Leimert Park arts center auditions princesses and frogs for South LA production

Director Brandon Rainey sat behind a piano in a practice room at the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center — a nonprofit in Leimert Park that provides free music and arts classes — and asked the 11-year-old girl standing in front of him to yell. Aiyana Lopez-Spaari responded with a shriek. Aiyana is one of many girls who are auditioning for the part of Princess Tiana in Rainey’s live-musical adaptation of the Disney film, “The Princess and the Frog.”

The idea of putting the first Disney film to have a Black princess on a stage in an area known as an enclave of Black culture in Los Angeles originated with a conversation between Rainey and Fernando Pullum, the nonprofit’s founder, late last year.

After working with high school students on productions such as “The Lion King” and “Dreamgirls,” they both wanted to work with elementary and middle-school-age children.

“We wanted to give back to the younger generation with the production,” said Rainey. “It’s a reminder to little girls across the community that they’re princesses and they can have dreams and standards too.”

See also on Intersections: Leimert Park’s World Stage fights eviction

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