KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 4, 2020
By Jennifer Miko
Mark your calendars to watch Katy's Savannah May debut in the Netflix original series, Julie and the Phantoms. On September 10, the 20-year-old showcases the well-polished dance moves, vocal talents and confident acting abilities that caught the attention of award-winning director Kenny Ortega.
Savannah May in Julie and the Phantoms; Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
The teen series, Julie and the Phantoms, embodies the formula for success that built the Descendants franchise – talented cast, extravagant musical numbers, romance, and plot twists (some in ghostly forms). Savannah May will appear front and center when the show premieres on Netflix next week. (Scroll down to watch the Julie and the Phantoms trailer.)
From Katy to L.A.
Savannah’s path to stardom began with dance lessons in Katy when she was just four years old. She eventually moved into community theatre and trained at Houston’s Theater Under the Stars (TUTS), Humphrey School of Musical Theater where she trained for over five years to develop her craft.
Savannah and her mother Lori moved to Los Angeles, CA when she was 16 years old. She started building her on-screen resume with appearances in Disney’s Bizaardvark (2016), Nickelodeon’s School of Rock (2017), and two seasons as Buttercup in Nickelodeon’s Knight Squad (2018-19).
Last fall, Savannah starred opposite Denise Richards (The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) in the Lifetime movie The Secret Lives of Cheerleaders. Her dance skills were featured in the show and helped pave the way for future projects.
Auditioning for a Legend
Savannah describes the audition process for Julie and the Phantoms as possibly the craziest process she’s ever been through. For the first level, she read a few scenes and sang a short cut of a song. She was called back the following week for a chemistry read with Madison Reyes who plays Julie.
Savannah read her scenes and sang the audition cut in front of the casting team, producers, the team from Netflix, and director Kenny Ortega (Director of High School Musical, Descendants, pictured with Savannah).
“Towards the end of the song, Kenny began clapping a beat and told me to go into a dance break!” Savannah recalls. “I definitely wasn’t expecting that since they said they wouldn’t need to see me dance. So, I started dancing.”
When she finished dancing and singing another verse of the song, Ortega told her to strike a pose, take in the applause, and give Julie a look.
“I really wanted this role, so to add a little something extra, I decided to strut out of camera,” says Savannah. “I thought, ‘Just go for it. What do you have to lose?’ A couple days later I found out I got the job.”
In Julie and the Phantoms, Savannah admits her character, Carrie, is unlike any she’s played. She describes her as the queen bee of Los Feliz High – the resident “diva mean girl.”