Plano Profile May 2009 : Page 78

cinderella story a While playing Cinderella at Bass Hall, Kimberly Whalen experienced her own magical moment. “i’ll never forget the first time i was on stage before the performance began,” she effused. “i was standing behind this thing called a scrim— you can see the audience but they can’t see you. i observed the people rustling in their seats, and i starting feeling their energy. “Then the lights in the theater dimmed, the overture started, and ooohhhh…my whole body got so excited! it’s one of the coolest experi- ences of your life. Since then, i’ve always stopped and enjoyed the very beginning of every show.” Hats off to the casting director, because Kimberly was surely the per- fect Cinderella. With porcelain skin and green eyes as uniquely beautiful as glacier lakes, she is stunning; yet she shows no trace of rising-star ego. She is open, warm, unpretentious and well grounded. With good-natured humor, Kimberly said this early theatrical experi- ence was Cinderella-like down to the ground. “it was funny because i had just finished school (University of Texas– arlington) when i got this role. i still had friends living in arlington, and since it’s close to fort Worth, i stayed with a friend whose roommate had just moved out. So i was sleeping in the extra bedroom…on the floor!” But unlike the fabled character, Kimberly must try on glass slippers time and time again. every audition is another opportunity for acceptance or rejection. She confided, “When you don’t get the part, a lot of people say, ‘They’re not rejecting you, they’re just rejecting the image of you.’ But if you’re a true actor, there’s a part of you in everthing you do. So it hurts a little bit every time when somebody says, ‘You’re just not what we’re looking for.’ However, it makes you so much stronger, i’ve discovered. You become resilient and things just don’t stop you.” Her strong vocal talent has landed her key roles in many musicals. among them, she played Clara in Theatre Three’s The Light in the Piazza; emily in A Christmas Carol: Musical performed at Casa Manana; and Julie Jordan in the lyric Stage production of Carousel. it was while playing Julie Jordan that Kimberly learned to embrace the heart of the character, then perform from the heart. 78 Plano Profile MAY 2009 Kimberly Whalen Kimberly was photographed at Collin College’s Spring Creek Campus. “When i sang ‘if i loved You’ from Carousel, i learned so much about being a woman and what it’s like to love somebody. i got to work with Jay Dias, an amazing conductor who works in new York a lot, and he really challenged me to dissect the song—not in a technical way, but in an emotional way. He wanted me to understand why i’m saying these things, why the music swells when it does. all your emotions are writ- ten right there in the music for you.” Kimberly is branching out into film and television as well. She plays Mrs. Brown in an upcoming movie called The Tree of Life starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. it’s due out next sum- mer. She is also in the opening credits of We network’s Girl Meets Gown. This is a long way from her debut on the Collin Theatre stage in 2003, but it’s a journey that wouldn’t have begun without that first and

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