Mae Whitman Opens Up About New Show ‘Up Here’

Mae Whitman has had almost every type of role throughout her long career — but her new Hulu show Up Here gave her something new.

“I can do anything in front of the camera, I don’t care. I don’t even notice it’s there. I cry, I’m naked, I die, whatever,” Whitman, 34, told the Post.

“But when it comes to singing, it feels like I’m baring my soul and I’m completely vulnerable and scared. That’s why I wanted to do this job. There’s not much left to do out there that scares me. If I don’t want to do something, there’s probably a reason – and I should find out what it is and do it. There is growth to be had there.”

Up Here is a musical rom-com premiering Friday, March 24 and set in 1999 in New York City. It follows aspiring writer Lindsay who moves to the city to follow her dreams and cross paths with businessman Miguel (Carlos Valdes, “The Flash”). All the while belting out original songs in the style of a vintage Broadway production.

Mae Whitman stands on stage with arms outstretched in front of a microphone and a glittering curtain.
Mae Whitman in Up Here.

Lindsay (Mae Whitman) and Miguel (Carlos Valdes) in "Up here" face each other with a smile.
Lindsay (Mae Whitman) and Miguel (Carlos Valdes) in Up Here.

Whitman is a former child star who has appeared in a variety of projects including Arrested Development, Parenthood, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Independence Day and Good Girls. For that reason, the world of the Manhattan show in the ’90s wasn’t new to her, she said.

“I’m a California girl through and through, but I feel stimulated in New York in a way that I just can’t get here,” she said.

“I shot my first film in New York when I was 6 years old. It was an amazing way to experience it, I was young but I signed up for it. It was a film with George Clooney [“One Fine Day.”] We ran around and had fun and I went there with my family. I got the full New York experience at a time when I absorbed a lot of information. It was that exciting time when everyone wore trench coats and everything was kitschy and a little more analog.

“Because I’ve been working since I was a kid, the late ’90s was my formative time, I still have a lot of that nostalgia walking around. In LA we tear everything down when it’s getting old, and in New York they build on that. I love that feeling, there is always something new to discover. It feels like a big character in the movie of my life.”

Carlos Valdes and Mae Whitman present "Up here" smiling in a library.
Carlos Valdes and Mae Whitman in Up Here.

Mae Whitman and John Reynolds present "Up here" sit at a dining table.
Mae Whitman and John Reynolds in Up Here.

Mae Whitman and Carlos Valdes present "Up here" climbing on a fence that says "no trespassing."
Mae Whitman and Carlos Valdes in Up Here.

The show isn’t Whitman’s first time singing in public, but “Up Here” marks her first time in a major musical role.

“I sang on ‘Parenthood’ on occasion because my character — her journey was similar to mine in that singing was terrifying,” she said.

Mae Whitman smiles.
Mae Whitman as Lindsay in Up Here.

“I was vulnerable and scared, and this show reflected real life. I have a scene where I did an open mic night and everyone comes. And it really was like that – the whole “Parenthood” family was there, the crew, some of my family and friends came [to set]. So it wasn’t like ‘go act’. It really felt like a big moment for me and my support system. I felt so much love and support and kindness that it was a good way for me to start the idea of ​​singing in front of the camera.

“Usually after the audition you go straight to the bar and have a drink because you’re depressed, but for this audition [for ‘Up Here’]I was proud of myself, like, ‘This level is unlocked.’” Mae Whitman Opens Up About New Show ‘Up Here’

Emma Bowman

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