SEATTLE, WA –Keaton Whittaker, the young actress who got her start in professional theater at The 5th Avenue in our 2006 production of White Christmas, is currently in rehearsals for the Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, opening November 24, starring Angela Lansbury and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Whittaker was originally cast in White Christmas after being “scouted” by 5th Avenue staff during a karaoke contest at the Crossroads Mall. After playing the role of Susan Waverly in both the Seattle production of White Christmas and the 5th Avenue production’s tour to Sacramento, Whittaker went on to play Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird at Intiman, young Jane in Civic Light Opera’s Jane Eyre, and a host of other roles in shows at The 5th, including Whistle Down the Wind, Sunday in the Park with George and Shrek The Musical.
Her performance as Young Fiona in Shrek initially impressed the producers and they had plans to take her along to the Broadway run, but as her mother Nancy relates, “the girl who played Young Fiona also had to be able to go on for young Shrek, and by the time we came to the production, she’d grown to where that wasn’t possible.” Fortunately for Keaton, the casting director for Shrek recommended her for the Night Music audition, and another year and a half of growth and experience in Seattle turned out to be a great preparation for her Broadway debut as Fredrika in the Sondheim classic.
Keaton’s experience working at The 5th and other Seattle theaters makes working at Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre surprisingly comfortable. “It doesn’t feel a lot different at all,” she says, though she’s still adjusting to working with not just the cast but the stars. “Angela Lansbury and Catherine Zeta-Jones are actresses I’ve watched my whole life. I can’t believe I’m on the same stage with two people I admire so much.”
Keaton credits her Seattle experience for not only helping her develop her acting and singing skills, but for teaching her focus, discipline, and how to respect her fellow cast members and director. “It’s also taught me that every opportunity you get to audition, you go for it. If you don’t get it, there’s always another show opening somewhere.” And for her friends back in Seattle, she sends her love and gratitude—particularly to Lauren Carlos, who’s playing, with Drea Gordon, the same role in this year’s production of White Christmas that got Keaton her start. “She’s my best friend. So if you can mention just one thing, say this: I love you Lauren. And I’m so proud of you.”
The 5th Avenue’s revival of White Christmas, which sold out three years ago, begins previews on November 28 and opens December 3, running till December 30. Tickets and multi-show subscriptions are available online at 5thavenue.org, over the phone by calling 206-625-1900 / toll-free 888-5TH-4TIX (584-4849), or in person at the box office at 1308 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101.
The 5th Avenue Theatre is Seattle’s premier musical theater. In 1980, the non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre began producing and presenting top-quality live musical theater for the cultural enrichment of the Northwest community. The 5th Avenue Theatre maintains a subscription audience of over 25,000 and an annual attendance of more than 287,000. It ranks among the nation’s largest and most respected musical theater companies. The Theatre is committed to encouraging the next generation of theatergoers through its Educational Outreach Program which includes: The Adventure Musical Theatre Touring Company, The 5th Avenue High School Musical Theatre Awards, the Student Matinee Program and Spotlight Nights. Unique in its Chinese-inspired design, the exquisite theater opened in 1926 as a venue for vaudeville and film. Today, under the leadership of Managing Director Marilynn Sheldon and Producing Artistic Director David Armstrong, The 5th Avenue Theatre continues to achieve the highest standards in all aspects of artistic endeavors and facility operations, while preserving its artistic, architectural and historic legacy. Visit www.5thavenue.org.
Please contact John Longenbaugh, Public Relations Manager, at (206) 625-1418 with questions or to schedule individual interviews.