Emmalie Whitney remembers seeing the Broadway tour of “Oklahoma” when she was six-months pregnant. The baby began kicking with the opening number and didn’t stop until the curtain closed.
“I should’ve known back then my child would grow up to be a performer,” she said. “The way she danced through that entire show.”
Three years later, Ramsey Whitney made her stage debut, performing a solo during Anniston’s First United Methodist Church Christmas program. Even before then, she was eager to entertain.
“As a toddler, she learned the words to a blessing and insisted on singing it before every meal,” Emmalie remembers. “But she wouldn’t just sit and sing, she had to stand on the chair and perform it — even if we were in a restaurant.”
Ramsey comes by her musical talents naturally. Father Scott Whitney sings in the church choir and has starred in numerous CAST productions. Grandmother Louise Ballenger is a music teacher, and aunt Kristy White is a vocalist and actor in Trussville.
“It’s in her blood,” said Emmalie.
When she was 4 years old, Ramsey joined CAST Kidz. It didn’t take long for her to make an impression on artistic director Kim Dobbs, who has since cast Ramsey in a series of productions including “Miracle on 34th Street,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Boomers” and “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”
“I’ve always said Ramsey could be earning real money instead of just compliments,” Dobbs said. “She’s a natural. Her future is limitless.”
Ramsey is also a member of CharACTers Entertainment troupe in Gadsden, where she has appeared in the stage versions of “Annie,” “The Little Mermaid” and “101 Dalmatians.” She is currently in rehearsal for “My Son Pinocchio,” in which she will be playing the role of Jiminy Cricket.
Earlier this year, the Whitneys traveled to Orlando, Fla., to participate in the annual “Shine” event, sponsored by AMTC (Actors, Models and Talent for Christ.)
Ramsey competed against more than 100 children in such categories as scene-reading, improvisational work and modeling — and she won Best Overall Female Child Actor.
She received a series of agency and casting director callbacks, and later signed with the J. Pervis Talent Agency out of Atlanta. Over the past few weeks, she has auditioned for four motion pictures, one TV show, two commercials and a part in a Broadway touring production. She landed a small role in a faith-based film that will shoot later this year.
Although Ramsey’s schedule is packed with private lessons, auditions and rehearsals, her parents strive to give her a normal kid’s life. They make sure she finishes her homework and has a consistent bedtime.
An A-B honor student at Munford Elementary, Ramsey will be in fourth grade this year and considers math and science to be her favorite subjects. Like most children, Ramsey has a list of household chores to accomplish each week, but given a choice, she’d rather rehearse songs and memorize lines than do anything else.
Ramsey’s brother Bryant, 6, is following in his big sister’s footsteps, landing his own roles in a series of local productions. Through it all, he remains Ramsey’s biggest fan, says Emmalie.
“He brags about her all the time.”
To follow Ramsey’s promising future, visit online at facebook.com/ramseywhitney