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.”
“It was a major change from what I’m used to playing but it was a challenge that I was ready for!” says Savannah.
Savannah May, center, in Julie and the Phantoms; Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
But the series does check off Savannah’s favorite boxes with “high energy dance numbers, catchy lyrics and fabulous costumes.” Plus, working with Ortega.
“Kenny is the kind of director every actor dreams of working with,” says Savannah. “You can tell just by watching him work on set that he has such a passion for what he does and wants everyone to love what they’re doing. With that kind of infectious energy on set, you can’t help but have a blast creating the beautiful world that is Julie and The Phantoms.”
The series was filmed in Vancouver, Canada and surrounding areas, and production wrapped up in December. The cast album will be released on September 10, and Savannah will be featured on two tracks.
Watch Party in Katy
In addition to Savannah's Texas family members, she has devoted friends and fans cheering for her in the Lone Star state. Tara Romero and her daughters Katie (16) and Mandy (18), of Katy, have been watching Savannah perform for more than a decade. The TV will surely be on at their house on September 10 for their friend’s Netflix premiere.
Pictured: Savannah May and Mandy Romero; Photo: Colt Melrose Photography
“I noticed Savannah's talent the first time I saw her,” says Tara Romero. “Savannah just had this way about her that caught your eye and you couldn't take your eyes off of her when she was performing. She was an absolute natural and her love of performing would always shine bright.”
“Watching Savannah grow over the years as an artist has made me prouder than I can even describe, says Mandy Romero. “I am filled with joy to see how successful she has become and how much she's grown.”
“She was born to perform, and even though she is a natural, she is the hardest working, most driven person I've ever met,” says Tara Romero. “She always had an amazing work ethic, far beyond her years.”
The Romeros hope Netflix will release Julie and the Phantoms at midnight so they can stay up all night and have a family watch party.
(Pictured left to right: Katie Romero, Savannah May, and Mandy Romero.)
“I can't wait to see one of my best friends, my second sister, and the most talented person I know perform in such an amazing production,” says Katie Romero, a junior at Paetow High School.
“We will definitely be binge watching at midnight...and then probably watch the whole season again the next day,” says Tara Romero.
As for Savannah, where will she be for the premiere of Julie and the Phantoms?
“I’ll just be at home with my family, in my pajamas, binge watching the series,” says Savannah. “It’s going to be very chill, but that’s honestly perfect for me!”
Check Out the trailer for Julie and the Phantoms.