Life is so good for actress Kimberly Whalen, currently winding up her run in WaterTower Theatre's hit production of Grey Gardens, that someone should write a show about her. Or maybe they already have.
Whalen takes over the romantic ingenue role, Luisa, in the ongoing Off Broadway revival of The Fantasticks in early November. (She'll be replaced at WaterTower as of Oct. 28 by Erica Peterman.)
Whalen is also in a new film co-starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. Wow.
Within 24 hours of getting The Fantasticks role, she became engaged to another Dallas musical theater star, Curt Mega. They met and fell in love as co-stars in Theatre Three's production of A Light in the Piazza. (Mega can also currently be seen in the new Subway commercial.)
Here's her account of one real whirlwind of a weekend in Manhattan:
To make a long story a bit shorter, the director for The Fantasticks Off Broadway, Tom Jones (who wrote the show with fellow Texan Harvey Schmidt in 1960), called me in for Luisa because I understudied the role for him at Casa Manana (in Fort Worth) in June 2008 with Lorenzo Lamas as El Gallo. Casa called me in April 2008 and asked if I could come audition for the role, but I was doing Master Class at Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Florida for Marcia Milgrom Dodge and shooting Terrence Malick’s upcoming feature film, “The Tree of Life” starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn and was unable to make it back for the audition. A few weeks later they called me and asked if I could understudy/stand in the role even though I had not auditioned because the girl who they cast was also under contract to re-open the role Off Broadway and was going to still be on her honeymoon until the week before it opened at Casa (so confusing I know). They have been trying to get me to come up and audition for the producing team for about a year, but we could never get our schedules together. Originally they offered me understudy right after I understudied at Casa, but I told them I wanted to wait until I could play the role. So, hooray! It finally all worked out. I found out I booked it the same day I auditioned on the 14th of September.
Curt actually proposed to me on the same trip as my callback for The Fantasticks. So, it was quite the trip for me. He had never been to New York so we made it a fun day trip. We flew up the 14th of September, dropped our stuff of at my friend's apartment and went to my audition. After the audition, we scoped out as many touristy spots as possible until dinner. We had a big “Dallas theater friends who live in New York dinner” reunion. The next day, the 15th, Curt and I woke up early because he “wanted to see Central Park before we left”…. (Little did I know this was all a part of his plan.) So around 7 a.m. with bagel in hand, on the fourth bench down on the lower east side of Central Park, Curt magically pulls out a beautiful scrapbook containing pictures from all the special events in our lives as a couple. It had notes that he wrote me in it (that he stole from my room), poems and lists of our favorite places. Each page was themed to the event and or time of year. The best part was the last page, which said, “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” Then he pulled out the ring (which is beautiful) and proposed. It was wonderful. I cannot imagine a better way he could have done it. It was so thoughtful and personal.
Curt is working in Dallas, as well as living the actor’s dream of working in the food industry as a barista at Starbucks. It is a great job though and very flexible for the last-minute acting schedule. He is under contract with JC Penny in recurring commercial and industrial spots that he shoots here in Plano at their headquarters quite often. He has also recently completed commercials for Subway, Southwest Airlines, Nike, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Hasbro and is trying to focus on film and commercial work. He works out of Dallas with his agent here in Dallas (Campbell Agency) as well as LA with his manager out there. His work here, for the time being, will keep his living situation central to Dallas for the duration of my show in New York. However, he will be visiting as much as possible. That’s all we know for now. We are taking one day at a time. The life of an actor is fun, crazy and scary, so putting two lives together like ours will be quite the adventure.
One that we will follow, follow, follow.