Sarah Shahi welcomes Tony Award-winning Josefina Scaglione to "Fairly Legal," another Broadway Latina showing up on your TV.
Karen Olivo, Raul Esparza, Sara Ramirez, Lana Parilla…the list of incredibly talented Latinos who have made their way from The Great White Way to your flatscreen continues to grow. You can catch a glimpse of one of the most recent (and most beautiful) emigres, Josefina Scaglione, in a recent episode of "Fairly Legal," Sara Shahi's just-completed, light-legal dramedy on the USA Network.
Shahi, of Iranian/Mexican descent herself, shone as the spunky and inspired mediator in the re-invigorated series for two seasons now, and one of its last episodes, "Force Majeure" featured Scaglione, who won the Tony just a few years ago for an amazing performance as Maria in the Broadway revival of "West Side Story."
It's an interesting role, with the usual mixed-up ethnicities: an Argentinian actress playing a renowned Brazilian singer who is framed for drug possession while performing in San Francisco – with Shahi's character and her ex-husband smack in the middle of the mess.
Scaglione, all of 25, has had an interesting life already: Born in Argentina, she spent a summer in the U.S. as a teenager, returned to her native land, performed in live theater, and did a little recording. Veteran stage director Arthur Laurents saw a YouTube video of Scaglione singing "Libertango" and had her flown to New York City to audition for – of all things – the role of Maria in a revival of the Leonard Bernstein musical.
Its first performances were in Washington D.C.; soon it made its way to Broadway; in 2009. She won the Tony for her work. Just like that. (You can still see that original YouTube video here … and understand easily what Laurents saw in her.)
This was Scaglione's first appearance on U.S. episodic TV; you'll see her next in the upcoming theatrical release "Harebrained" with Brendan Fraser, scheduled for release later this year. And "Fairly Legal" was Latino-friendly all season long, with repeated appearances by Esai Morales as the District Attorney and regular additions of Latino actors in guest roles, including appearances by David Barrera, James Martinez, Zak Santiago, Maria J. Cruz and many others.
The nicest thing about "Force Majeure" – besides Shahi's continually charming performance -- is the addition of two songs by Scaglione, at the very beginning and the very end of the episode. A shame neither is complete, but both are lovely. Even if she does pretend to be Brazilian.
You can see "Force Majeure" here. on Hulu.com, where you'll find many of the season's other episodes. Certainly the best investment of an hour that you'll find on most of summer TV. No word yet on the renewal of "Fairly Legal" for a third season, but we'll let you know when we do.