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New Ingenue: Josefina Scaglione

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Josefina Scaglione had never seen West Side Story when Arthur Laurents asked her to audition to play Maria in the upcoming Broadway revival. “I knew the music, of course,” says the 21-year-old actress, who grew up outside of Buenos Aires. And she had theater experience in her native Argentina, having appeared as Amber Von Tussle in the Argentine production of Hairspray. Friends from that production—Federico González del Pino and Fernando Masllorens, literary agents who translate many of the English-language musicals that are produced in Argentina—knew that Laurents was looking for a Spanish-speaking actress and sent him a YouTube video of Scaglione. Laurents asked Scaglione to do an audition tape, and within days, she was flying to New York for an in-person audition. A week after her 21st birthday, she learned she’d gotten the part. “Everything happened so fast,” she recalls from Washington, D.C., where West Side Story is doing an out-of-town run before starting previews at the Palace Theatre on February 23. For this production, Laurents had Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of In the Heights, translate some of the Sharks’ dialogue and songs into Spanish, so it was important to find leads who were truly bilingual. They auditioned actresses for almost a year before they found Scaglione. Producer Kevin McCollum says he was impressed by not only her beauty but also her serene confidence. It’s true that for someone about to make her Broadway debut, Scaglione seems remarkably at ease. “I don’t usually get nervous,” she says. “I know it’s weird.”


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