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Sarasota Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010 9 years ago

BACK TO SCHOOL 2010: The Diva: Breanna O'Keefe

by: Stephanie Hannum Managing Editor

The term, “diva,” isn’t something 9-year-old Breanna O’Keefe has really heard before, but she has all the qualities to become a superstar, and, in all the good ways, a diva.

The fifth-grader has attended Julie Rohr Academy since she was 2 years old. She has loved performing for as long as she can remember.

“I got into it when I was little and it grew on me,” says O’Keefe. “My favorite thing is the applause. I just love it. It makes me feel so good inside.”

The dynamic actress, singer and dancer garnered her biggest part to date when she nabbed the role of Gracie Shinn in “The Music Man.” Normally, the younger kids are not allowed to audition for the bigger parts at Julie Rohr, but an exception was made for her talents. Although only required to rehearse once a week, O’Keefe watched every single rehearsal.

“I went to all the rehearsals because I always wondered how they were going to do different things and what the cues would be,” says O’Keefe. “Watching taught me how to do things better, and I was allowed to fill in if someone wasn’t there.”

Her eyes twinkle when she talks about her dream job of performing in “Wicked” on Broadway. O’Keefe will be performing its title song, “Defying Gravity,” when she auditions for her school’s big talent show.

“I can do the high notes at the end even without my instructors,” says O’Keefe. “After a year with Mr. Barry at the Players Theatre, my voice went from a thumbs up to a double thumbs up by the end of the year.”

O’Keefe is the only theatrical one of the family and she likes it that way.

“I’m the performer; nobody takes that away from me.”

My favorite part of school was this year because I got third place in the Tropicana speech contest, where I talked about my school, I was the runner-up in fourth-grade spelling bee and got a lead role in ‘The Music Man.’

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