Catherine Walker shares herself

By on November 4, 2015

Many EPAC alumni have found themselves on television, in film, or appearing on Broadway. The latter is the case with Lancaster Catholic High School grad Catherine Walker, whose Broadway career began as ensemble member in (and later understudy to) “Mary Poppins” in 2006.

Three years later she was a performer in the Tony-award winning musical, “Ragtime.” Walker started as an ensemble member of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” which opened at the Walter Kerr Theatre in 2013, and eventually moved from ensemble to understudy for the show’s supporting female, Phoebe D’Ysquith. She replaced Lauren Worsham and has been playing Phoebe D’Ysquith since 2014.

“I feel a little scattered right now, but I am in a groove with ‘Gentleman’s Guide’ now,” said Walker. “Unfortunately, we are kind of winding down right now. The closing of the show will be Jan. 17.”

While still performing on Broadway, Walker has taken a bit of time for herself and she will present that bit to her native Lancaster County on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m. She will take the EPAC stage and present her variety show “You Have to Start Somewhere: Broadway from My Bedroom.”

“I’ve done things like this before, but I wanted this to have more of a message,” said Walker. “It’s a story I wanted to tell and weave together with songs.”

Those songs will relate to special moments in Walker’s life and tell her story, from when she dreamed of being on stage as a young girl to headlining a Broadway show. If the event poster is any reference, audience members can expect to hear songs from “Les Miserables,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “My Fair Lady,” and others. There may even be a number from “Into the Woods,” the musical that put her on the EPAC stage in 1995.

 

 

Presently, Catherine is performing the lead role of Phoebe D’Ysquith in the Broadway show “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.”

Presently, Catherine is performing the lead role of Phoebe D’Ysquith in the Broadway show “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.”

 

“I’ve really been focusing on not falling into the trap of [creating] a narcissistic evening,” said Walker. “But, I’m hoping people will leave feeling connected and stupefied by what I believe are universal experiences.”

Walker saw her first Broadway show, “Phantom of the Opera,” when she was 12 and “was bit by the bug.” She took dance lessons for several years and when a freshman in high school added voice lessons.

“I didn’t get as much support as I would have liked to have had from my teachers and that is what caused me to seek out other creative resources, like [EPAC],” said Walker. “Ed [Fernandez] was casting ‘Into the Woods’ and that was my real, first audition.”

She was cast as Rapunzel and it felt like her dreams had all come true. Those are the types of emotions viewers can expect to see during her EPAC performance. The emotions in “You Have to Start Somewhere: Broadway from My Bedroom” are human in nature. The obstacles are those-in one way or another-that have affected everyone. Walker promises an uplifting evening. She started working on the piece 2013.

“It’s been marinating in my mind,” said Walker. “I was contacted by [EPAC board of directors member] Dave [Dierwechter] and the idea for the evening really started to take shape within the last nine months.”

The Ephrata performance will serve as an “out of town tryout” for what she hopes will become a touring show. Next, she hopes to get the show onstage at 54 Below or another New York City cabaret venue.

When she gets time away from being Phoebe D’Ysquith — who she portrays for eight shows each week — she gets back to Lancaster County to visit her family, who still lives here.

“I come back fairly regularly,” said Walker. “I didn’t appreciate [Lancaster County] enough growing up. It is so beautiful. Whenever I come home now I feel like I can finally inhale and exhale fully.”

She previously performed a benefit show at EPAC in 2012.

“That was similar to what I am doing now,” said Walker, who actually got engaged at the end of the 2012 performance. “It wasn’t the ending I had planned, but I was pretty happy.”

On Saturday, Walker’s performance will be accompanied by Steven Jamail, an award-winning composer, arranger, and music director.

Michael C. Upton works as a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure, covering subjects ranging from funk punk to fine wine. He invites your comments and suggestions at facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

 

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