After three wonderful years with us, our Resident Music Director, Sam Henderson has moved on to Charleston Stage in South Carolina. We are so grateful for the time and amazing shows we shared with Sam. We are truly happy for this new opportunity and wish him every success!
We would now like to introduce you to our newest Production Team member and new Resident Music Director, Jennifer Whiting. Some of you may know Jenn from her performances with Copperstar last season (Miss Hannigan in Annieand Mrs. MacAffee in Bye Bye Birdie).
Where did you grow up? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to you to be involved with the arts?
I am an Arizona native, growing up in the East Valley. I attended Mesa High School and was extensively involved in music and theatre from a young age. I began voice lessons in junior high and have been teaching my own students since I was in high school. I participated yearly in Regional and All-State Choirs as 1st chair, won numerous vocal awards including first place in the National Association of Teachers of Singing competitions for 4 years, and even assisted the music director in my school productions as a student.
Where did you go to school? How did this prepare you for your work in the arts?
I was fortunate enough to receive copious scholarships at many different universities, giving me many choices of where to attend, because of my vocal auditions. I have studied with several world renowned instructors including Ann Baltz (founder of OperaWorks), Dick Jones, Kim Steiner and the late Mahlon Schanzenbach.
Describe briefly what your position is with Copperstar Repertory Co. and what your job will involve.
As the Resident Music Director at Copperstar, I will be responsible for all musical aspects of each production (teaching the music, conducting, accompanying, etc.) In addition, I will serve as the Music Education Director for all of our Stars Troupes, youth programs, classes, etc.
What were some of your past jobs/experiences in the arts? Favorite roles, etc.?
I have been a music director for various theatre companies including Hale Centre Theatre and Greasepaint, to name a few. I am a summer camp instructor for Phoenix Theatre and East Valley Childrens Theatre for several years and have taught at a charter school as the drama/music instructor. This fall I will join the Theatre Arts faculty at Arizona School for the Arts teaching classes, performance troupes and music directing the spring production. I am also a performer myself and have performed extensively across the southwest. My favorite professional credits include: ariZoni Award winning role of Meg in Brigadoon, the World Premiere of Blackbeard: The Musical (Mary understudy), the Arizona Premiere of The Secret Garden (Lily), She Loves Me (Amalia), DIVAS at the Laxalt (Guest Artist), Footloose (Vi), The King and I (Lady Thiang), Annie (Hannigan) and many, many others.
Tell us about your family?
I come from a very musically theatrical family! We love to sing and many of us have had leading roles in shows. I am a mother of 4 amazing kids - 2 girls and 2 boys! They all enjoy the theatre as well and my oldest daughter has had leading roles and began her mentoring this year as a summer camp counselor at Phoenix Theatre where I was an instructor. My boys love baseball and my youngest daughter loves her gymnastics!
What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?
When I have time to myself it is rare so I just enjoy time at home with my kids! I love to watch reality shows and spend time with loved ones and friends, even if it is just lazing around doing nothing. I love to cook but rarely have the time other than a meal for my family, but I do make awesome pizza, including the crust! My hobbies include decorating, crafting and playing word games.
What favorite ice cream flavor or beverage?
I love good 'ol fashioned vanilla ice cream and I love a big, tall, refreshing Diet Dr. Pepper with SONIC ICE - my absolute favorite! And please include a lemon and a lime! ;)