While actress and dancer Melanie Moore can’t get enough of Paris, she is looking forward to spending the next 16 months in the United States playing Scout in the national tour of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” “I’m so excited to see parts of the country that I’ve never seen before,” said Moore, 30, in a phone call from Buffalo, where the show is in rehearsals before the tour kicks off at the Boston Opera House April 5-17. After winning the eighth season of the reality TV competition “So You Think You Can Dance” when she was just 19, Moore went on to perform in television and onstage — including in three Broadway musicals: “Finding Neverland” (she originated the role of Peter Pan), “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “Hello Dolly!” Re-reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” after 15 years, Moore said she was awestruck not only by author Harper Lee’s “ability to create such a vivid world,” but by the story of Tom Robinson, a Black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. “I found it so relevant. If you change some of the details, that could be a story ripped from today’s headlines, [which is] so deeply sad.” She lauded Aaron Sorkin, who adapted the book to this stage production, for “giving bigger voices” to Robinson and to Calpurnia [the Finch family’s Black housekeeper]. “It’s not the movie and it also isn’t the book. … It’s based off of [them] and I think people are going to be surprised,” said the Marietta, Ga., native. “There is so much joy and so much laughter, and then there’s also so much heartbreak and I think we still have so much to learn from this story.” We caught up with Moore, who lives in New York City with her boyfriend, fellow actor Roe Hartrampf (who recently played Prince Charles in the Broadway musical “Diana: The Musical,” a performance of which streams on Netflix) and their mini golden doodle, Pippa, to talk about all things travel.
Favorite vacation destination? Paris because I have a passion for pastry and shopping. Plus, how can you beat spending time in the most romantic city in the world?
Favorite food or drink while vacationing? Pretty much anything carb-ous. I don’t think that’s a word, but you get it. I have a wheat allergy, so I can’t have any wheat here in the US. But when I go to Paris, I can eat wheat and it doesn’t bother my stomach because the wheat there isn’t processed the same way –– they don’t use GMOs [genetically modified organisms] to process their wheat. It’s such a freeing feeling. Truly, when I’m there, I walk around with a croissant and two baguettes in my bag at all times.
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Where would you like to travel to but haven’t? I have so many places I want to travel to but haven’t yet. The top of my list are Peru and Italy. Peru for the ruins, the hiking, the history, nature — all of it. Italy for the food, the wine, and the culture.
One item you can’t leave home without when traveling? I rarely go places without my dog, Pippa. While I’m touring though, and I know this may sound crazy, but I’m traveling with my Breville espresso machine so I can make my perfect oat cappuccino every morning.
Aisle or window? Window. I have some mild flight anxiety so seeing out the window helps me relax on a flight. Well, that and a gin and tonic.
Favorite childhood travel memory? My mom drove my sister and me down the [Pacific Coast Highway] from San Francisco to LA in a Chrysler Sebring convertible — I’ll never forget it — on a vacation from school, when I was 12. My sister and I had just lost our father and it was our first time in California on this big adventure, and it was a big bonding moment for the three of us. It was so special and after such loss, brought so much joy to all of us.
Guilty pleasure when traveling? Shopping. Vacation feels like a special occasion and I can easily convince myself that I have to have something — or lots of somethings — to remember the trip by.
Best travel tip? Plan a trip that you want to go on that actually sounds fun to you. I feel like we all see these cool influencer people traveling and going on big adventures, so when I go on vacation, I always feel tempted to go to Instagram-able places and be active — but sometimes what I actually need and want is rest and quiet. A vacation could be a trip to a hotel in your own city or a trip to the Maldives, but at the end of it, you should feel energized — not exhausted and like you’ve created a whole bunch of content for Instagram.