Students Shine in the Spotlight of Whittier College’s Theater Department

December 6, 2023

Cast of All in The TimingSouthern California is known for its ties to the entertainment industry.

In addition to the school’s small class sizes and personalized education, that is why J.J. Trimble attends Whittier College. The fourth-year student from San Mateo, California, caught the acting bug in a high school production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat after growing up listening to other Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals like The Phantom of the Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar.

“That is when I realized I wanted to perform for the rest of my life,” Trimble said. “I knew I wanted to be close to somewhere that had great connections and great faculty that could help me get to places where I want to be.”

Though he originally wanted to do musical theater, Trimble realized he could double major in music and theatre and communication arts with an emphasis on performance to receive more instruction and push from professors at Whittier. At the Department of Theatre, Film, and Communication Arts — and in private lessons — Trimble studies chamber and college choir, piano, composition, and more.

Trimble played three different characters in David Ives’ All in the Timing — which ended its run at Whittier’s Robinson Theatre on Sunday, Dec. 3 — having already taken to the stage in this semester’s Where Words Once Were. A play of six, one-act comedies, All in the Timing had him perform as a monkey in Words, Words, Words, a young man named Al in The Philadelphia, and Horace the mayfly in Time Flies.

Student Production of All in the TimingWhile All in the Timing was different from the musicals he is more accustomed to, Trimble enjoyed the physicality of it, such as swinging from tires and buzzing like a fly.

“We chose All in the Timing so our student actors could sink their teeth into some comedy,” Professor Katie Liddicoat, the show’s director, said. “We had a fantastically enthusiastic audience for opening night and were delighted to have the president of the college [Kristine Dillon ’73] in the crowd.” 

While eight student actors were on stage, even more worked behind the scenes on the production, from props and lighting prep to stage management, giving students various ways to participate in the entertainment industry.

Trimble is currently applying to various graduate schools to study vocal performance.

“I like singing and I think the school has really helped me push toward what I want to do,” Trimble said.

However, before he graduates, he’ll perform as con artist Frank Abagnale in Catch Me If You Can, The Musical in April at the Robinson Theatre, 6760 Painter Ave. For ticket information and reservations, contact Debra Eckloff at 562.907.4901.

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