Former Toledoan plays Agent P in ‘Phineas and Ferb Live!’Written by Jason Mack | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Tiffany Westfall left home four years ago as a college student studying physical therapy. On Sept. 3, she’ll return as a secret agent platypus when “Phineas and Ferb Live!” plays at the SeaGate Centre.
“My family and I have been counting down the days for more than a month,” Westfall said. “Even though I’m only home for about 12 hours, it’s exciting to get to see my family. We’re going to be in Fort Wayne next month, and I’ll get to come home for a couple days before we’re back out on the road again.”
Westfall plays Agent P, also known as Perry the Platypus, who leads a double life as Phineas and Ferb’s pet and as a secret agent. Perry frequently battles with mad scientist Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz.
“Agent P is an action hero who performs acrobatic stunts throughout the show to foil Dr. Doofenshmirtz’ plans,” she said. “He scales buildings and picks on ninjas. It’s really exciting.”
The show includes many flips and other stunts as well as 14 songs from the show and one new song.
“They have high-energy shows,” Westfall said. “It helps keep my high energy focused somewhere. I get to use the talent I learned in school with gymnastics in the shows. It’s exciting to be able to use those talents after high school.”
Westfall is used to the stunts after studying at the Northwest Ohio Gymnastics Academy in Napoleon. She also coached there and continues to coach gymnastics during breaks from performing.
After attending Liberty Center High School, Westfall studied physical therapy at Owens Community College before heading to Orlando.
“I was looking for college scholarships after I graduated high school and saw Disney had a program called the college program where you got scholarships for working at Disney,” she said. “I applied for that, but it was too late to get involved for that semester. My dad suggested going down and seeing if I could work there anyway. I hopped on a plane, went down and got hired.”
Westfall often follows her dad’s advice and said she views her parents as role models.
“Both of my parents have really strong work ethic,” she said. “Because they both work really hard, I have learned that putting dedication into your work will get you places. Having good work ethic rewards you.”
After working at Disney for a few months, Westfall was rewarded with an audition with Feld Entertainment for Disney Live. After four months with no response, she returned home to go back to college before getting hired in 2008.
“I’ve loved every minute,” she said. “When I first started, I was one of those people that said I’d just do one contract. Here I am signing my fourth contract. I think I’m going to stop saying that. I’ll just wait and see where life takes me.”
Westfall has performed in “Mickey’s Magic Show,” “Playhouse Disney Live!” and “Disney Live! Winnie the Pooh” since joining Feld
“I feel really blessed to have a job I love where I get to play dress-up and make people happy every day,” she said.
Another role model in Westfall’s life is Sallie Rego, her performance director from “Winnie the Pooh Live!”
“She is one of the most amazing people I have ever met,” Westfall said. “She also has amazing work ethic, and her happiness is contagious. Having a little bubble of happiness running around the building as your boss is really inspirational.”
Since Westfall started working for Disney, her family has taken a special interest in Disney shows, particularly “Phineas and Ferb.” She is trying to convert her nephew into a fan, but he is too young to truly appreciate the show, she said.
“After I started working at Disney, my family started paying attention to the Disney Channel a little bit more,” she said. “My younger sister is 16, but I have a nephew who is 5 months old, so we’re trying to get him started young. It’s a good show for the whole family.”
Westfall said the most difficult part of touring nationally and internationally is being away from her family. However, she enjoys the experience and loves to go sightseeing when there is time.
“It’s exciting getting to travel around the country and the world,” she said. “You go to sleep on the bus, and you wake up the next day in a different city. Sometimes you don’t even know what state you’re in. You have to check the license plates nearby to see where you’re at. I’ve been to plenty of countries thanks to Feld Entertainment. You get to know your coworkers really well. They are sort of a family away from home. I have friends and adopted family from all over the world now.”
This sense of family has caused Westfall to delay her dream of performing in Cirque du Soleil.
“I really have put the Cirque du Soleil dream on hold, because this job is exciting for me,” she said. “I really like what I’m doing. If something comes along in the future I’d love it, but for now, this is really making me happy.”
While she is happy to be performing, Westfall plans to eventually continue her education and become a physical therapist.
“When my body decides it is done performing, that is something I would like to do,” she said.
Another native Toledoan, Alyson Stoner, lends her voice to the recurring character Isabella on “Phineas and Ferb.” Stoner told Toledo Free Press in December that working in an animated role, she gets to surrender all her inhibitions and act wacky, often jumping around the studio.
“It’s so neat to tell a story through your voice. On camera many actors try to tell a story without speaking. [For ‘Phineas and Ferb’] there’s only a microphone to capture what you share,” she said.
Stoner said she enjoys watching the shows after they’re completed to see how all the components came together.
“I’m one small minuscule detail of the show. I love to see the animators work. They make magic with their hands each and every day,” she said.
“Phineas and Ferb Live!” plays shows Sept. 3 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the SeaGate Centre located at 401 Jefferson Ave. Ticket prices range from $14 to $45.