Urylee Leonardos: First Black Performer to Understudy for a Latina Role in a Broadway Production

0 Posted by - March 4, 2022 - Black First, Black History, History, LATEST POSTS

Urylee Leonardos was an American vocalist and actress who appeared frequently on Broadway. She has the distinction of being the first black performer to understudy and go on for a Latina in a Broadway production.

Leonardos was born in Charleston, South Carolina on May 14, 1910. Her first big break came in 1943 when she was cast in the musical Carmen Jones. She was first cast in a small role but took over the lead in the 1946 revival of the production.

Leonardos filled in for Yma Sumac as Princess Najla in the 1951 production, Flahooley. It was the first time that a black performer stepped into a role played by a Latina on Broadway. She also played the female lead in the 1953 revival of Porgy and Bess. Urylee Leonardos died on April 25, 1986, in New York, she was 67.




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