Can't Help Falling in Love With: Katie Debs

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Katie Debs joins MPT for her second season as Natalie (also known as Ed) in All Shook Up! Natalie falls hard for the hip-shaking, guitar-playing roustabout, and decides to disguise herself as “Ed” to get to know him better. What ensues next is musical theater comedy at its best! Keep reading to learn more about Katie, her first theatrical experience, and how she tackled playing someone of the opposite sex.

What was the first musical you were ever in?

The first musical I was ever in was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  I want to say this was 1999 or early 2000's, the summer before I started sixth grade. My mom had suggested I audition for a Middleton summer recreation program, directed by Ken Urso. I had never even walked into the high school before, and somehow I was supposed to find the choir room and sing in front of strangers?  Well long story short, I got in! I was the color purple in the children's choir and had the very important task of picking up the prop ears of corn after the wives threw it. I was hooked! That summer I made friends from different schools, memorized so many darn colors and learned incredible skills and discipline that would help me in the years to come.

Tell us a little bit about playing Natalie and her alter-ego Ed.

Developing the character Natalie has come naturally, but creating Ed has been a different story.  Working on his posture, voice, and mannerisms has been a welcomed challenge.  Our Director, Musical Director, Choreographer and I collaborated to construct Ed. And I'm pretty proud of who he has turned out to be. As much as I love working on dark or tortured characters, it sure is a delight to perform in a comedy where everyone is falling in love with each other!  

What are you most looking forward to with your performances of All Shook Up?

The thing I am most looking forward to about this show is hearing the audience's reactions each night. I love to hear laughs, the gasps and even some "awws".  This story has so much feel-good energy in it that it's hard to image anyone sitting still in their seats, and they'll definitely be singing in the car on their way home. 

What advice would you pass on to other young actors?

When they say "there are no small parts, only small actors," they really mean it.  Someone is always listening, whether that is a cast member, production staff, or impressionable young person.  So do your part to set a good example and come prepared.  It matters.  Also, always be 15 min early, and bring lots of water! 

See Katie take the stage as Natalie/Ed June 27-30 in All Shook Up! Tickets are available at