Kaileen Barreto, the Performer


Carolina Tortorelli

Kaileen Barreto singing at Coffee House

The stage, the script, the singing. For sophomore Kaileen Barreto, theatre is a lot more than just a hobby. It’s where her closest friends are. It’s where she can be her happiest self. It’s her home.  Performing has been Barreto’s passion from a young age, and ever since her very first play, theatre has never left her heart.

Her journey started with the role of Maria on the show “Sound of Music” when she was only eight. Since then, Barreto has been part of multiple classic plays, such as “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Addams Family,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” and the more recent ones “Junkie” and “Godspell.”

She is now on her fifth season at the Acting Studio of Lutz, where she started when she was ten. “Everything that’s happened in the last five years I would never change. This [theatre] is just my happy place. It made me discover what I want to be, how I want to do it. They’ve helped me along the way, and I think that’s something you can never really repay,” Barreto said. “Just having fun upstage with your friends. That’s the best way to do theatre.”

She is currently working on her first rep show, which is done outside of classes to raise funds, called “Very Potter,” with the role of Cho Chang. “Kaileen was this shy little thing” Jonah Watson, oldest son of the Acting studio’s owners said. “I’ve seen her grow as a performer and as a person. She has learned how to talk to people and now she understands that theatre is about being with other people and connecting with others, instead of being the best of the best,” Watson said.

He commented on how Barreto grew and developed from a very self-critical girl, insecure about her singing, into a confident and talented performer. “She has grown as a vocalist exponentially, and as an actress, she is one of our best high schoolers,” Watson said.

Last summer, Barreto went to a summer intensive in New York City, where she performed in front of a Broadway industry panel and got to experience a little bit of her dream future. “I got to see a lot of cool shows and also to talk one-on-one with people that I look up to in the business,” Barreto explained.

She was inspired by her friend, Keira Osborne, who shares the same theatre dreams as Barreto. “It was really cool bringing Kaileen with me to the intensive because she had never been to New York, and it was fun to show her around and have her be apart of what I like to experience every summer,” Osborne said. “Now it’s going to become our tradition.” The two of them along with their other friend, Milana Mays, departed from Florida to New York City for a week full of dancing, singing and performing.

“I would wake up at 7am, and after eating breakfast with Keira and getting ready, we would go up to the roof to sing and warmup while looking at the sun rising in New York City,” Barreto said. “I had an acting, dancing and singing class for each day of the intense training for the showcase on the last day.”

Kaileen Barreto’s experience at the intensive was only a sneak peak of what she dreams of her future. Her goal is to professionally perform in the Big Apple. “I really want to live in New York one day. My plan is to get my theatre BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts), and from there do what I love for a living,” Barreto said.