More than ten thousand kilometers from Buenos Aires, in Madrid, Franco Yan makes his way as an artist in the world of musicals demonstrating that the passion it carries in its DNA knows no geography or distance. The eldest son of Romina Yan, and nephew of Cris Morena and Gustavo Yankelevich, has the goal of making a name for himself, looking ahead but without forgetting his roots.
At 22, Franco has just made his debut in The bridges of Madisona musical mega-production that is presented at the EDP theater, on Madrid’s Gran Vía (the equivalent of Corrientes Avenue in Buenos Aires), where it shares the cast with the Spanish Nina and with Geronimo Rauch, also Argentinian like the director Alberto Negrín. There Franco plays Michael, the son of the protagonist.
“I have a very strong bond with this character, I feel like it fell on me at just the right time, it came like a glove. I find it comfortable to do, fluid, it’s like the character has been waiting for me And now the time has come”, he says in a telephone conversation from Madrid. “Sometimes, out of anxiety, you want to play a character, but it is better to have certain experiences first to get closer”.
a prepared boy
Before settling in the Spanish capital, called from this job, Franco was in London studying acting for four years. But his vocation comes from childhood, and even before he was born, through family inheritance. “I’ve never doubted that I wanted to go into this, I’m sure it’s something that is carried in DNA, no doubt. Also, through my family, I’ve always been connected to the profession.”
Is that, on the maternal side, the Yankelevich family has been synonymous with show business ever since his great-grandfather Jaime, his great-grandfather Samuel, pioneers of Argentine radio and television; his grandfather Gustavo, producer, and his mother, Romina, who died in 2010 when Franco was just 10 years old. However, it is always present as inescapable and protective company. His father is Dario Giordano.
And, of course, his grandmother is Cris Morena, another point of reference in Argentine show business.
“At 8, I had a breakwhere I really realized that I wanted to indulge in this while being in the backyard with my mother, reviewing plays and songs,” she recalls. The creative process only heightened her desire to be on stage.
This is why Franco at the age of 17, as soon as he finished high school, decided to move to London. “I’ve always wanted to go to study there, because it seems to me that’s where the best actors and actresses are and also because of the impressive theater tradition they have. I wanted to have that experience,” he explains.
After inquiring in various places, they advised him to study at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, a prestigious (and demanding) school through which dozens of British interpreters such as Judi Dench, Kit Harrington Y Martin Freemannamong many others.
With a little help from beyond
It was four years of intense discipline, added to the difficulty of doing it in another language. But all that experience, along with training him, is where she felt the maternal presenceas an almost supernatural protection and aid.
“The auditions to be selected at the school are huge. From the beginning, 80 people filter and 15 stay,” he says. “Even more as a foreigner, because although you speak English, the level is very high and it doesn’t often happen that you are accepted”.
And he tells how he passed those tests in order to continue studying. “In one of the final auditions, I felt something special, that I was in my seat and as I sang I had a very strong feeling, as if there was someone else singing with me,” she says. “I did it a cappella and in Spanish.” And they accepted it. “It was like something of fate. Without a doubt, I think it was my mother who protected me.”
Now wait until December 7 to go to London to seek the master’s degree and then return to Madrid to continue with the duties of The bridges of Madison. “London is a beautiful city but it’s not so easy to settle in, so when this opportunity presented itself in Madrid, I loved it. There’s a more familiar atmosphere here,” she says.
The memory of Vive Ro
Even if, for now, this project keeps him in Spain, Franco says he feels like a nomad and His ideal would be to work in different cities of the world. “Of course I always go back to Buenos Aires, because it’s my home, it’s where I have family, friends and I love it.”
According to his account, there was only one more emotional experience than the one he experiences every night in the current performances of The bridges... and that’s what went through the Gran Rex, in Buenos Aires, in 2018, when the family decided to pay homage to Romina on her birthday and organized the show Live Ro which, moreover, was for the benefit of the Sí Foundation.
That time, in addition to the participation of various artists, Franco and his brothers, Valentín and Azul, took to the stage to sing and pay tribute to their mother“It was one of the most impressive sensations I’ve had on stage,” he says.
That tribute wasn’t the only one. For Frank, Bearing the same artistic surname as your mother is also one of the many ways to have it always present. “It’s like having a medal of honor and it couldn’t be otherwise. Everything I do is a tribute to her,” he says.
“In the 1990s, when they asked her to change her last name, Yankelevich stood up. She didn’t want to change it and only agreed to shorten it,” she says. “For me it’s like a legacy to use the same stage name.”
Franco Yan considers himself a perfectionist, but also with a long way to go to continue learning and gaining experience. “Theatre is the most magical thing that exists, the stage is a temple and the truth is that it is transformative,” he points out.
And with that feeling he now lives the services in Madrid. “What you feel is impressive. Doing this show, which is a love story that runs through all of us and in such a beautiful theatre, is very emotional. Above all, feeling the energy that circulates between the artists and the audience and sharing That joy, for me, is a gift”, he underlines.
And he adds: “I’ve wanted to do this since I was a child, but I’ve been preparing a lot for four years, that’s why I feel that this project is a turning point, a first big step in my career. When I go on stage, I walk with great confidence and joy, I enjoy it a lot”.
The love story he proposes The bridges of Madison is a 1992 novel that also had its film version, with Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwoodin 1995. The film won several awards, including an Academy Award for Actress.
According to Franco, “it’s a timeless love story and because it’s musical, it elevates it to a higher level of emotion. My character starts at 16, but as the play progresses, he grows and reaches 40, with whom he has many conflicts and allows me to develop many facets. I am also extremely grateful to have shared with such wonderful actors and actresses.”
For Franco, the actor’s job requires great powers of observation. “I have always been very curious and it is essential to add experiences to form your identity. I also have a lot of imagination, another characteristic that seems important to me for the profession.”
The actor is convinced that, without art, nothing would be the same. “There are many people who are dedicated to other things, but they like acting, music and I think all human beings need art. In one way or another it is a code that we all share, because it makes us well, even more so now that it’s sweeping through the world.”
While enjoying these first steps in his career, Franco prepares to go in search of his official acting diploma at the London school, accompanied by part of his family. “Fortunately there is no service that day and that’s why I can go. Also, my graduation coincides with my grandfather’s birthday, who is delighted with this coincidence,” he says.
These alleged “coincidences” for Franco mean something much deeper, in which he agrees with his grandfather. “I truly believe in energies and how things happen and why they happen a certain way,” he says. “The Universe is sending you messages all the time, and you have to be open to learning how to interpret them.”