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Friday, December 2, 2011

Seattle Theater Loses One of Its Great Talents

Posted by on Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 1:57 PM


Here's what I wrote about Edie Whitsett earlier this year in the Genius Awards issue:

Edie Whitsett is that rare and wonderful thing: a world-class theater artist who's stayed deeply engaged with her profession while remaining in Seattle. Whitsett's calling card is painting—Ming Cho Lee, the legendary set designer, has praised her as the best scenic painter west of the Hudson—and she did years of exquisite work during her tenure as lead scenic artist at Pacific Northwest Ballet. At that time, she was executing other people's designs, but next spring she'll return to PNB as the scenic designer for Snow White. Now she's primarily working in three dimensions, serving as prop master at Seattle Children's Theatre, where amazing props are mandatory. When I press one of Whitsett's former colleagues for specifics on what makes her a great scenic artist, I get this: "She is joyfully involved with every aspect of her designs, gives clear and detailed drawings, paint elevations, and prop research and instructions, without ever being a vainglorious dick. The amount of work she is willing to do for each show, joyfully, is what sets her apart. She loves theater enough to always do it properly."

Last night, after an extended battle with cancer, Edie Whitsett passed away. Along with being an extremely well-regarded artist, Edie was a deeply beloved human. Today is a terribly sad day.


Comments (8) RSS

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I knew Edie way back when...I worked for Seattle Children's Theatre back when they were in the Poncho Theater at the zoo. What sad news. Cancer sucks!

RIP Edie, and thanks for all you contributed to Theatre in Seattle.
Posted by Johnston on December 2, 2011 at 2:44 PM · Report this
Tracy 2
Oh man, we'll miss you. Thanks for the amazing work.
Posted by Tracy on December 2, 2011 at 2:56 PM · Report this
Edie has touched innumerable lives both professionally and personally. She was a quietly radiant person. Her designs, outfits, collections, and interactions always reflected her delight in all aspects of living. Smart, gentle, whimsical, lovely - Hooray for Edie!
Posted by Buzzy on December 2, 2011 at 3:05 PM · Report this
katrat 4
Edie's last set is still up, for Frog & Toad, at SCT. It is so very Edie, and a lovely show in its own right. See it if you can.
Posted by katrat on December 2, 2011 at 5:30 PM · Report this
We're performing for Edie tonight. It was sudden and very sad. She was an amazing talent and wonderful person.
Posted by EmilySavesTheDay on December 2, 2011 at 6:13 PM · Report this
Gurldoggie 6
For such a joyful place, SCT gets far more heartbreak than they deserve. I'm sorry to hear this sad news, and I sure hope things take a brighter shine in coming years for this local treasure of a theater.
Posted by Gurldoggie on December 2, 2011 at 9:11 PM · Report this
I have no words. I'm so sad to hear this, what a tremendous loss for the arts community, her family and everyone who knew her. I haven't seen Edie in years, but I've always kept very very warm feelings for her. What a unique talent, what a unique and wonderful woman. When I was starting out as a scenic painter a million years ago, Edie gave me some great opportunities and took me under her wing for a little while. I was thrilled when she invited me to work with her on a project for the ballet painting backdrops and she was the kindest, funniest, wisest and most generous teacher anyone could ever hope for. I treasured the time the two of us spent alone in the workspace padding around in our socks and making sure we had it all just right. Her generosity continued, and she passed work my way when she had the chance. I'm grateful to have known her.
Posted by JanetBB on December 3, 2011 at 10:53 AM · Report this
Rats; she was such a supportive, positive pro to me when I did the "Just So Stories" at Seattle Children's Theatre. I still treasure the little star and note she gave me and the cast on opening often I have thought of her note, "into the mouth of lions" so often when I dip my toe and self into the unknown, scarey parts of life....beloved Edi...
Posted by Donna Lindeman Porter http://Donna on December 3, 2011 at 11:14 AM · Report this

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