The Samaras Sentinel
Online Issue No. 1, Fall 2000
The Sentinel is a watcher, a witness, a never sleeping observer...with a weakness for music theater and a soft spot for the Samaras studio. Whenever and wherever Samaras singers perform, the Sentinel reports. Readers with a historical perspective may recall the Samaras Sentinel once circulated on paper. Welcome to the new Sentinel online!
Featured Singer
EVAN PAPPAS. In this issue of the Samaras Sentinel we salute Evan, whose Off-Broadway performance (Collaborative Arts Project 21, Inc.) in The Immigrant recently drew praise from the New York Times. As Haskell Harelik, the title character, he began the show singing, appropriately, “The Stars,” and proceeded to develop a plucky survivor whom we witness arriving in the U.S. with no English -- how did you learn all that Yiddish, Evan? -- and aging in a convincing fashion from youth to a successful businessman and the father of grown sons. A SEMMY (Sentinel Emmy) to Evan Pappas for his tour-de-force acting and singing! When they dealt Talent, Evan got a hand with three aces, and his singing, dancing and acting have taken him to Broadway (Paul in A Chorus Line,Benjy, the lead role, in My Favorite Year,Britt Craig in the Hal Prince Production of Parade,and most recently, the Observer in Putting It Together with Carol Burnett) and London’s West End (Young Buddy in Follies,Charley in Merrily We Roll Along and Sunday With Sondheim). Critical acclaim has come to Evan in the Helen Hayes Award for Best Actor (Harry, Lucky Stiff,Olney Theater, Baltimore), the L.A. Dramalogue Award for his performance in Durante,and the Outer Critics’ Best Actor nomination (Harry Bogen, I Can Get It For You Wholesale,American Jewish Theater). Additional Off-Broadway productions, national tours, regional theater and commercial work have also brought Evan before the public in an enviable career that makes us proud to name him the first Featured Singer in this maiden issue of the Sentinel online. Those wishing to experience Evan’s vocal artistry can hear him on cast recordings of Parade,My Favorite Year, Lucky Stiff,Merrily We Roll Along (London) and Follies (London).
Stephanie\'s Stars Shine
REGINA AHLGREN - Regina, who performs in Saturday Night Fever on Broadway, added an activity to fill her days this! That’s “A” for Ahlgren!
SARAH ANDERSON - Presently playing Mick’s Pick on the National Tour of Steel Pier. Sneak a peak, no, steal a peer at the Sentinal on your laptop, Sarah!
JULIE BECKHAM - At the Forestburg Playhouse in the NY Catskills (Her favorite vocal exercise is “fat cat, fat cat, fat cat.” That’s a Cat Skill!) she was Ellie in Showboat. Julie must have been engaging, because she’s going to marry the lighting designer, Scott Clyve.
ANDY BLANKENBUEHLER - A Broadway standout, Andy moved from Fosse (he sang “Bo Jangles”) to his current engagement, a featured role in Saturday Night Fever. Somehow he also found time to choreograph Red, Hot and Cole at the Goodspeed Opera House. Pretty!
CAITLIN CARTER - What can you say about one of the most talented singer/dancers on The Great White Way? Well, in addition to appearing as a featured dancer in Swing on Broadway...She choreographs commercials for Victoria’s Secret...Was a featured performer in President Carter’s “Habitat for Humanity” concert at Avery Fisher Hall in October...And featured on NBC Live performing “Blues in the Night” in the program “Broadway on Broadway.” I guess what you can say is, “Whew!”
MARK CHMIEL - It was a busy summer for Mark, playing Lucky in Dames At Sea at the Hangar Theater in Ithaca, NY and doing a stint on All My Children in a featured role, Craig. No soap for Chmiel for the moment, though, ’cause he’s in the new review, Everything’s Ducky,written by Krieger and Russell (Side Show).
JUSTIN DANIEL - After guest appearances on Comedy Central’s “Strangers with Candy” in the spring, this past summer he played Doody in Grease at the Ogunquit, Maine Playhouse. Candy, grease...what’s next?
RON DESTEFANO - Busy Tenorino. Last spring Ron received rave reviews as Eugene in Westchester’s B’way Theater production of Grease. This past summer he was Linus in Charlie Brown at the Lyceum Theater in Sugar Loaf, NY, and presently he’s in Rochester, NY playing Ethan in the new contemporary musical, Convenience at the Geva Theater. Go, Ron, go!
AMANDA DUBOIS - Just completed a run of MacBeth as Lady McDuff at the Pulse Theater in NYC. Other cast members lost their voices screaming every night, but those voice lessons paid off for Lady McDuff. Hey, don’t brag that Stephanie taught you to scream, Amanda!
