Spring in his step: In the hormonally charged ensemble that powered freeFall’s production of Spring Awakening this past season, Griffeth Whitehurst (as Georg, the bespectacled kid with the hots for his piano teacher) stood out for his goofball intensity and strikingly pure tenor.
A demanding show: “We realized immediately this was going to be an exhausting process,” he says of rehearsals for Eric Davis’ intensely physical production. But it was worth it: “I really loved it.”
Being a jock probably helped: “I was a sports guy growing up all my life — cross-country, wrestling, track and field.” But after doing a small chorus role in Leader of the Pack during his junior year of high school, he quit sports and switched to theater. His teammates were none too happy. “I even lost a few friends from the transition.”
That’s so Glee: “Right? I know! it was a total 180.”
But he’d been singing all his life: He grew up in a musical family — his mother, Bonnie Whitehurst, is a performer and teacher whose music has been featured on NPR — and he and his wrestling team were big karaoke buffs.
From UT to understudy: As a musical theater major at the University of Tampa, he did a show every semester and snagged professional gigs right after graduation last year: a small part in 1776 at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, a two-month understudy run in S’Wonderful at the Straz, and then Spring. This fall he’ll be in Showboat at Asolo, and after that he’s headed for New York.
So bye-bye, Tampa Bay? Not really — he says he’d like to come back to audition for freeFall. And he does have a good day job here — he works at his father’s jewelry shop, Whitehurst Gold & Silversmith in Clearwater.