“My mother suggested that when I have presentations in school, I should prepare by
doing a skit. ‘Make something up,’ she said. ‘Get a costume, get your friends together,
and act it out.’ I thought that was such a great idea, and I got through my presentation
just fine. I was in fourth grade at the time, and later that year I auditioned for a play. I
knew I wanted to do it; I had to find a way to get on stage and have fun!
My mother saw that spark in me, that I had a knack for acting and
singing, so she enrolled me in acting and voice classes at Karamu.”
During middle school, Whyte was introduced to the violin, taking lessons at school
and the Cleveland Institute of Music. She also attended the Music School Settlement
for piano lessons and continued to play throughout her high school years. She was
named concertmaster of the Shaker High School Orchestra during her senior year.
Whyte majored in English at the College of Wooster, and it was during senior
year that she decided to explore the performing arts as a career. She returned home,
embracing community theater as a way to hone her acting skills before heading to
New York, where she landed a role in a national tour of “Disney’s The Lion King.”
During her two-year hiatus between the end of her Lion King run and securing a role
in another hit Broadway production – “The Color Purple” – Whyte gave birth to a son.
“My son was with me during the majority of my time with “The Color Purple,”
so that made a big impact on me, as a performer, and of course as a new mother,
just being able to balance this amazing, powerful show, along with getting my rest
and learning how to be a mother on the road. It was exciting, but it was tough
at the same time.”
40 WINTER 2021 | WWW.SHAKER.LIFE