STEVE FABRIZIO - The “Tony Bennett of 2000” spent the summer in Providence, RI at Theater By the Sea playing Lt.Brannigan and covering Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls and doing both Lt.Shrank and Mr. Gladhand in West Side Story. This fall he is back in NY attending to his personal training business and gearing up for Las Vegas, where he will record a CD of the music of Stuart S.James and perform in his own show “Las Vegas Hit Parade.”
MELISSA GIATTINO - Triple threat Giattino is punishing those taps and they’re begging for mercy. Her tap act with Richard Schwartz, called Giattino and Schwartz (I guess that says it all), has received rave reviews and will be performed in upstate New York in November.
CHRIS GREGORY - Currently Assistant Choreographer (to Scott Wise - see ALUMNI NEWS) on A Class Act at the Manhattan Theater Club. You ARE a class act, Chris!
LESLIE ANN HENDRICKS - Continues to get tremendous response from her performance as Petra in A Little Night Music with the Houston Grand Opera. The I.C.C. (Industrial Career Component) has taken her to Tucson (U.S. Surgical) and Orlando (Advance Auto Parts) recently. And why not? Leslie Ann has the Samaras Industrial Strength belt voice.
JEAN HUGHES - A member of the Love Creek Productions company, the indispensable Jean is currently playing Alice, the lead, in their current offering, Unsuspecting Turnips,in NYC. The Big Apple also saw Jean twice in the summer in the duo roles of Cathy/Velben in Past Tense Feminine Gender for the Chermuchin Theater and Laney in Laney’s Gift for Creative Productions.
BARBARA IRVINE (Studio Maestra) - Baseball: Build it and they will come. Theater: Dream it up, develop it, produce it, star in it, sell it and hope they will come. Barbara’s original and wonderful concert, “The Other Side of Broadway,” just received it’s first out-of-town performance in Chambersburg, PA. Charles Strouse (Bye, Bye, Birdie) even made a guest appearance playing his own music. Way to go, Babs!
MARC KESSLER - A summer in East Haddam for Marc where he was in George M. at the Goodspeed Opera House, and now back to NYC to workshop a new musical based on two one-acts based on John Cheever’s stories. (Call Marc a Cheever achiever.)
MOLLY MEG LEGAL - Annie’s on the road and so is Molly...covering Lily and doing ensemble in the Network tour of the cartoon that gave work to thousands.
MARK MARTINO - Was Vince Fontiane in Westchester B’way’s spring production of Grease, and this summer he brought his singing and dancing to opera as Dick McGann in the Chatauqua Opera Festival’s production of Street Scene by Kurt Weill. Mark also just returned safely from the land of the cheeseheads as a guest artist in a Milwaukee Symphony’s pop concert. Most impressive!
MARY McCATTY - Preparing young dancers for the NY experience is the goal of the NY Dance Workshop which Mary has founded with Deanna Ford (Samaras Alum). For the second year in a row Mary is also preparing her noteworthy Dance Calendar. (Put your orders in now for 2001!) In her “spare time” she is choreographing Steel Pier for a production in Fairlawn, NJ and teaching dance.
IRA MITCHELL - Ira’s outstanding work as composer-in-residence with the National Theater for the Deaf is yielding a CD, “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t,” (Available in major record stores in time for Christmas. And guess the identity of a background singer. Hint, initials S.S.) and a new score for The Curse of Sleepy Hollow,opening at the Bushnell Theater in Hartford, CT in October.
CYNDI NEAL - Cyndi withdrew from the National Tour of Ragtime where she was Emma Goldman, because she and husband Michael are producing...a baby. Congratulations Cyndi and Michael!
BEN POLOGE - Performing the Phantom in the Yeston/Kopit Phantom of the Opera in Summer Point, NJ. Also has composed, orchestrated and performed the music for a production of Hamlet running this fall. Wow, can he dance, too?
SARA RIDBERG - Sara has landed the role of Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol at the Ford Theater in Washington, D.C...after only three lessons with Stephanie. Wow!
TONIANNE ROBINSON - A standout as Prudence/Topsy in New York’s recent Cotton Blossom Production revival of Bloomer Girl. (When it comes back, isn’t it Bloomerang Girl? Groan...)
VICKI SCHNUR - Touring in Barry Manilow's new musical, Cococabana, in ensemble and covering Lola, the lead. (Gotta love Barry...from Coca Cola to Cococabana.)
KATHY SHIMETA - Soloist in November with the Choral Arts Society of Westchester in Tarrytown, NY in the "Brahms Alto Rhapsody." (Composed back when rap was Rhap.)
TAMLYN SHUSTERMAN - Was seen on Broadway as Gorgeous Ednaette #2 in Dame Edna. This summer she played a leading role in the new production of Urban Cowboy directed by Phil Oesterman, and this winter the Rockette rejoins the high kicking company in the Radio City Christmas Show. The new year rings in with Tamlyn in the Roundabout Theater’s production of Follies. Tired yet? Well, she’s her spare time she’s writing and producing her own top show.
