EXCLUSIVE: Broadway casting director Benton Whitley announced today the creation of Whitley Theatrical, a New York City-based casting and producing office for theater, film, and television.
Whitley is the co-founder, with former business partner Duncan Stewart, of the Broadway casting agency Stewart/Whitley. As reported by Deadline yesterday, Stewart is joining RWS Entertainment Group to head up its new casting arm ARC; the Stewart/Whitley agency has been dissolved.
Joining Whitley in his new endeavor is Associate Casting Director Micah Johnson-Levy, with acquisitions and legal counsel from Jordan Manekin, and business management by Karen Morales at Armanino LLP.
In a statement, Whitley said, “Over the last few years, as much disruption and needed change has happened both in the world at large, and specifically, the theater industry, it became apparent that the critical conversations around casting happen at the very first stage of a show’s development, making it the ideal time for us to transition from strictly casting, to both casting and producing. The stories we tell and the storytellers who tell them, both on and off the stage, matter more than ever. We look forward to continuing to cultivate the stories, talent, and artists needed to make this happen.”
Whitley currently is represented by the Broadway and North American tour of the 2019 Tony and Grammy Award-winning Best Musical Hadestown, for which Whitley won the 2020 Artios Award for Excellence in Casting.
In addition to what it terms “creative and inclusive casting,” Whitley Theatrical will also produce and develop new works for the stage. Producing projects and collaborations will be developed and announced in the seasons ahead. The new company says it will cultivate queer representation on stage in the years ahead.
Whitley Theatrical is currently casting for in-development projects including Goddess (directed by Saheem Ali, written by Jocelyn Bioh & Michael Thurber), How To Dance In Ohio (Sammi Cannold directing, Rebekah Greer Melocik & Jacob Yandura writing), Wild (director Diane Paulus, writers V & Justin Tranter), Cowboy Bob (director Annie Tippe, writers Molly Beach Murphy & Jeanna Phillips), and reimagined revivals of Inherit The Wind to be directed by Neil Pepe, and Same Time Next Year, with Rachel Chavkin directing.
Additionally, Whitley Theatrical has completed principal casting for the new revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita (Sammi Cannold directing) playing this summer at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge and the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C., with casting to be announced shortly.
For more than 12 years, Stewart/Whitley was a prominent casting agency on Broadway, with credits including Chicago The Musical, La Cage Aux Folles, Pippin, On The Town, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, The Lightning Thief, Paradise Square, and this season’s Life of Pi. The recent casting of drag superstar Jinkx Monsoon in Chicago pushed the long-running musical to its highest non-holiday box office week in its 27-year run.