BROADWAY beckons for a former Stratford College student who is pursuing her dreams of stage stardom in New York.
Samantha Stevens started treading the boards at Warwick Arts Centre as a starry-eyed six-year-old.
And having been cast in an off-Broadway production of The Handmaid’s Musical – a parody concert version of The Handmaid’s Tale – she is well on her way to achieving her dreams.
The 28-year-old, who was born and bred in Rugby before studying in Stratford, says she got into acting so young that she doesn’t remember wanting to be on stage – she can only remember being on one.
Samantha told The Observer: “My grandma introduced me to musicals, and my nan regularly took me to the ballet and pantomime too. I don’t think I’ve ever known anything different.”
She joined Warwick-based Playbox Theatre via Rugby Theatre in 1997 when she was just six, which soon led to her first role in The Red Shoes at Warwick Arts Centre.
Aged 19 she was accepted at the London College of Music, so headed off to the capital.
She left London in 2016 to study musical theatre at the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in the heart of Manhattan.
After months of juggling multiple jobs to raise funds, and winning a generous scholarship, she boarded the plane – and has been flying high ever since.
“The Americans live, breathe and sleep their careers and passion – especially the performers. Just about everyone here is talented, so it’s what else you do that makes you stand out and book work.
“This passion and energy is what I crave, and where I finally feel like I fit in.”
Since graduating from AMDA, she has helped develop new musicals for Broadway, worked with creatives from Broadway hit show Waitress, been mentored by stars such as Eddie Korbich and Forbidden Broadway’s David Caldwell, and regularly sings in jazz clubs across the city.
For her next project, which will launch during International Women’s Month in March, she will star as main character Offred in The Handmaid’s Musical.
“I am a huge fan of the Margaret Atwood novel and the TV show, so I am honored to be representing this strong, independent and kick-ass lady.”
Samantha says working in the home of musical theatre has taught her so much, and is something she has wished for since she was a little girl – but she has even higher hopes for the future.
Her ultimate career goals are to star in a Broadway show and work first-hand with Steven Sondheim.