A wife, a mom, a Victory Belle and now an off-Broadway star, Kate Gulotta made her national debut touring through the United States with the Tony Award-winning piece “An American In Paris.”
Gulotta had the opportunity to play Milo Davenport, a rich American heiress, set in the 1940s post-war Paris with the musical’s 2022 national tour. This time, however, the character had its twist, as Gulotta and the Director, Jeffrey B. Moss, decided to give Davenport a taste of southern mannerisms.
“After we played around with it for a little bit and I interacted with some of my co-stars, we had this realization that she is like this southern, from Texas oil money kind of heiress and I ended up playing her with a southern accent which was fun,” Gulotta said.
Gulotta has been acting for over 15 years and she was thrilled to fulfill her dreams of touring with the Broadway musical, “An American in Paris.” She was a top-three finalist in Stewart/Whitley, Broadway.com, and Chicago the Musical’s “The Search for Roxie!” She also performs as a Victory Belle at the WWII Museum in New Orleans.
The countless hours of rehearsals, choreography, and productions in the past had prepared her to be able to step onto a professional level. Gulotta mentioned that her past experiences helped her feel ready for this role, because she had discipline, learning habits and tactics that she had developed to retain information and show up as prepared as she did.
“Everyone was so talented and professional and prepared, and really easy to work with,” Gulotta said.
The opportunity to become Milo came up in 2021 when her agent emailed her about the role. The show had been canceled due to the pandemic and now they were trying to remount it. However, the girl that originally played Milo, before it was canceled, could not return to form part of the cast for the 2022 tour. Gulotta took a chance and a month later, she was preparing to move to Manhattan to begin preparations for the musical.
“They made me feel so welcomed as if I had been a part of the family the entire time,” Gulotta said.
Being a part of the cast of “An American In Paris” was a unique experience for Gulotta. She got to perform in several historic theatre houses like the Fox Theatre in Detroit and the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Conn. Performing at the Shubert Theatre was special for her because that is where many artistic legends started their career.
“It’s really fascinating to put it into that perspective and think about the places we were able to perform,” Gulotta said.
She mentioned that even though the memories felt blurred together because they happened so fast, one of the most remarkable things for her was that at one of the theatres, their backstage crew was the famous circus family, The Flying Wallendas.
“That was insane, being able to meet them in such a casual way, and have them almost working for us, it was really insane,” Gulotta said.
Being on the road for so long presented many challenges not only for her but for the entire crew; however, it was an incredible experience for them. Even though they flew to some places, towards the end of the tour, they would do what they called one-nighters. Where they would travel by bus, perform in a theatre, and travel to another city the next day. Gulotta expressed that even though the experience was exhausting, there were definitely more good moments than bad ones and that she would do it again if the opportunity presented itself.
They were touring with the show “South Pacific,” and about three weeks until the end of the tour, she was asked to be the understudy for the lead, Nellie Forbush. On the very last week of the tour, they had seven performances of “An American In Paris” within five days, and on the last day of “South Pacific,” the lead actress could not perform because she had COVID-19. Gulotta had to fill in for her, and be Nellie Forbush for the last time. Even though she had taken the understudy position, she had not had the chance to rehearse on stage or with the rest of the crew.
“It really challenged me, and I was able to prove not only to myself but to all my coworkers what I was capable of, so It was a very exhilarating moment and certainly a nice button for the end of the tour,” Gulotta said.
Gulotta also struggled with being a wife and a mom while being on tour. Being away from her family for long periods was something that she had to endure. But they made it work to the best of their abilities; they never went more than a month without seeing each other. Before Gulotta left for the tour, they scheduled trips where her husband and daughter would meet her for three to four days at a time.
“I got really tired of the stigma of, you know reaching itself into the art world of, ‘women can’t have the career they want and be a mom,’ and it’s really important for me to show people, if no one else, other women in the arts, to show them that they can have it all of that’s something that they desire,” Gulotta said.
Apart from showing the rest of the world, Gulotta mentioned that it was extremely important to set the example for her daughter, that she can reach for her wildest dreams and achieve them without allowing anybody to tell her that she can not.
“It was really important to me, to just be able to do something that I’ve always wanted to do, to have that example set for my daughter,” Gulotta said.