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Artist Profile: Caitlin A. Beirne ’25 — From Disney Cruises to Spelling Bees, Caitlin Beirne is Living the Dream

Caitlin Beirne took a gap year to perform aboard Disney Cruise Line's ship, the Disney Wish.
Caitlin Beirne took a gap year to perform aboard Disney Cruise Line's ship, the Disney Wish. By Assma Alrefai
By Gabrielle A. David, Contributing Writer

Ever since sailing on her first Disney Cruise at 16, Caitlin A. Beirne ’25 wanted nothing more than to be one of the performers aboard. Little did she know that right after her sophomore year of college she would get the chance to do just that — and the story is nothing short of spectacular.

Beirne’s love of music started early and was influenced heavily by her father, a member of the military who was deployed for the first five years of her life. Even so, he found the time to share his passion for music with Beirne.

“Whenever he would come back from his trips, we would sing together and watch ‘American Idol’ together,” Beirne said. “The two of us in our family — we have a family of five — loved music and loved performing. Apparently, my parents say I was too shy to actually sing for other people.”

As she continued to sing, Beirne grew out of her shell and eventually her love of theater fell right into place. Beirne joined her elementary school drama club and there was no turning back from there as she fully immersed herself in the performing arts.

“Sixth grade was when I really started being in a rehearsal every day, [being] in theater classes, and singing,” Beirne said.

How Beirne ended up as part of the cast aboard Disney’s ship the Disney Wish, however, sounds like something straight out of a movie: She was scouted while singing karaoke.

“I was singing in karaoke — probably singing ‘Part of Your World’ to be quite honest — and a music director for Disney was walking by, just happened to be walking by,” Beirne said.

The director had heard her singing and proceeded to have a “mini voice lesson” with Beirne.

“We sang together for an hour, through Disney stuff [and some] technique,” Beirne said. “We talked about possibly auditioning in the future and he was optimistic that things might go well. And I said, okay, well, let me try.”

Beirne’s career as a Disney Cruise Line performer seems meant to be, as Beirne just so happened to be in New York the same weekend of the professional audition — her Theater, Dance & Media class was on a trip in the city then. All she had to do was figure out how to stay in the area for one more night and get to the audition the next morning. After a six-week-long audition process, Beirne made it to callbacks and was offered the job in May 2022.

All the pieces were falling into place and Beirne was about to live her dream; however, the process to prepare for the upcoming performances were grueling. To get ship-ready, Beirne spent ten weeks in Toronto rehearsing before finally moving aboard the Disney Wish.

“I lived on a ship for eight and a half months.” Beirne said. “I was performing around 13 to 14 shows a week — and I absolutely loved it. If I could go back tomorrow, I would.”

One of Beirne’s favorite shows to perform was “The Little Mermaid,” in which she played Flounder. This was a full-circle moment for Beirne, whose favorite Disney song is “Part Of Your World”: She had even played Flounder in a production put on by her regional theater when she was in the eighth grade. Not only that, but for her performance on the cruise she learned an entirely new skill — puppeteering.

“I never in my life thought I would get to puppeteer,” Beirne said.

Beyond expanding her repertoire on stage, the time that Beirne spent on the Disney Wish helped her develop her leadership skills. While on the ship, Beirne served as the vocal captain for her team, graduated from the Disney Emerging Leaders Program, and was a Disney trainer. Each of these opportunities provided Beirne with the room to grow as an individual and develop lifelong skills.

Beyond her commitment to musical theater, however, Beirne also participates in the Air Force ROTC and is enrolled in the Harvard-Berklee Dual Degree Program.

“I loved having the experience and also taking things that you learned in theater class and things you learn at Berklee — not just textbooks, but music classes — and then putting it into real life was really exciting to see,” Beirne said.

Beirne’s enthusiasm for new experiences has not waned. At Harvard, she’s just finished a run as Rona Lisa Peretti in the “The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee.” Despite her vast experience as a performer, she continues to find new ways to push herself and explore new arenas.

“I hadn't really played a role like Rona before with as much improv [and the] type of singing was a little bit new to me, not entirely, but not like my most favorite. So it was a challenge, but I really loved the challenge. I felt like I grew so much from that part,” Beirne said.

In a way, Beirne’s character in “The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee” — a nurturing and encouraging host that sees the potential in kids, even as they flounder — is a particularly apt casting that reflects Beirne in real life. One of Beirne’s favorite parts of the Disney Cruise was interacting with kids.

“I love working with children,” Beirne said. “[I am] hoping to inspire younger generations into getting into theater and storytelling. That was one of my favorite parts overall, seeing the faces of little children light up was incredible.”

Beirne has proved that you can do anything you set your mind to and that “dreams really do come true.” Hearing about everything she’s done and the way she sees the world, one cannot help but be infected by her optimism.

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