Friday, August 9, 2013

Spotlight On...Tristan Sample

Name: Tristan Sample

Hometown: Sandusky, OH

Education: BA in Theatre, University of Dayton, MFA in Acting candidate, The New School for Drama, NYC

Select Credits: Horse Play The Musical (Mack the Hack, FringeNYC, Ellen Stewart Theater at La MaMa); Deployed: A New Musical (Specialist Sparks, Developmental Reading); Men to Be Feared (Ensemble, FringeNYC, Connelly Theater); Macbeth (Macduff, NSD Theatre)

Why theater?: It's as simple I couldn't see myself doing anything else and still going to bed satisfied every night.  It's an extremely competitive business, tough lifestyle, mentally and physically draining and yet the highs that I feel when I'm on stage or working on something I'm passionate about overwhelmingly outweigh the lows.  Acting is also a great self-study and there's no getting around the fact that I will constantly be holding a mirror up and evaluating myself as a person, which isn't always pleasant but god it's necessary.

Tell us about Horse Play The Musical: Not only is any musical a tough thing to put together, but then you have a musical in the FringeNYC festival!  It's a very short, fast rehearsal process, a train that starts moving and all you can do is hop on and enjoy the ride 'til the final stop.  I happen to be a part of a cast that is so talented I find myself watching from offstage as a giddy, ecstatic audience member.  The show has a rock score that will keep you tapping your feet and bobbing your head.  It's a topic that not enough people are exposed to, the horse and carriage business in New York City.  It has a fascinating history and what the audience gets with our show that they can't anywhere else are the horses' point of views!

What kind of theater speaks to you?  What or who inspires you as an artist?:
I love gritty theater.  I love theater that makes me uncomfortable in my seat or makes my heart skip a beat just from reading it.  And I happen to absolutely love musical theater.  My favorite part of being in New York City right now is how many new musical theater composers/writers are pushing the boundaries of what most people think musicals are and should be.  They don't have to be all smiles and clean chords and formulaic.  Music only heightens storytelling so when I can find those gritty, intense, uncomfortable shows in musical form I am a very satisfied audience member/performer. I am also a musician and music as influenced me as an actor as well when it comes to inspiration.  My influences include Billy Joel, Elton John, Jim Croce and Harry Chapin, who I believe is incomparable when it comes to storytelling.  Musical theater composers: Jeanine Tesori, William Finn, Jason Robert Brown, Ryan Scott Oliver, Stephen Sondheim, to just name a few.  Actors who inspire me:  Daniel Day-Lewis, Gary Oldman, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Linney, Norbert Leo Butz, Jonathan Pryce.

Any roles you're dying to play?: I am currently working on Jamie in Long Day's Journey into Night for my MFA thesis, but I would love to play him on stage someday as well.  Val, Orpheus Descending;  Hal, Picnic; Trip, Other Desert Cities;  (and someday) Tom, The Story of My Life; Dan, Next to Normal;  Roy Cohn, Angels in America.

What's your favorite showtune?: As of recently it's been "Leave, Luanne" from 35mm by Ryan Scott Oliver.  A very close second is "Awaiting You" from Myths and Hymns by Adam Guettel.

If you could work with anyone you've yet to work with, who would it be?: Andrew Lippa, Gary Oldman, Ian Mckellan, Robert Redford, Elton John, Pasek and Paul

Who would play you in a movie and what would it be called?: Joseph Gordon-Levitt..."Small Town Boy, Big City Man"

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I have been telling everyone to see Murder Ballad in the last month...loved it!

What's your biggest guilty pleasure?: Gummies, gummies, gummies of any kind.  While they are a guilty pleasure of mine, anyone who knows me knows that I have no shame when it comes to how many I eat and how often.

What's next?:
I am going into my third and final year of graduate school at The New School for Drama.  I'll be working on Jamie from Long Day's Journey into Night for my thesis.  I will also be appearing as Orpheus in Sara Ruhl's Eurydice as part of the New Visions Festival at The New School for Drama, opening October 10th at 151 Bank Street. I continue to write music and hope to have a cabaret of my music in the near future.

For more on Tristan, check out and