ALLYSON TURNER - Allyson, who spent most of the ’99-’00 season touring with Petula Clark in Sunset Boulevard,was a star at Casa Manana in Fort Worth this summer where she played Angel in Best Little Whorehouse,Mary Jane in Big River and Violet in the new musical, Violet. (Roses are red, violets are...Turner?)
LORNA VENTURA - Congratulations to Lorna on her new baby girl, Chloe! And also on having her screenplay chosen to be produced by the Independent Future Market Producers. Happy beginnings!
COURT WHISMAN - After spending the summer at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,this fall he is back in New York in Patricia Brook’s workshop of King’s Island Christmas. In Jan. 2001 Court will recreate his role from the National Tour of By Jeeves at the Pittsburgh Public Theater. (Keep a stiff upper lip, Court, but not while you’re singing!)
NOAM WEINSTEIN - Performing in various Manhattan clubs every other weekend with his trio. In November he will be recording a new EP. (Do you know what an EP is?)
CAP Kids
What did you do over the summer? Well, the Sentinel caught Stephanie’s students from New York University’s CAP 21 in the following theatricals and has an inside line on some to come.
CHERYL DOWLING - Sometimes plans change. Cheryl was going to go home to CA and work in a store, but, well, she ended up in a new musical of the movie Gidget at the Margaret Webb Theater in Los Alomitos, CA directed by none other than Francis Ford Coppola!
CRISTIN BOYLE - After half of the summer as an intern in the MCC Theater Manhattan class company, Cristin went on to a professional gig in the ensemble at the Merry Go Round Playhouse in Auburn, NY.
NIKKI JAMES - Will be playing the role of Sabina Temple in the Roundabout Theater’s production of Tom Sawyer,directed by Scott Ellis. (Extracurricular...and Extra Busy! Who needs sleep anyway?)
LINDSAY LUSHER - This summer she played Miss Maypole in The Fish Pirate’s Daughter produced by the First City Players of Ketchikan, Alaska. (Alaska...who besides Lindsay gets jet lag just coming back to school?)
CHRISTINA MATTEUCCI - Was accepted into Fourth Year Practicum at CAP and began the semester as one of the “Angel City Four” (making her Samaras Studio Angel?) in City of Angels in performance this October. After that she will be working on her one-woman show for the end of the semester.
NICOLE ZUCHELLI - Played the role of Flossie in Untangling The Mane for the Tisch School Dramatic Writing Program at NYU. Behind the scenes she is the youngest SAG member ever voted to serve on the nominating committee. For SAG she is also Vice Chair of the Young Performers’ Committee and Editor-in-Chief of “Roll Film,” the first Young Performer’s newsletter. Do you think she’s a good person to know?
Alumni and Friends
CIRO BARBARO - Presently playing the role of Dr. Seward in Dracula at the Hermosa Beach Playhouse in California. He will also participate in two staged readings by six-time Emmy winning writer, Mark Saltzman, Mephisto and Romeo, Romeo. (Ciro, Ciro, you’re so far away!)
RICHARD BOWER - The great maestro’s living in Portland, OR and as busy as the dad of two dachshunds can be! Between teaching at the University of Portland and serving as Music Director and Conductor for The Musical Theatre Company of Portland, he manages to find time for private coaching with Portland’s best and brightest. Next summer will see “Maestro Riccardo” coaching at Bel Canto Northwest Festival.
SHARON MARONEY and DANNY MURPHY - Soon to celebrate its tenth anniversary, their thriving Broadway Rose Theater continues its contributions to the cultural life of Greater Portland, OR in both summer and children’s theater. This summer they produced Grease,Baby and the The World Goes Round,with next summer’s plans including Phantom,The Odd Couple and a new musical called Bingo. Blue ribbon for Sharon and Danny!
TIA SPEROS - Recently sang Agnes Nolan, the second wife of George M. in the eponymous (yikes! eponymous?) musical at the Goodspeed Opera House. Tia also did a guest spot in "Out of the Box" on the Disney Show Channel and performed as "Mom" in Believe, an Independent Short Film.
SHOREY WALKER - Currently performing the title role in a national tour of Peter Pan. Shorey just won't grow up! Catch her aerial act at NJPAC in Newark in early November.
SCOTT WISE - Still “Razzle-Dazzling” them in Fosse on Broadway. Scott is turning his great Emmy award-winning experience on Broadway into choreography...debuting with A Class Act for the Manhattan Theater Club. The future, choreography-“Wise,” includes productions of Comedy of Errors and Leader of the Pack.
JAY ZIMMERMAN - The former studio maestro was commissioned to write a new musical called Menu which we hope will be premiering in 2001. Where would we be without composers of note(s)?
And there you have it, A through Z! And remember, if you study with Stephanie Samaras, the Sentinel is watching you! (So do your vocalises and listen to your lesson tapes.)