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Planes, trains and a helicopter: This Cincy actor barely made it to the role of a lifetime on Broadway

Mikayla Renfrow was in the middle of a flight back from Italy when she was called on to star in Disney's 'Aladdin'
Mikayla Renfrow
Posted at 3:58 PM, Sep 20, 2023

NEW YORK — It's a whole new world for a Broadway actress from Cincinnati.

Mikayla Renfrow's journey to the stage was a little different than most. She got her big break earlier this month at 30,000 feet.

Renfrow, an understudy and an ensemble cast member for Disney's "Aladdin" on Broadway, was flying back to the U.S. from a trip to Italy when she got one of the most important messages of her life.

According to theatre publication, Playbill, current lead Sonya Balsara got sick and stage management needed someone to play Princess Jasmine. As an understudy, Renfrow was next in line for the spot. But there was only one problem.

She was high above the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Her flight was scheduled to land at JFK at about 5 p.m. The show was supposed to start at 7 p.m. She knew there was absolutely no way she could land, get through customs and make it through the NYC traffic to get there in time to get into costume.

"I asked my flight attendant if I would be able to get off the plane first and explained," Renfrow wrote in a social media post. "That's when it got crazy."

The Delta crew moved her from economy to the very first seat in first class so that she could try and sleep and get off the plane as fast as she could.

"My angel flight attendant Leisha gave me a giant bottle of water to make sure I stayed hydrated," she said.

She said the captain even came out to meet her and told her that the only way she would make it was if she took a helicopter straight from JFK.

"He told me... he would do everything in his power to get me there on time," she said.

Renfrow said that Delta even changed her gate to get her closer to customs.

After she got off the plane, she had less than 10 minutes to make the chopper flight she had booked. Thankfully, a Delta agent met her and expedited her through customs and before she knew it, she was airborne once again.

"I landed in Manhattan in 7 minutes," she said. That drive would normally take two hours.

"Then I ran to the train from Hudson Yards," she said.

Renfrow said she made it on time and was able to transform into the Disney princess thanks to Delta Airlines and the chopper company, Blade.

"Yes it did happen. I am still reeling from the day and the jet lag," she said.

Leisha even made it to the show, Renfrow said.

"I couldn't have done it without her," she said.

According to Playbill, Leisha came with her suitcase, still wearing her flight attendant uniform. And the show comped her ticket as a way to say thank you.

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