Each year the San Francisco production of “Beach Blanket Babylon,” the world’s longest-running musical revue, awards three scholarships through its Steve Silver Foundation Scholarship for the Arts program to an aspiring singer, dancer and actor. Butler wowed a panel of local celebrity judges with performances of Broadway standards such “I’m Not Afraid of Anything” from “Songs For a New World,” “Mama Who Bore Me” from “Spring Awakening” and “The Phantom of the Opera” from the show of the same name.
“I couldn’t believe it when they flipped the check and I saw my name,” Butler said. “I’m just so grateful. I was either going to UCLA or Boston Conservatory, and the only thing standing in my way of going to Boston was finances. So with this scholarship, I’ll be able to go to my dream school – and I couldn’t be more excited.”
Her role models include “Wicked” stars Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth plus her idol Sutton Foster, who won the award for Leading Role in a Musical at this year’s Tony Awards, celebrating Broadway’s best, for “Anything Goes.” Butler had the chance to meet Foster and was encouraged by how down-to-earth and kind Foster is – sharing tips and tricks about the trade.
Four years at Boston Conservatory is part of Butler’s strategy for following her dreams to Broadway. Once she completes her education, she’d like to move to New York and pursue a career in musical theater. Her dreams of performing on Broadway were inspired by her first taste of musical theater when she performed in Excelsior Middle School’s production of “The Music Man.” That was it for Butler; she’d caught the acting bug. In addition to participating in school productions, Butler also attends workshops and drama camps to better understand the art of live performance.
While some dream of performing on Broadway for fame and fortune, Butler has a different perspective. “Fame is not important to me,” she said. “Musical theater and performing are my passion. I want to be able to connect with an audience and share a story with them each night. That’s what’s special about musical theater. Every night is slightly different than the night before, so each performance is special to each audience. It’s a magical experience.”
The Discovery Bay resident, who leaves for Boston in August, said she can’t imagine doing anything other than performing, so she plans to take her higher education seriously. While she’s excited to join the small and close-knit arts community at Boston Conservatory, she knows the competition will be thick, but she’s looking forward to the challenge.
“I would love to be a part of a Broadway show,” Butler said. “I don’t have to be the lead, but just to be a part of a show like that would be the most amazing thing. I know it’s going to be tough, but I know I can do it. Studying at the Boston Conservatory is going to be demanding mentally and physically, but this is my dream and I’m going to do whatever it takes.”