From the stage of the Indiana Playhouse as a kid and now to Broadway, Whitney Bashor is making her mark in the theater world.
Bashor, who now resides in New York City, lived in Indiana during her elementary and part of her middle school years. She made her theater debut during the Indiana Players’ performance of “Narnia” and had a role as Pepper in “Annie.” She just finished her first run of Broadway performances in the Jason Robert Brown production of “The Bridges of Madison County.”
Bashor said she got her start in the area at the Indiana Players’ theater.
“It was something that my mom and I did together,” Bashor said. “My mom was also involved in the Indiana Players shows and it was a fun way for us to spend time together.”
Something she remembers specifically about the start of her career as a child was the sense of community that the theater world offers.
“Especially at the Indiana Players, it was my first experience with the family and community that you make when you’re involved in a show.”
After seventh grade, Bashor’s family moved to Iowa, where she lived until graduating from Pleasant Valley High School.
She then attended the University of Michigan, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in musical theater. She has lived in New York City since graduating from there in 2005.
“Bridges of Madison County” ran on Broadway from late February until mid-May. The musical tells the story of a journey by Robert Kincaid, a photographer for National Geographic who has traveled from Washington state to photograph the famous covered bridges of Madison County in Iowa.
VIDEO: Bashor performs "Another Life"
Bashor played two characters: In Act I, she played Kincaid’s ex-wife, Marian, singing “Another Life”; and in Act II, she played Kiara, the sister of Francesca, Kincaid’s romantic prospect throughout the show.
The show began last summer at the Williamstown Theater in Massachusetts, where Bashor said the cast “figured out a lot of important things about the show.”
They rehearsed for about a month before moving into the theater where the Broadway musical was held, the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Bashor worked long hours with the cast preparing for the Broadway premiere.
Preparing for an opening such as “The Bridges of Madison County,” she said, can be more difficult than it is for well-known productions
“It’s kind of a different process where you’re making something new and trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t,” Bashor said. “You’re forging this new path.”
“It was an incredible experience,” she said. “We all (put in the time) because we love it. It’s a show I’m very proud of.”
In addition to performing on stage on Broadway, the cast recorded an original Broadway cast album.
Bashor earned Broadway’s oldest honor, The Clarence Derwent Award, after her debut in “The Bridges of Madison County.” The award is given each year to one male and one female who, according to the award’s website, are the most promising performers on the New York metropolitan scene.
“I was lucky enough to receive it each year — I felt so honored to be the recipient of it,” she said.
Next week, Bashor will make her solo debut at 54 Below, a cabaret space, where she’ll sing some songs from Broadway but also perform “really cool” acoustic pop covers.
She’ll also be performing at a gala and getting ready for her next show.
“You just keep auditioning and waiting for the next job to happen,” she said. “Unlike any career, one moment you’re at the top of your field and then you’re back to auditioning like everybody else.”
Off Broadway, Bashor has appeared in “The Fantasticks,” performances at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Dallas Theater Center and the Kennedy Center. On television, she has appeared in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and ABC’s “All My Children.”