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ASU alum returns to ASU Gammage stage for national tour of 'Peter Pan'

Leo Gallegos earned a degree in musical theatre performance; Tempe shows to start June 11

Performers on-stage during "Peter Pan"

From left: Nolan Almeida as Peter Pan, Kenny Ramos as Acoma, Raye Zaragoza as Tiger Lily and the cast of Peter Pan. Courtesy photo

June 05, 2024

Arizona-native Leo Gallegos’ acting career began in the fourth grade, earning himself the role of the baby elephant in “The Jungle Book.”

Now, around 13 years later, Gallegos is performing as a swingA performer who understudies several ensemble roles. for another Disney show, “Peter Pan," on its Broadway national tour. 

Gallegos’ parents immigrated from Hermosillo, Sonora, in the northern part of Mexico, and have always encouraged Gallegos to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities, including Brazilian jiu-jitsu, dancing, choir and much more. Gallegos felt “lucky” to have their support as he went on to attend Dobson High School, where his love for theater continued to blossom as he performed at the 2018 ASU Gammage High School Musical Theatre Awards (HSMTA) and various Phoenix Theatre Company productions. 

Gallegos attended Arizona State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Music in musical theatre performance in 2023 and went on to join the national tour of “Peter Pan” shortly after, which will bring him back to the ASU Gammage stage once again in June. 

“I learned so much from my ASU professors and from Phoenix Theatre Company,” Gallegos said. 

Headshot of Leo Gallegos.
Gallegos' headshot for the national tour of "Peter Pan." Courtesy photo

While the original "Peter Pan” film perpetuated many stereotypes of Native American people, with playwright and ASU Professor of Practice Larissa Fasthorse's rewrite, the harmful depictions were removed, and a contemporary storyline was formed.

In the new storyline, there is a group of Indigenous peoples led by Tiger Lily who individually represent the last members of an extinct culture in the world. They stay in Neverland to preserve their youth to hopefully one day bring their culture back into the real world. 

When Gallegos performs as a swing, he may take on a variety of characters depending on what roles need to be filled; his favorites include Lost Boy members Curly and the twins. But, when Gallegos is not a swing on stage, he performs as a member of the group of Indigenous peoples, wearing a costume inspired by the Olmec people of Mexico. The costume resembles a traditional yellow, orange and red skirt, with a neck piece and wrist bands. As someone who grew up with a lack of Latino representation in the media, Gallegos hopes to be an inspiration for the next generation of Latino children who come to see “Peter Pan."

“('Peter Pan') will inspire people of all races and ethnicities who see the show,” Gallegos said. 

Coming back to his home state and his alma mater, Gallegos looks forward to continuing his theater career and entertaining audiences in the state where it all began. 

“It’s a full circle moment,” Gallegos said. 

The magic of “Peter Pan” comes to ASU Gammage June 11–16. 

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