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Local musical theater students talk diversity and representation

Posted at 9:26 PM, Jul 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 21:28:20-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.  — Students training at the Broadway Artists Intensive at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach are stepping into the spotlight.

For 3 weeks around 50 students train with some of the best in musical theatre.

“I was 12 years old and I made my Broadway debut in Finding Neverland,” Casey Butler said.

The program focuses on acting, singing, and dance. But Co-founder Jackie Bayne Gillman says they’re also learning a lesson on representation.

“I will always tell my students, whether they are male or female no matter what race, what ethnicity that you should be the best you, you can be,” she said.

Giuliana Sarcone says seeing more diversity in Hollywood has given her more confidence when auditioning for roles.

This week there were reports of Lashana Lynch being cast as the new 007 in the James Bond franchise. It would be the first first time the role was played by a black woman. Also, Halle Bailey an African American woman was cast as Aerial in the live remake of the Little Mermaid.

“We did Legally Blonde most recently and the role I was going after, I went for the role of Serena who is traditionally played by a white woman on Broadway like from the original cast and I auditioned and I got the role,” Giuliana Sarcone said. “I was also able to put a little more of my culture there so that younger Hispanic girls that were in the audience would be able to see my little Spanish flair.”

This week she and others had the opportunity to audition for Dan LoBuono a casting director at Walt Disney World.

“One of our prime focuses is we want our guests to come in and see themselves in all of our characters no matter what they look like or how they sound,” LoBuono told WPTV.

“It’s about telling the story as best as you can and when you tell the story as effectively as possible it will get across and I think Hollywood is starting to realize that,” Casey Butler said.