SeFija!’s Own Santana Dempsey Makes the Cut: She’s Part of the 2013 ABC Television Casting Project

Santana Dempsey
©2013 Angela María Ortíz S.

Every year, ABC puts together a talent showcase of Hollywood’s best and brightest. This year more than 7,000 applied…and Santana is one of 20 who made it (with four other Latinos in the mix as well)

We may be a little partisan about it, but we’ve known all along that Santana Dempsey, who’s been part of the SeFija! family for more than a year, was something special. The only surprise is it took ABC a couple of years to catch up to us. But they’re finally on board: Santana is part of the 2013 Casting Project that “identifies/develops culturally and ethnically diverse talent and actors with disabilities by hosting a talent showcase each year.” It’s not an easy process. This year, more than 7,000 actors applied, and more than 1,500 actually got auditions. What’s more, the audition/callback process took months to complete. In past years, too, the network has chosen only a handful of finalists for the showcase, so this year, when the last 20 finalists were summoned for one more callback, they all thought this was the final cut: down to a dozen or less who would actually be on stage.

They had a surprise coming. The competition in 2013 was so fierce and the finalists so talented that ABC/Disney simply gave up…and made space for all twenty.

Santana isn’t the only Latino to make the cut. Jaina Lee Ortiz, Nathan Owens, Rene Rosado, and Tiffany Solano will be in the showcase as well. For the next few weeks, Santana and her team will work with writers and directors on one-act vignettes that will be performed live for casting director, talent managers and other industry professionals at a prestigious invitation-only event at the El Portal Theater in late October.

Jorge Garcia

Gina Rodriguez

And make no mistake: this is a big deal. Not only did it take a strong portfolio and weeks of work, including a grueling 7-hour audition that was only one in a series of difficult and often ‘cold’ reads, it now requires weeks of daily rehearsals and preparation to get ready for the Big Night.

But it’s paid off for others. In the past, Jorge Garcia of Lost, Carrie Inaba of Dancing with the Stars, and Santana’s good friend Gina Rodriguez of Filly Brown all had their big break with this program. “As a direct result of the Casting Project,” ABC tells us, “90% of our showcase actors have either auditioned for, or were cast as, a series regular, recurring or guest role on primetime and/or daytime television, as well as being cast in film and commercial roles.”

Santana, of course, is overjoyed at the opportunity. “I am so excited and grateful to be part of the ABC Talent Showcase,” she told us. “It is a huge honor. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to work with my number one target network. Let the fun begin!”

We’ll be checking in regularly with Santana as the process continues…but congrats to her and her fellow Latino actors for making the final cut…and thanks to ABC for getting behind such an important program.