2021 Disney Television Discovers: Talent Showcase Celebrates Milestone 20th Anniversary With Revolutionized Event, To Debut Wednesday, Dec. 8
Cast Members Perform for Entertainment Industry Professionals Through 10 Short Films
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In honor of its milestone 20th year, ABC Entertainment Talent and Casting will combine its annual New York and Los Angeles Disney Television Discovers: Talent Showcase into one grand virtual event presented through 10 short films on WEDNESDAY, DEC. 8. The supersized production furthers the company’s legacy and commitment to creating opportunities for emerging talent to be discovered, nurtured and celebrated.
In the transformed Talent Showcase production, select artists from coast to coast will perform for notable casting directors, talent agents, managers and exclusive industry professionals. Furthermore, Showcase artists will be paired with executives from ABC Entertainment Casting and other creative departments for the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships and receive continued support throughout their experience through on-camera workshops and other program resources.
“As we celebrate 20 years of Disney Television Discovers, we could not be more proud to be supporting such a talented group of actors with our reenergized Showcase presentation,” said John Villacorta, senior vice president, Talent and Casting, ABC Entertainment. “With an expanded focus on reaching underrepresented groups, this year’s Showcase group is overflowing with potential. I’m excited to witness their careers evolve with the help of our leading team of industry executives.”
“It brings me great joy to see the impact of Disney Television Discovers in the entertainment community,” said Sharon Klein, executive vice president, Casting, Walt Disney Television. “With John and his talented team at the helm for this milestone year in the program’s history, the 2021 Showcase will be nothing short of remarkable.”
The 2021 performers include Guillermo Alonso (El Paso, Texas), Ashley August (Brooklyn, New York), Troy Bond (Naugatuck, Connecticut), Mirella Cardoso (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), Justin Chien (Taipei, Taiwan), Christy Jung-Yun Choi (Puyallup, Washington), Jessica Darrow (Miami, Florida), Chris Davis (Melbourne, Australia), Erica Ikeda (Tokyo, Japan), Theo Iyer (Durban, South Africa), Juliana Joel (Tampa, Florida), Nida Khurshid (Lahore, Pakistan), Raquel McPeek Rodriguez (Los Angeles, California), Ayumi Patterson (New York, New York), Yvonna Pearson (Washington, D.C.), Lys Perez (Los Angeles, California), Kate Pittard (Lynchburg, Virginia), Katie Anvil Rich (Oakland, California), Jude Carl Vincent (Brooklyn, New York) and Jeff Wright (Orlando, Florida).
Actors will perform scenes written by Samantha Clay (Saulsville, West Virginia), Banna Desta (Arlington, Virginia), Filip Jeremic (Toronto, Canada), Darnell Jones (Lansing, Michigan), Disha Manocha (Mumbai, India), Joe McQuillen (New Richmond, Wisconsin), Nandita Shenoy (Buffalo, New York), Brook Sitgraves Turner (Cleveland, Ohio) and Adrian Viña (Edinburg, Texas).
This year’s scenes are directed by Michelle Bossy (Los Angeles, California), Ryan Brown (Brooklyn, New York), Dane Collier (Los Angeles, California), Cynthia Kao (Naperville, Illinois), Stephanie Martin (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Zoey Martinson (Brooklyn, New York), Moise Morancy (Brooklyn, New York), Phillip Rhys (South London, England), Michelle Steffes (Fayetteville, North Carolina) and Bobby Yan (New York, New York).
Executive producers are Sue Hamilton (Los Angeles, California), Richard J. Lee (Los Angeles, California) and Joseph Ward (Woodside, California).
The Disney Television Discovers: Talent Showcase has a rigorous audition and rehearsal process in which ABC Entertainment Casting executives work closely with the actors to put on the annual performance. To date, 47 Talent Showcases have been produced, and ABC Entertainment Casting has mentored over 600 actors.
Now in its 20th year, the Disney Television Discovers: Talent Showcase continues to serve as a launching pad for discovering new talent, including Academy Award® winner Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”), Golden Globe® winner Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, “Black Panther”), Golden Globe® winner Gina Rodriguez (“Jane The Virgin”), Tony Award® winner Ali Stroker (“Oklahoma”), Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian”), Carrie Ann Inaba (“Dancing with the Stars”), Jesse Williams (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Randall Park (“Fresh Off the Boat”), Christina Moses (“A Million Little Things”), Jay Hayden (“Station 19”), Laura Kariuki (“The Wonder Years”), Kirby Howell-Baptiste (“Cruella”, “Killing Eve”), Cornelius Smith Jr. (“Scandal”), Jake Choi (“Single Parents”), Dania Ramirez (“Once Upon a Time”), Alexandra Shipp (“Tick Tick Boom”), Meghan Markle (“Suits”), Jermaine Fowler (“Coming 2 America”), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (“Power”), Brandon P. Bell (“Dear White People”), Alexander Hodge (“Insecure”), Daniella Pineda (“Cowboy Bebop”), DeWanda Wise (“She’s Gotta Have It”), Chrissie Fit (“Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens”), Jorge Garcia (“Hawaii 5-0,” “Lost”) and Kevin Alejandro (“Lucifer”).
Disney Television Discovers is a series of landmark initiatives created by ABC Entertainment Talent and Casting that identify, develop and mentor talent from around the world through programs such as the Talent Showcase, Digital Talent Competition, Global Talent Initiative, Actor Audition Workshop Week and the High School Initiative.
Disney General Entertainment Content’s commitment to discovering and championing diverse talent is shepherded by the Creative Talent Development and Inclusion team (CTDI) at Disney Television Studios. Through sourcing talent for referrals, year-round events, professional development and the industry’s flagship talent programs, CTDI connects writers, producers, directors, crew and more to opportunities across DGE and beyond. Many of the actors selected were submitted through Showcase partners SAG-AFTRA, Actor’s Equity Association and Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, as well as theater companies and organizations throughout the country.