Disney hires theatre student

A Florida A&M University student has been cast in a main role in the popular live production of “High School Musical 2” at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

Antwuan Roper, 23, a senior performance theater student from Avon Park, is postponing his graduation to pursue his dream of being in the musical production.

Roper found the opportunity while searching the Internet for internships.He discovered an open casting call for the Disney World production of “High School Musical 2.” His asked professors about the opportunity and theater professor Marcie Stringer helped him get his portfolio together. Stringer was also featured in the Lifetime network movie “The Fantasia Barrino Story.”

“I really just went for the experience,” Roper said.

By Jan. 23 he received a call from the hiring manager, who extended an offer to play a main role in the Disney World live production.

Roper’s contract is until Sept. 20, and in August his contract will be up for renewal. Roper said he plans to return to FAMU in the fall to finish his degree.

Because of FAMU, Roper has had the opportunity to perform in various on-stage plays in Tallahassee. During the summer of 2007, he played one of the lead roles in “One Summer’s Island.” Also on campus, as part of the Essential Theater he had roles in “My Emperor’s New Clothes” and “Jitney.”

Although Roper decided to postpone his graduation, his decision is supported by all of his family friends and professors.

Aaron McKinney, 27, a senior performance theater student from Greenville, S.C., said he supports Roper’s decision to pursue his acting career.

“This experience is going to boost his acting career, and I know he is going to represent FAMU well,” McKinney said.

Even though he will be using his real name for his on-stage character, Roper will be playing the same role as Corbin Bleu from the “High School Musical 2” Disney Channel original movie.

Ciara Butler, 23, a senior technical theater student from Tallahassee, and a friend of Roper, said this experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“I am very proud of him,” she said. “I think this will be a great experience. Opportunities like this one don’t come very often.”

Roper said his ultimate goal is to have a role on Broadway.

“I would love to work on “The Color Purple,” “Hairspray” or a musical production of “The Wiz,” “Roper said.

Disney offers various opportunities and only the future knows what it holds, Roper concluded.