Delta Township woman takes on lead role in Peppermint Creek’s newest musicalWhile it takes some years to find their calling, Amanda Whitehead found her calling in the second grade when she joined her church choir. “My mom said I (have been) singing since I was little,” said Whitehead. “It’s something that I’ve always, always loved.” Although she didn’t grow up in a musically inclined family — they won’t even let her dad sing “Happy Birthday” — there was something about singing that felt right to Whitehead. So much so that she continued with her church choir for years, earned her associates degree in commercial music and currently works in music ministry at Mount Hope Church, the same place she found her gift years ago. While she spent years singing and acting in church performances Whitehead had yet to pursue her interest in community theater. That was until last year when a friend was auditioning for a Peppermint Creek Theatre Company show and Whitehead decided to join her. Good thing, because Whitehead landed a role in Peppermint Creek’s production of Caroline or Change. “There’s some sort of sheer adrenaline,” said Whitehead of acting. “It’s definitely a bug. You get bit and you can’t say ‘no.’” And it’s a good thing she can’t say ‘no.’ Turns out Whitehead made such an impression on Peppermint Creek founder Chad Badgero that when he added a second musical to the 2010-11 line up, he asked Whitehead to take on one of the four roles in the show. “Chad is wonderful, I’m so glad I got to know him,” said Whitehead. “I’m looking forward to working with him again.” In her latest role, Whitehead plays Claire in Ordinary Days, showing Jan. 27-30 and Feb. 3-5 at Creole Gallery in Lansing’s Old Town. Ordinary Days is the story of four characters living in New York City and trying to find themselves. Claire has recently moved in with her boyfriend and although she’d like to open up and have more of a future with him, something is holding her back. “She’s trying to open herself up to him,” said Whitehead. “I think it’s a very relatable character … I think everyone can relate to that need to find purpose or meaning.” The music in Ordinary Days is a large part of why Whitehead accepted the role. “The music is just so fun,” she said. When she heard the song I’ll Be Here, which is sung by her character, “That sealed the deal. I heard it and I cried,” said Whitehead. Now in her second community theater role, Whitehead said she couldn’t be happier she finally auditioned for a show. She encourages others to do the same when it comes to pursing their goals. “Take the leap. Find something that interests you,” she said. With theater crossed off her list of to-dos, Whitehead, who along with singing plays piano and guitar, said next up is to write and record an album of original music. “Making music, being creative is really something that feeds my soul,” she said. “If I wasn’t able to do that I think there would be a piece missing … I really like the ability to effect emotions in other people.” Ordinary Days Music & lyrics by Adam Gwon Directed by Chad Badgero Jan. 27 – 30 & Feb. 3 – 5 Creole Gallery, 1218 Turner St., Lansing Details: www.peppermintcreek.org
Emily Caswell is the Managing Editor of CAWLM. She has a passion for fun, family, friends, shopping sprees, cold drinks and Lansing.