thousand people who came to see the show. “Pinocchio Il Grande Musical” has been and will always be the number one Italian musical which resembles Broadway the most.

I have performed in other Italian theatrical productions, such as “The Sound of Music” (Tutti Insieme Appassionatamente) playing the role of Elsa Shroeder. In the USA, I have performed at the Queens Theatre in The Park ( New York) in all the schools and families productions I wrote: “Pinocchio Pop” and “Italian, The Magical World of The Italian Fairy”, “Sempreverde: Evergreen”, “Sette Mondi” and “Caccia Al Tesoro” for middle and high students. Once I went back to the US in 2006, I could grow professionally even more as I started to write songs and scripts of the bilingual shows we were performing. I finally came to know a part of me that had been hidden for a long time, as I was very busy with playing roles or singing songs that were produced by amazing masters, such as The Pooh. I have to say that they inspired me in the production of my songs and shows.

In 2006 I invented a new methodological approach and edutainment program entitled ” LA Fatat Italiana The Italian Fairy® La Fata Italiana which introduces kids and families to the beauty of Italian language and Italian culture with the final target of letting the audience fall in love with Italy and the Italian language. It is a learning-through music and movement program which combines music and dance with the theatre. Since 2006, La Fata Italiana, The Italian Fairy has been performed for over 70,000 people. www.italianfairy.com

I love writing songs and shows. “Italiana” is a musical, which is my personal story told through music at the theatre. I wrote myself some of the songs, such as “Radici e Ali” (Roots and Wings), while many others are songs that have had a strong influence on my life. This is a show that combines comedy, as there are some funny moments, with deep thoughts and deep feelings. “Italiana” is not only my story, yet it is also the story of all those people who, just like me, have crossed the ocean and have been traveling all over the world, without ever forgetting their roots.

I wrote “Sempreverde: Evergreen” Edu-musical in 2012. I wanted to create something that could combine the Italian language with a global issue, such as respect for the environment. I contacted some of my friends and colleagues from Turin (my hometown) who I have been working with for a long time and we started to write songs together. I was mainly working on the lyrics and the melody, while they were working on the arrangements. Subsequently, I came up with the story, characters, scenography, special effects as well as the costumes and objects that could be used within the choreography. “Sempreverde” has exceeded my expectations, I truly love it. I and my team are always working hard to improve it, with the dream that one day we will be able to perform it all over the world. The story of this musical can truly teach you something, it makes you think and it can involve everybody. From the youngest to the oldest, this musical is made for everyone. The trailer of “SEMPREVERDE: EVERGREEN”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCPjit-gYV0

If you are not too far away from the Queens Theatre in NYC, come to see our performance at the theatre. Come to see “Sempreverde: Evergreen” Edu-musical! Make it a group meet-up, a family affair or a special bonding outing. You will leave refreshed and with a renewed love for Italy, its language and culture! Link to the website to get more information and tickets for “SEMPREVERDE: EVERGREEN”

Please tell us about your company.
I have founded my company called Incanto Productions, Corp. in 2008, with the intent to create something that I could not find in NYC: theatre performances whose songs were specifically written with the idea of helping the audience know and fall in love with the Italian language and culture. Everything started after I co-produced and performed “Pinocchio Il Grande Musical” in New York in 2010. Website: www.incantoproductions.com

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
It is a vibrant city. I am very attracted by the filming industry and love LA . I like least the fact that you need to drive most of the time…

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Image Credit:
Loren Scott

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