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How Lorna Courtney went from the "Fame" school to leading Broadway's "& Juliet"

Lorna Courtney in '& Juliet' (Photo credit: Matthew Murphy)

Lorna Courtney is making her Broadway principal debut with "& Juliet" not far from the high school where she cultivated her love of performing.
On the latest episode of "The Broadway Show with Tamsen Fadal," Courtney shared her journey from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts to the title role in "& Juliet."

Courtney, who has been with the production since its Toronto run, told Fadal she didn't realize she'd actually be studying opera at the high school best known for its depiction in the 1980 movie "Fame."

"I thought that I was gonna be studying Max Martin songs!" Courtney said in a nod to the score of her current show.

The supportive environment at the school nurtured Courtney, who went on to graduate from the University of Michigan and appear on Broadway in "Dear Evan Hansen" and the 2020 revival of "West Side Story."

With "& Juliet," Courtney feels grateful to step onstage and connect with her audiences.

"It's so inspiring to be able to have a positive impact on so many people every night, especially young women and girls. A lot of mothers bring their daughters," Courtney said.

The actor has been surprised by some reactions to the musical. She recalled a mother who took her five-year-old daughter to the show and messaged her after to share her gratitude for Courtney's performance.

Courtney said the message specifically noted that "seeing someone who is of mixed race also performing and being the lead" had been meaningful to the mother-daughter pair.

"[Audiences] are touched, and they connect with the characters, the characters who are non-binary" Courtney said. "Our whole cast is so diverse. They see themselves onstage."

This week's episode of "The Broadway Show" also features interviews with the cast of the upcoming Broadway production of "Pictures From Home." Viewers can also hear from the cast of "The Piano Lesson" ahead of their final weeks of performances. Paul Wontorek chats with Justin Collette and Isabella Esler, the leads of the new North American tour of "Beetlejuice." The episode ends with a look inside "Give My Swiss Chards to Broadway: The Broadway Lover's Cookbook" by Adam Roberts and Gideon Glick.

"The Broadway Show with Tamsen Fadal" airs on weekends. Check your local listings for air time and channel.