The Samaras Sentinel
Online Issue No. 5, Summer 2007
The Sentinel Spotlight
The Engen Twins, Brooke and Tiffany.  The Engen twins take hairspray to the bank.  Brooke plays Hairspray on B’wy as Dance Captain and Swing; and both she and Tiffany appeared in the movie, as Noreen and Doreen in the Corny Collins Show segment.  Wow, double trouble!  (Hairspray, the movie, opens July 20.)  Bon chance, girls, and you were seen promoting it at Showest and on "Oprah"!  Life is a merry-go-round, and it also found the terrific twins modeling on the "Rachel Ray Show" twice!  There’s a one-two punch.  Grass doesn’t grow under their feet, and we can find Tiffany playing Heather in the Off-B’way show, Awesome 80's Prom.
Rachel Helson.  B’way’s youngest producer!  In April she produced The Rocky Horror Show -- while a freshman at NYU -- playing Janet and sharing the stage with famous stars at the American Airlines Theater on B’way.  All proceeds went to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  What’s next, climbing the Empire State Building blindfolded with boxing gloves?  Enjoy your youth, Rachel!
Nicole Begue.  Why are other gals cross in Crossville?  Because Nicole is playing all the leads --  Sarah Brown (Guys and Dolls), Yum-Yum (The Mikado) and Julie Jordon (Carousel) – at the Crossville County Playhouse in Crossville, TN.  One things for sure, they recognize talent in Crossville!  A big hand for the leading lady!
Patricia Linhart, AKA: The 100% Diva.  Who do famous composers write for?  Divas!  Stephen Flaherty is writing a song for the 100% Diva for her January ‘08 recital in Cincinnati.  On July 4th she opened the 2007 Rising Star Summer program in Indiana and another concert looms in Cincinnati in December.
Stephen Lukas.  Mr. Rising Junior from NYU Tisch School of the Arts  has the hot months booked, appearing as George in Little Me, Musgrove in High Society and ensemble in Chicago at the Summer Lyric Theater of Tulane University.  Way to go, Stephen!
Cristin Boyle.  I guess good witches are good looking, because Cristin will be Glinda, the Good Witch in the Chicago company of Wicked for a month this summer.  And “woof-woof” to Olive, her tiny new Maltese!  By the way Cristin, how do you like being blonde?

Tiffany Haas.  It’s the Great White Way for Tiffany, where she covers Nessarose, one of the witches in Wicked, and she goes on frequently in the role.  Now, that’s wicked good!
Emily Fletcher. Broadway Babies become Broadway Babes!  Emily is Hunyak in Chicago, and this Hungarian inmate will make your eyes pop.  Everybody wants a touch of Fletcher, though, and the Encore Series must have her back after her appearance in Follies.  Nice to be wanted!   She took a break from Chicago to return to the Encore Series for Stairway to Paradise with Kristin Chenoweth, directed by Jerry Zaks.

Chasten Harmon.  Making her moves!  Chasten signed with a NY agent and is getting her Equity card.  But can she still go back to high school?  Apparently so.  This summer finds her at The North Shore Theater in MA, playing Taylor in High School Musical.
Taylor Poarch.  Playing to the gallery, the Gallery Players in Brooklyn, that is, Taylor was King Marchan in Victor/Victoria in late May.  Summer finds him in the old and the new: Hamlet at the Brick’s Pretentious Festival, and then in a premiere, Monroe Bound, for the Fresh Fruit Festival at the Cherry Lane Theater (we know that’s not the pits!) in New York City.
Kathleen Shimeta.  Doing it her way.  “Life!  Love!  Song!  A Visit with Gena Branscombe,” her one-woman show, recently had performances at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and also in Quincy, MA.  She performs it again at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in March, 2008.  In addition, she sang a concert in Bar Harbor, ME, and continues to promote her CD, “Ah!  Love, I Shall Find Thee [and profits, too, we hope]: Songs of Gena Branscombe.”
Sarah Amendes.  Very involved in Tuckaberry Productions, a Brooklyn-based children’s theater, acting, singing on their CD, leading workshops and putting together a Christmas cabaret.  In October she will be appearing as Annie in the John Denver revue, Almost Heaven, in Rock Island, IL.  Currently at the New Perspectives Theater in NYC as an apprentice with a showcase program in the works.
Leslie Ann Hendricks.  Having produced baby Lillian Hope Blankenship – will Lillian inherit those belting genes? – Leslie returns to the artist’s life, taking part in “Meet the Artist” program at the Kaplan Penthouse, Juilliard Building in NYC.  (Don’t sing too loud, Leslie!  Those penthouses have glass windows.)
Debi Joffe.  She’s a pirate, but it’s only pretend!  This summer she steps away from the Jolly Roger at the Disney, Store, to play Ariel in Footloose in Upstate NY at the Forestburg Playhouse.  Also in the production are apprentices Jessica Wagner and Julia Bray from the Samaras Studio at CAP21.  There will be lip trills in the Green Room, please!
Melissa Sybil.  We’re crazy for you, Melissa!  As a matter of fact, Melissa’s playing Patsy in Crazy for You at the Regal Players in Waltham, MA, and in a feat of excellent scheduling, continues summer theatrics as Lorraine in 42nd Street at the Ogunquit (You can’t get a man with Ogun?) Playhouse in ME.
Mary Giattino. The desire to don your tap shoes may strike when you see Mary in “Tap and Song” on July 14 at the Duke Theater on 42nd St.  See her sing and dance with the amazing Ray Hesselink (choreographer, as well as dancer) in a whimsical boy-meets-girl duet.  But warning!  You might get hooked on the Gia-talent.  If so, proceed to Bellport, L.I. in August to see her in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes at the Gateway Playhouse, where she is also Dance Captain and Asst. Director/Choreographer.
Ron DeStefano.  Ron has spent 2007 working on the high "C's," (or is it "Seas?") as the lead production singer aboard Royal Caribbean International's mega-ship Radiance of the Seas.  He's putting all the tricks he's learned at the Samaras Studio to good use in two high-energy shows, singing everything from Billy Joel to "Nessun Dorma" (and accompanying himself on the piano, too!).  After his travels to the Caribbean Islands, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, and even Alaska . . . looks like Ron will have some adventures to share when he returns to the studio in the Fall!
Steph Stuff
Your teacher returns for the fourth year in a row to West Dover, VT, teaching a history of the B’way musical  for the Elderhostel Organization.  While there she will sing her one-woman show, “Gershwin Galore,” and also perform operetta with the New York Light Opera.  In addition, she has produced a sequel to her teaching video, a DVD, “Classical Singing Applied to the Pop Voice, Part II: The Quest Continues.”   It can be purchased at this website.

If you’re taking a break from lessons for the summer, don’t get lazy!  Practice with your tapes and keep those vocalises going.  Don’t forget:  “Where is your tongue?”