WANT TO GO?
Presented by Broadway in Charleston
WHERE: Clay Center
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday
TICKETS: $47.25 and $68.50
INFO: 304-561-3570 or www.theclaycenter.orgCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Riding around on a bus from city to city, performing for only a night or two at one theater before moving on to the next, a touring actor never knows what to expect when he opens his dressing room.
Shows like "Mamma Mia!," which comes to the Clay Center Friday, often follow rowdier entertainment: rock concerts, for example, and trashing dressing rooms is almost a rite of passage for rock stars. Actor Christian Whelan has seen that kind of thing, but in Ottawa, he found something new: water.
"There was some sort of plumbing problem," he explained.
Pipes burst and water drenched his dressing station, ruining his makeup and some music the producers of "Mamma Mia!" had set aside for him.
Whelan is new to the tour and still adjusting to performing on the road again. About a month ago, he joined the "Mamma Mia!" cast as Sam Carmichael, one of a young bride's three potential fathers. (The bride, Sophie, wants to find her father to walk her down the aisle.)
Before he joined the musical, which is based around the music of ABBA, Whelan played King Triton in the first regional production of "Disney's The Little Mermaid" in Utah. He considers himself fortunate to be able to go from one job to the next.
He said, "I'm pretty proud of the fact that I haven't had to take a side job for 18 years."
Whelan has been in show business for a long time --26 years professionally, though he's been acting since he was a kid.
One of his first jobs was as in the original "Bad News Bears" movie, starring Walter Matthau. He was a baseball player on an opposing team.
In his teens, Whelan sang with The Young Americans, a California show choir that was the first show choir to mix choreography with singing. The group performed at theme parks across the country, toured the world and appeared on several television shows in the 1970s.
Whelan's big break, however, came in high school. The casting director for "General Hospital" watched him in a school production of "Jesus Christ Superstar," liked what he saw and cast him for the daytime drama.