Saturday, July 11, 2015

Spotlight On...Samantha Saltzman

Name: Samantha Saltzman

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

Education: BA in Theater Arts from Brandeis University

Favorite Credits: The Music Man (first show I ever directed, I was still in college and I don't even have it on my resume anymore, but you never get over your first), Production Assistant on Rock of Ages (I know it's not a directing credit, but that show was just so much fun to be a part of and it was my first Broadway credit), Directing Madame Fury's Traveling Show (a great project with great friends), and Directing Assistant on Matilda (I fell in love with the show in London long before I ever had a glimmer of a chance to work on it, and to get to be a part of a show like that, that you truly love, is pretty incredible)

Why theater?: Making the world a more beautiful place is a beautiful thing.

Tell us about 210 Amlent Avenue: 210 is an investigation into the family we make, the family we have, and what keeps us together and tears us apart, with a beautiful score...what more is there to ask for?

What inspired you to direct 210 Amlent Avenue?: I've known Karl and Becky for a while, and was fortunate enough to work with them last year.  Continuing on the project has been a joy, and it's even better to work with such wonderful people.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I'm inspired by other worlds, whether those worlds are familiar or unfamiliar, art that completely immerses you (not necessarily in an "immersive theatre" way, but in a transportive way) and allows us to experience this world for an hour or two.  Numerous people and things inspire me, but they all succeed in creating those worlds.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Michael Mayer.  He's an expert at creating transportive worlds.  I got a chance to work with him and Johanna McKeon (who's also amazing) on a gala, and even in that context, it was inspiring to be a part of something he helped create.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Hand to God.  It's the best play I've seen in YEARS (and I see a lot of plays...).  I still can't get over what Steven Boyer was able to do with that puppet.  I've never seen anything like it, and I swear that puppet's real.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Julia Roberts.  She has a great combination of passion and fun (that I hope is how I come across in real life).  It would be called "Broadway Mouse".  I've always loved the movies and imagination of Walt Disney (I grew up near Disneyland, so it was a large part of my childhood).  My parents actually collected Disney since long before I was born so it was all over our house growing up.  I think a childhood love of Disney movies is a large part of what drew me to theater and storytelling in the first place.  Who didn't want to be Ariel singing, "Part of Your World"?

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The 1992 Guys and Dolls revival.  So perfect.  I got to see Nathan Lane in the role at Carnegie Hall, but even the YouTube clip gives me chills.  Or Ethel Merman performing Rose's Turn in Gypsy...tough call.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Phineas and Ferb.  I seriously think everyone who's serious about musical theatre should watch it.  It's also the best written kids' show I've seen since I was a kid.  It reminds me of the golden age of the Disney afternoon -- Chip 'n' Dale's Rescue Rangers and Duck Tales (you now have one of those themes in your head.  You're welcome.)

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: I don't think I'd ever not work in theatre, if I stopped DIRECTING, I'd probably go back into Broadway marketing (which I did when I first moved to the city).  That way I still feel like a part of creating the thing that I love and I get to expose others to it.

What’s up next?:  I'm working on a new musical that's having a workshop in the fall, I get to keep hanging out at the Shubert with the Matilda crew for a little longer, and have a couple other things in the works that I can't talk about yet.  Past that?  Second star to the right and straight on 'till morning.

For more on 210 Amlent Avenue, visit 210amlentavenue.com or nymf.org

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