Andrew Samonsky is another rising performer who made his Broadway debut in the Tony Award Winning Revivial of Lincoln Center's "South Pacific" alongside Tony Award Winner Kelli O'Hara! Andrew then went on to star in the out of town try-out of "Little Miss Sunshine" at the La Jolla Playhouse in California and this past summer Andrew starred in world premier musical "Tales of the City" at ACT in San Francisco based upon the books by Armistead Maupin. "Tales of the City" had a book by Tony Award winner Jeff Whitty ("Avenue Q"), direction by Jason Moore ("Avenue Q" and "Shrek the Musical"), and music by the pop stars Jake Shears and John Garden of the Scissor Sisters. Prior to "South Pacific," Andrew was performing around the country in the National Tour of Disney's "On The Record" as well as in regional productions of "Falsettos" (opposite Malcom Gets and Jason Alexander), "White Christmas" (Denver Center), "Shenandoah" with Scott Bakula (Ford's Theater), "tick, tick...BOOM!" (LA Premiere), "Smokey Joe's Cafe," "Into The Woods," "Forever Plaid," and "Once Upon A Mattress." Andrew has also appeared on CBS' "The Guiding Light" and has been a guest soloist in concerts around the country, including many of award winning composer's Bobby Cronin!
Andrew can next be seen in the Transport Group's production of "Queen of the Mist," by 5-time Tony Award Nominee Michael John LaChiusa and starring Two-Time Tony Award Nominee Mary Testa. According to press notes, "Queen of the Mist" is based upon the true story of Anna Edson Taylor, who, in 1901 at the age of 63, set out to be the first woman to shoot Niagara Falls in a barrel of her own design. Navigating both the treacherous Falls and a fickle public with a ravenous appetite for sensationalism, this unconventional heroine vies for her legacy in a world clamoring with swindling managers, assassins, revolutionaries, moralizing family, anarchists and activists. Convinced that there is greatness in her and determined not to live as ordinary, she sets out to battle her fear and tempt her fate." "Queen of the Mist" will run from October 18-November 20 at The Gym at Judson (243 Thomspon Street at Washington Square Park). Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? As a kid, I used to take voice lessons for fun from a friend of the family, Linda Ottsen. I never practiced and, even more, did not like singing in public. I was a pretty shy kid. But after my first year of college, I was still at a loss for what do with my life. Linda wrote me a beautiful letter encouraging me to pursue a singing career and the rest is history. She has been my biggest supporter and I always credit her with my career. Thank you Linda!
2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Well, there are a ridiculous amount of talented people I would be honored to work with. I wish I could say Danny Burstein, but we did "South Pacific" together. I am in awe of that man. But, I think the best part about our business is going to a new job, meeting the people you don't know, and discovering all this talent you can't believe you never knew about. However, if Kate Winslet wanted to do a musical with me, I wouldn't say no.
3. What attracted you to "Queen of the Mist" and what do you hope audiences come away with after seeing it? What attracted me to QUEEN OF THE MIST was the fact that Michael John LaChiusa wrote it. I mean, he wrote the whole thing: the book, the music, and the lyrics. It's remarkable. Even better, I can safely say it's the best piece of musical theater I have ever worked on. It is the story of Anna Edson Taylor, who in 1901 became the first person to go over Niagara Falls and live. Wild, right? But the musical is a powerfully profound story of her decision to risk everything to find her place in the world. I hope everyone has the chance to come see it and be as moved as I was when we workshopped it last year.
4. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show and where is your favorite place to practice/rehearse on your own? I think that first preview where you get the show in front of a live audience is pretty special. To finally see how an audience reacts to all that rehearsal you've been doing is exciting and terrifying. And then to know that you get to come to come to rehearsal the next day and continue to improve the show and "test" it again. I mean, we do this for the audience. If they don't love it, we haven't done our jobs. But I'm hoping people are really gonna fall in love with QUEEN OF THE MIST. My favorite place to practice is in the bathroom. Always the best acoustics!
5. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? Well, as I said earlier, I was a pretty shy kid, and it took theater to crack the shell. Being an actor and an artist is an incredible journey of self exploration and life exploration. It opens you up to the world in every direction. I would hope it's made me very open minded and curious about everything. And working as an actor has made me a very grateful and very humble person, knowing how many other talented people there are on this planet.
6. Favorite way to spend your day off? A trip to the dog park with my Boston Terrier Louie!
7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Hitting the weights at the gym. I really need to do more cardio. And stretch!
8. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs, always.
10. "Glinda" or "Elphaba"? Fiyero? But I like Elphaba's songs best. The end of Act I is one of the most thrilling in musical theater, right?
11. What's the best advice you've ever received? Never try to be what you think they want you be. Be yourself. You are always more than enough.
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I would dream about my grandfathers. They both died when I was one, and would love to spend some more time with them.
13. What was the best part about being in "South Pacific" and in the out of town try outs of "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Tales of the City"? "South Pacific" was one of those once in a lifetime experiences. The best part about it was simply everything. There wasn't one piece of that production that wasn't exceptional, but the friends I made in that show are most special. "Little Miss Sunshine" was special because it was the first brand spanking new musical I've ever worked on. And to have it be a James Lapine/William Finn musical was pretty insane! "Tales of the City" was an awesome production with a lot of fuel behind it!
14. You have performed in several of Bobby Cronin's concerts over the years, singing with Kate Pazakis on "Come Here Boy." What is the best part about working with Kate and Bobby and what is about Bobby's music that speaks to you? It is always a treat to sing Bobby's music. There are two songs, "Come Here Boy" and "8:01," both which are from the same show, and they are both wonderful songs. It's his ability to tell the story (literal and emotional) in the song that makes him so good. And Kate is the perfect partner!