Get to Know TEDxBroadway Speaker Wesley Whatley
Editor’s note: Before we once again ask, “What Is the Best Broadway Can Be?” on Monday, February 22, we’re asking our TEDxBroadway 2016 speakers to tell us a little more about themselves.
Wesley Whatley has served for the last decade as a member of the Macy’s Parade and Entertainment Group’s creative team. He’s responsible for developing and producing musical scores, creating original music and overseeing performance programs for the company’s iconic national events, including Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks.
In 2008, Wesley composed “I Believe” with lyrics by William Schermerhorn as a featured performance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, performed by Kermit the Frog. The song was nominated for a 2008 Daytime Entertainment Emmy Award and got its Carnegie Hall debut in 2009 performed by the New York Pops. In 2010, his song “Yes, Virginia (There Is a Santa Claus)” appeared in the annual Parade and won the Daytime Entertainment Emmy in the Outstanding Original Song category. Based on the success of this work, Whatley also composed the music for Yes, Virginia The Musical, a project supporting public school theater programs.
Whatley is also an active songwriter and performer in New York City.
If you could get everyone working on Broadway to read one thing, what would it be?
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. Her prose is beautiful, and I read it about once a year for inspiration.
What’s another profession you’ve had?
My first job was at the Magic Kingdom as a dancer in Cinderella’s court. I’m not a terribly great dancer, but it was a carefree, magical summer with days full of parades and fireworks — I mean at age 21, how can you beat that?
What was the first Broadway show you ever saw?
My dad gave me a trip to NYC for my 16th birthday. We saw Cats, Victor Victoria and Les Misérables.
What’s No. 1 on your bucket list?
Patagonia. I’ll marry the first man who offers me that trip.
Who would play you in the theatrical telling of your life’s story?
Probably Kermit the Frog. Growing up in the South, I always felt a little out of place — a little “green” — and I’m pretty sure Kermit would do an honest job.