When her co-star Sandra Bullock racked up an Oscar nomination and nabbed both a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild for her role in the locally shot “The Blindside” this awards season, native Atlantan Libby Whittemore resisted the urge to take a bow in her living room.
Whittemore has two scenes in “The Blindside” as a school teacher who confronts Bullock’s real-life mama bear Leigh Anne Tuohy when she tries to enroll her adopted son and future NFL football great Michael Oher.
“When she won the SAG Award, I told everyone, ‘Quiet, she’s about to say my name!’ ” cracks Whittemore.
Coincidentally, over the years, the cabaret performer and actress has also shared scenes with Bullock in 1999’s “Forces of Nature” and 1992’s “Love Potion No. 9.”
Dishes Whittemore to Intel: “I like to think of myself as Sandy’s good luck charm. In addition to the Academy adding five more films to the ‘Best Picture’ category this year, they’ve also added a category for ‘Best Performance By an Actress With Less Than 10 Lines.’ A lot of people don’t know that. I’d like to think my performance in ‘The Blindside’ inspired them to add it.”
Naturally, when she caught a screening of the Oscar-nominated football family flick recently, Whittemore stayed for the credits.
“I always look to see if they spell my name right,” she says. “I actually got a promotion. When we shot the scenes, my character was ‘Teacher No. 2’ and in the credits I’m listed as ‘Sarcastic Teacher.’ It was a real stretch for me.”
Wisecracks aside, what’s not a stretch for the popular performer is racking up another set of hit appearances at Actor’s Express.
Tickets are going fast for the singer’s latest, “So Many Composers, So Little Time” with Lisa Paige and Shawn Megorden, a revue celebrating the songbooks of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen. The show opened Thursday night at the downtown theater and continues at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Whittemore credits Actor’s Express artistic director Freddie Ashley for giving her the ongoing Actor’s Express Caberet Series each season after the closing of her Libby’s Cabaret nightclub on Northside Parkway in 2007.
“I’m so grateful that there’s a theater in Atlanta that appreciates this,” the singer says. “And the nice thing is, it’s growing. When I look out in the audience now, it’s not just the Libby’s Cabaret regulars anymore. I think it has to do with the strength of the material. These standards stand the test of time. There’s a reason people still buy Frank Sinatra albums.”
In “So Many Composers,” Whittemore opens the show with a 500-measure Porter medley arranged by her longtime musical director and pal Robert Strickland.
“I have no idea how we get through it!” she marvels. “It’s just jam-packed.”
Another Porter selection she loves performing in the show?
“Down in the Depths,” a lesser known tune he wrote for a revue back in the 1930s.
Previews Whittemore: “It’s got this wonderful tongue-in-cheek line about being ‘down in the depths on the 90th floor.’ It’s about living in a penthouse but having no one. It’s just a great song.”
“So Many Composers, So Little Time” runs through Sunday at Actor’s Express. For tickets and show times go to actors-express.com.