Arts & Life
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This article was published 27/8/2010 (3706 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
He has been a beast, a crow, a soldier and now, Tyrell Witherspoon will portray a cheerleader.
Cast in the new CW network's "Hellcats", the Killarney native has moved from the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium stage to a TV set in Vancouver.
"The experience has been so exciting," Witherspoon said. "It's so funny that the show I auditioned for, that I didn't know much about, has turned into huge, what we hope to be a phenomenon."
Upon graduating from high school in 2004, finishing his dance classes at Dance Images and with one semester at Brandon University under his belt, Witherspoon moved to Winnipeg.
"I decided that a BA was great, but I wanted to perform more. That was my passion and what I wanted to do all along," he said.
Cast in the Rainbow Stage production of "Beauty and the Beast," he also did a lot of dance teaching and worked on other musicals.
"I established myself and got my name out there and was really fortunate to have great people around me who took me under their wing in a city that I didn't know a lot," he said of his time in Winnipeg. "I was successful for myself and happy doing what I was doing."
As well, he tried out for "So You Think You Can Dance Canada" and CBCs "Triple Sensation."
This past April and May, he was cast in Edmonton's The Citadel Theatre's production of "Beauty and The Beast."
When the show ended, he headed to Vancouver for a short vacation.
Thinking of only spending a month there, he was intrigued by an audition possibility for the new television series.
"I needed to challenge myself and was thinking that Winnipeg was getting comfortable and it was time for me to go somewhere where I didn't know many people and where I could jump start my career and take the next step," he said.
He had landed a part in this summer's Rainbow Stage production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," but after the TV audition, he had to quickly decide which gig to pick.
"Hellcats" stars Ashley Tisdale of "High School Musical" fame and Disney star Aly Michalka.
"I decided to throw my hat in and go to the audition. I've never done cheerleading in my life, but I've been a gymnast, so tumbling and dancing are up my alley," the performer said. "I got a call back, then it was down to the wire, the last week before I had to decide whether I was going to fly home to Winnipeg or stay in Vancouver to do this show."
Throwing caution to the wind, he withdrew from the Rainbow Stage show three days before rehearsals and that very evening got the call for "Hellcats."
"It was a really fast-paced, stressful turn of events, but everything happens for a reason. It all worked out and I couldn't happier that I made that decision," he said.
Though a little star-struck the first day on set, he quickly got used to being one of Tisdale's cheerleading partner.
"If you've seen 'High School Musical,' Ashley is one of the leads. I knew who she was. Working with her that day was kind of crazy," he said. "I worked up close with her in the routine because we were side by side or I was lifting or catching her. It was a little insane to put everything into perspective: Last year, I was in Winnipeg teaching students and now, I'm in rehearsals for a TV show that's on a U.S. network."
"Hellcats" will premiere at 8 p.m. on Sept. 8, on the CW network as well as CTV.
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