Terri White on Her 54 Below Show, a New Album and the Roles She'd Love to Play

By Adam Hetrick
30 Jul 2013

White and Guy Davis in Finian's Rainbow.
photo by Joan Marcus

You recently did the musical The Throwbacks at NYMF. That's a whirlwind rehearsal process. What was that like coming back to New York and diving in like that?

TW: It felt like it was a reunion, because I was working with people I had worked with years ago like Ed Dixon and Harvey Evans. It was absolutely amazing working together again. We rehearsed for only ten days and I had just finished doing Nunsense at the MUNY, then drove two days to get here and did the show. It's been a whirlwind, trust me. I just put one script away and then put the other script in front of me.

Have you seen any shows that you loved during your current time in New York?

TW: I got the chance to see The Trip to Bountiful, and to see Cicely Tyson do her magic on stage was brilliant. That was a million dollar lesson seeing her on stage. I loved Cinderella. Victoria Clark replaced Bernadette Peters in the L.A. company of Follies, so it was wonderful to see her.

The last time you were in New York full-time, you and Donna were married on the stage of the St. James Theatre shortly after New York passed gay marriage. Are you encouraged by the progress LGBT people continue to make since then?

TW: I'm ecstatic in one sense and confused in another. Until it becomes federal, really, it's a minor stepping stone. We're not there yet. But it is a step nonetheless, and I think the Pope's recent words are helping us move it along a little faster.

You've been open about your personal and professional ups and downs. In recent years it seems that life has made a turn for the better for you.

TW: Life is fantastic. My life has done a complete 180. I don't want to sound like I'm preaching of any sort, but the book "The Secret" saved me. It was hard to get into, especially with negative thoughts, having been on the street and so forth, but I was able to pound through it and take bits and pieces of it. Each day things got a little bit better, and that's how I got to Key West, because things got a little better. I happened to be in the right place at the right time for once, and that's where I met Donna, in Key West. I found somebody who's interested in what I do for the first time. As you well know, I'm the show and she's the biz, showbiz. We're a great team. Because of that - the support, you wake up happy.

What's coming up for you?
TW: I'm doing a reading of the musical Holding On, which I've been working on for the last eight years, and I think it really might be happening. I'm also doing my show in New Hope, PA, on Aug. 8 and on Aug. 18 I'll be at the Helsinki on the Hudson.


Terri White plays 54 Below July 31 at 7 PM. There is a $45-$55 cover and a $25 food and beverage minimum. For tickets, visit 54Below.com.