Madison Reyes (born June 25, 2004) is an American actress. She portrays Julie Molina.
Madison Reyes is born to Ricardo and Maggie Reyes. She is Puerto Rican American. Reyes is originally from Brooklyn, New York. At the age of 10, she and her family moved to Pennsylvania. Reyes has one younger sister.
She attended Arts Academy Charter Middle School as well as Lehigh Charter High School of the Arts. However, she only attended for one year as a freshman at the latter school before she auditioned for the role of Julie Molina and began homeschooling. Julie and the Phantoms is Reyes’ first debut role on television, and her first experience ever being on camera.
It was because of an email from her theatre teacher informing the school’s theatre program of the Netflix auditions and the fact that Julie Molina was a 15 year old Latina, that Reyes was prompted to submit her audition tape. She also has numerous times cited her desire to be a part of greater Latino representation in media for younger girls, specifically for her younger sister. Reyes performed “She Used to Be Mine,” a ballad from the Broadway musical “Waitress.” Director of Julie and the Phantoms, Kenny Ortega, talks about her unconventional audition tape:
“She learned all the lines, everybody’s,” Ortega said. “Everybody that was in her scene, she learned all their lines, not just hers. She didn’t recite them, but she stood there as if she was hearing them. I’m watching a girl talking to ghosts in front of her, and she’s having a relationship and a rapport with air.. She’s 14 years old [and] she starts singing a ballad from the Broadway musical, Waitress. And the goosebumps went up my entire body. And I was like, ‘This is the girl to beat.
During the audition process in Los Angeles, Reyes was matched with different people, and was eventually matched with Owen Joyner, Jeremy Shada and Charlie Gillespie (who plays Alex, Reggie, Luke respectively). Towards the end of the audition process, the four were amongst the 35 hopeful finalists for the main roles.
During the six weeks of musical boot camp before filming, Reyes and Gillespie wrote “Perfect Harmony,” drawing inspiration from the Gabriella [Vanessa Hudgens] and Troy’s [Zac Efron] moment on the rooftop in High School Musical. Known only to the pair as well as Joyner and Shada, Reyes and Gillespie would work on the song in between rehearsals. With Gillespie on acoustic guitar, the pair performed the song to Ortega, their music team and the show runners (Dan Cross and David Hoge) who loved it and took it to the studio to get it approved to feature in the show. Originally, the scene would have consisted of a background track the production team would have had to develop, and likely would have been shorter than the one in the show.