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How ‘Book of Mormon’ and ‘Sex Lives of College Girls’ star Alyah Chanelle Scott is changing Broadway from behind the scenes

The actor’s experiences on stage and screen compelled Scott to become a producer, as one half of Runyonland Productions.

Alyah Chanelle Scott (Credit: Kevin V. Doan)

The first time Alyah Chanelle Scott saw a live musical, she felt…angry. It was her freshman year of high school, she sat in the auditorium watching “Footloose.” But what raised her ire wasn’t the idea of the characters onstage being forbidden from dancing. In fact, in the moment, Scott wasn’t sure why she was mad. Then she realized: “I’m sad that I’m not there — that I am not doing it.”

“I’m like, ‘How are you guys doing this without me?’” Scott told Broadway News. Her reaction was simply a reflex from being left out — not from just this one show, but an entire world. Because until Scott saw “Footloose,” she didn’t realize musical theater existed.

Growing up in Houston, Scott wasn’t exposed to the arts at home. “My parents are just such serious people,” Scott said. “They’re not artsy in the slightest.” Even so, from a young age, Scott loved singing and dancing. 

“My grandma tells this story that I love,” Scott recalled. “As a kid, at family gatherings, I’d be like, ‘Grandma, do you want me to sing you a song right now?’And she’d be like, ‘Okay, sure.’ And I’m like, ‘Well, see, the problem is it costs $5. If you have $5, it can happen.’ And I would just negotiate getting paid to sing.”

Scott was savvy, even then, but she also had no other outlet. While there had been arts programs in her school system, Scott remembered, “Every year that I got older and would move to a new school, they would cut the program.” It wasn’t until her first year of high school that the theater program survived long enough for her to be a part of it.

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