The Crown Returns to The Capstone

Miss Alabama builds “confidence of performing” in UA theatre productions

Callie Walker, a senior majoring in musical theatre at UA, was crowned Miss Alabama June 9.

By David Miller

As a Miss Alabama legacy, Callie Walker has long embraced the nuances of pageant competitions and the hard work and focus needed to deliver perfect performances.

Walker starred in UA theatre’s “Sweeney Todd” in the spring.

She’s a former Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen and Miss University of Alabama and was crowned Miss Alabama on Saturday, June 9. Her mother, Angela Tower Walker, was Miss Alabama 1985.

Angela has taught Callie ballet since she was a child and choreographed her classical ballet performance during Saturday’s competition.

Callie and Angela are the only mother and daughter to have both been crowned Miss Alabama.

“I couldn’t ask for a better mom and the best Miss Alabama sister,” Callie said. “It’s pretty cool.”

Callie’s pageant successes can also be attributed to her theater background, particularly at UA, where the senior-to-be starred in “A Chorus Line” in spring 2017 and “Sweeney Todd” in spring 2018. Callie said performing in UA productions helps build her confidence each time she takes the pageant stage.

“It’s nerve-wracking every time you go out there,” she said. “But with that, I have gained the skills that I can go out on the Miss Alabama stage and talk about something that I might be uncomfortable talking about, like a political event or something in the news. It’s all about the confidence of performing on stage and just being comfortable in the skin I’m in, and I’m thankful for what the University has given me so far.”

Callie said she developed a greater perspective in how to prepare for roles after working with directors Seth Panitch, head of acting at UA, and Stacy Alley, director of musical theater, on “Sweeney Todd” and “A Chorus Line,” respectively.

“Each of their processes were very different and taught me a lot,” Callie said. “Both [productions] were musicals, but how they approached the process was very different. Seth was about character analysis and getting down to the bones of what the characters are about. Stacy Alley has such a background in dance, and ‘A Chorus Line’ is all about dancing.”

A ton of glass

Miss Alabama talks about recycling (video)

Miss Alabama is a welcome visitor to recycling facilities in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. Callie has collected and delivered over a ton of glass to the recycling centers in both cities to “show that communities can come together and make a difference.”

Recycling powers her pageant platform, “Let’s Talk Trash – Green Kids for a Green Planet.” Through it she has worked to teach children in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa the “three Rs” of sustainability: reduce, reuse and recycle. She is excited to expand her platform across the state.

“My parents instilled it in me, and my grandparents instilled it in my parents,” she said. “So it’s been passed down from generation to generation, which is the ultimate goal with my platform.”

Dreaming ahead

Callie’s Miss Alabama duties will require her to take a year off from school at UA, and she  is already acclimating to the busy schedule of Miss Alabama.

“We had maybe three hours of sleep [pageant] night, then I got up the next morning and had interviews with TV, and I’ve had them every day since,” she said. “I actually got a nap on Sunday, and I’ve heard it’s really rare [for Miss Alabama] to get a nap the day after they were crowned.

“I’m just excited to meet the people of Alabama, and have the opportunity to hear their stories and share my story with them.”

After Callie returns to UA and finishes her degree, she looks forward to a theater career. She once dreamed of playing the lead role in “Anastasia,” which premiered on Broadway two years ago. But her ambitions shifted once her sister Scarlett, a 2016 UA theatre graduate, began starring in the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of “Carousel.”

“Seeing her perform, I would want to be in any show where I’d have the opportunity to perform alongside my sister,” Callie said. “It was a dream come true for her as well as my family, and it’s been an awesome journey to follow.”

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.