PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: The Lion King's "Mufasa," Alton Fitzgerald White

By Matthew Blank
25 Jun 2013

Alton Fitzgerald White
Alton Fitzgerald White

Alton Fitzgerald White, back on Broadway as King Mufasa in The Lion King, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

White's previous Broadway credits include Smokey Joe's Cafe, Tommy, John in Miss Saigon, Coalhouse in Ragtime and Mister in The Color Purple.



Full given name: My full birth name is Alton Fitzgerald White. To this day, people still ask me if I made it up! Lol!

My mother's favorite person was her grandfather, Alton Copeland, and Fitzgerald comes from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, her favorite president at the time.

Where you were born/where you were raised: I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Zodiac Sign: I am very much an ARIES!!! ;-)
What your parents did/do for a living: My mother is a retired housekeeper and my father was a janitor.

Wonderful, hardworking Mid-Western folk. It is from them that I get my discipline, integrity and strong work ethic!

Siblings: My siblings are Gloria, James, Marcia, Paula, Anna and Darlene.



I am the only artist in the family and the youngest of seven children, so it's no wonder that I am in showbiz, if not for the attention alone (lol)!

They are all extremely proud and have always been very supportive, even when they didn't quite understand what I was "doing with my life."

It takes a lot of patience and understanding on both parts to try and explain the pursuit of the arts and the sacrifices that artists "willingly" make, to those who are not in show business. To me, any success that I have had or will have, is theirs as well.

Current audition song/monologue: "Wheels of a Dream" from Ragtime and "Rain" from Once on This Island.
Special skills: I haven't done it in many years, but can I still tap dance.
Something you're REALLY bad at: Lying
First Broadway show you ever saw: Black and Blue at the Minskoff Theatre
Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations when first starting out? Andre De Shields, Sammy Davis Jr., Hinton Battle, Gregg Burge, Gregory Hines, Bob Fosse and Michael Bennett.
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be? The original cast of Dreamgirls
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: Newsies
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: Two of my audition songs: "It's a Deal" from Raisin and "Soliloquy" from Carousel
Some favorite modern musicals: Next to Normal and Passing Strange
Some favorite classic musicals: The King and I and The Wiz
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with: Bob Fosse and Michael Bennett
Your personal vocal idols, living or dead: Johnny Mathis, Jeffrey Osbourne, Peabo Bryson, Seal
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: I think that Passing Strange was so BRILLIANT,that I could have seen it again, right after the bows!!!
Music that makes you cry or moves you, any genre: Anything with lots of strings. Also, the sound of the oboe and the English horn cut straight to my heart.
MAC or PC? MAC
Most played song on your iPod: "Jump" by Madonna. The overall message of the song reminds me to always keep fear away and to keep faith intact. It's also a great work-out motivator!
Most-visited websites: Playbill.com, Facebook.com, Twitter.com and AltonFitzgeraldWhite.com ;-)
Last book you read: "Psycho-Cybernetics" by Maxwell Maltz
Must-see TV show(s): "Super Soul Sunday" on OWN, "Modern Family," "Scandal," Suze Orman, "Selling New York" on HGTV, "The Mindy Project"
Last good movie you saw: "Lincoln"
Some films you consider classics: "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Wiz"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Norm Lewis, Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell
Pop culture guilty pleasure: "Chopped"
Three favorite cities: New York City, Paris, London
Favorite sport/team/player: Tennis. Venus and Serena Williams!
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: The Dreamgirls cast album
When you first realized you could sing: It was in the church choir. I was very very shy as a kid and only ever sang along with the radio, by myself in my room, so no one knew that I could sing.

I loved the sensation of singing but had no clue as to how I sounded and I never imagined ever being brave enough to sing in front of anyone, outside of my daydreams.

I joined my church choir because I loved the music. Everyone in the choir was given a solo, but every time it rolled around to me, I made excuses and declined. After about a year, the choir director got tired of my excuses and promised the she would give me the easiest song there was.

Even then, I would still wait until everyone left, to rehearse with just the two of us. It still took a few weeks before I would sing it in front of the choir. I was so afraid of being embarrassed!

Finally the morning came for me to sing. I looked at the ceiling throughout most of the song, shaking like a leaf. After service, members of the congregation came up to me smiling like crazy and describing the "quality of my voice." I had no idea what they were talking about!

I just thought, "Wow, GOD gave me something that seems to make people so happy and I all I have to do is not be afraid to share it in front of people." It still feels like a miracle that I have made a living doing it for all of these years. I am Grateful!!!

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