Whitman, Charles W.

Dr. Charles W. Whitman was one of my early mentors at BYU. He was my first playwrighting teacher and without him I never would have been able to go on to do what I did. He was careful and supportive — encouraging. He called on me to write the score for his Summer Youth Theatre project in 1976 based on the work I had done in his Playwrighting Class and the year before as a dance and movement teacher for the workshop with the plays:  CAPTAIN JINKS OF THE HORSE MARINES and THE BLUEBIRD. So we wrote ENTERTAINING MARK TWAIN together.  Then, again he called on me in the 1990s to write and adapt a score for his current project, which eventually became ONSTAGE. At first it was a mix of well-known theatre songs and original tunes. After meeting with the playwright — Nancy Zelenak — she and I wanted to take it further than just the workshop — I wrote new songs to replace the ones that we had borrowed for the Workshop production. Dr. Whitman was there, as usual, encouraging us to go farther.  I spoke with him on the phone early in 2012 and he was doing well and we talked of good times and lots of memories. He also wrote many plays and a few musicals (with other composers) but one of my fondest memories was being a part of the ensemble for his LDS play, PLAY THE DRUM SO THAT IT IS HEARD AGAIN in 1972.

NOTE: Dr. Whitman taught us in his Playwrighting class that the reason for the spelling of the word Play-wright-ing is because, like a metal worker or blacksmith is an iron-wright, or a wheelmaker is a wheel-wright, so a play is wrought — not just written. It is formed carefully by hand by an artisan. That is quite something to aspire to.



Entertaining Mark Twain