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Theater SRQ&A: Shelley Whiteside

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  • | 1:21 p.m. March 18, 2015
  • Arts + Culture
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Opening tonight at the Players Theatre is the area premiere of the Tony Award-winning musical, "Catch Me If You Can."

This Broadway hit, which runs through April 4, is based on the story of real-life con man Frank Abignale Jr. — you might've caught the 2002 film of the same title staring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.

The Sarasota production is directed by Dewayne Barrett and features top area talent, including James Alexander Hyde as Frank and Kenneth Rapczynski as Henratty.

Between you and me, what's certainly not to be missed will be a bevy of beautiful chorus girls playing both the flight attendants and nurses.

Also not to be missed is Shelley Whiteside in the role of Carol Strong.

Whiteside has graced local stages since 2007, when she first appeared at the Players Theatre in "Miss Saigon." Since then, she’s been in nearly 20 shows, ranging from the cute chorine to more character and leading roles. Some of her more memorable recent roles include Martha in “White Christmas,” Elsa in “The Sound of Music” and Grace in “Annie.”

We caught up with Whiteside to discuss her love for theater, her biggest performance fears and her theatrical bucket list.

Describe yourself in five words or less.  

Strong, passionate, boisterous, loving and sassy.

When did you first know you wanted to be in the performing arts?

In kindergarten, I was cast as the wicked witch in “Hansel and Gretel’s Christmas Dream.” I was hooked.

What's been your favorite part about your local arts career?

Being able to meet so many new people, who have become like family to me. Theatre is magic! I love the level of talented performers we have. I’ve learned so much by being able to work with them.

How do you warm up before a performance?

I sing in my car on my way to the theater.

What's your day job?

I'm the marketing coordinator at Michael Saunders & Company.


What hobbies do you have outside of theater?

I love to shop. Anything that has to do with being a girl is fun for me: makeup, hair, nails, clothes —  I missed my true calling and should've been a stylist.

What's something most people don’t know about you?

I'm a homebody, and I really don’t like crowds.

Describe your ideal day off.

Sleeping in until you wake up, a lazy few hours on the beach, then cocktails and dinner.

What do you listen to when you're driving?


If you could have lunch with anyone from theatrical history, who would it be?

Vivian Leigh — Scarlett O’Hara is my idol.

What's your biggest performance-related phobia?

Dancing. It’s so hard for me to learn choreography. I never trust myself to get it right.

What's your favorite thing about performing?

The way I hope I’m making people feel. There’s nothing like thunderous applause.

Least favorite?

Waiting to get on the stage.

What show do you wish an area theatre would put in its season for next year?


Name one thing on your theatrical bucket list:

Paulette in "Legally Blonde."

 See Whiteside in “Catch Me If You Can,” running March 18 through April 4. 


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