By Alexa Sadowski, Sports Editor (with assistance from Logan Dziadzio, Opinions Editor)
The annual Leading Ladies Luncheon, which is attended by the junior class and leading women of the community, serves as an opportunity for juniors to network with and learn about strong women in their community. Broadway actress Kerry Butler was the keynote speaker of this year’s luncheon, which was held on May 21 at Eagle Oaks Country Club in Farmingdale.
Butler, who is currently playing Barbara in the Tony-nominated musical “Beetlejuice,” has also starred in “Beauty and the Beast,” “Hairspray,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Xanadu,” “Rock of Ages,” “Catch Me if You Can,” “The Best Man,” “Disaster” and “Mean Girls.” In addition to her Broadway career, Butler has appeared in the shows “30 Rock,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “One Life to Live,” “Gilmore Girls” and “Sesame Street.” She also released an album in 2008 called “Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust.”
In her speech, Butler talked of how her strong faith helped her through the struggles in becoming a Broadway actress. Butler attended an all-girls Catholic high school, Fontbonne Hall Academy, and discussed the Christian values she learned there that she still carries with her today. Through her stories of stories of perseverance, she advised her audience to learn from rejection and not let it hold power over them. She discussed the significance of signs in her life and how signs from God have helped her make decisions, specifically about her marriage and the adoption of her daughter.
Butler also believes that the roles she has played have helped her to grow in ways she needed to at the time. “I get each part for a reason. Every character I have played has taught me something new or the importance of something. When I played Belle I realized I should read more. I researched Hillary Clinton and learned about her life, which made me more involved in world issues,” Butler said.
Along with receiving inspiration from Butler, the junior class was able to learn from other women about their careers. The juniors talked with CEOs, nurses and non-profit starters, and learned about discrimination in the workforce, rejection, college and interview tips.
“It was awe-inspiring to have the opportunity to interact with people who shared my interests and values and made a career out of them,” junior Maggie Hough said. “These women are leaders and innovators in their perspective field, and are simply amazing.”