Sam White on Fox 2 News Detroit, 2012

Shakespeare in Detroit on Fox 2 News Detroit, 2013

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top Ten Moments of 2014

To say this has been the best year of my life is by no means an exaggeration. It is the beautiful truth.

I am so grateful to the people and the Divine for giving me the courage, support and love to go ferociously after my dreams. There were so many awesome moments in 2014, but I thought I’d share my top ten.

Many blessings, hugs and gratitude to the people who have supported me, especially, Tonnille Williams, Van Nguyen, Lindsay Holston and my brother, Freddy. You guys celebrated the good with me, helped me earn my wings in my professional life,  and got me through the times I was unsure; I was sad, frustrated and confused. You saw the real me and you had my back. Thank you.

Moments:

#10 Getting to talk to kids about living their dreams is always fun for me. I always end up walking away inspired by their energy and potential. Thank you to East Hills Middle School for having me!


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#9 Chatting with my fellow entrepreneurs is always the coolest of cool moments. Thank you for the fun Beer & Builders! Grand Circus Co., you are the best! Love your people. Love your space. I appreciate the opportunity.




#8 Who would have thought the little girl from Seven Mile who loves Shakespeare would get to chat about her Shakespeare dreams in a room full of Bard academics? Thank you to the Midwest Modern Language Association for having me and valuing my voice.



#7 Winning Detroit SOUP helped get the ball rolling for our 2014 shows. There would be no “Antony and Cleopatra” without you guys. Thank you for getting it. Thank you for supporting my crazy imagination. (Forgive my blurry photo).


#6 Crain’s Detroit Business’ 30 Under 30. It was such an honor. It was a happy moment for me as an artist to be recognized with other innovators from medical to technical fields.  


#5 TEDx Detroit was…There are really no words for this moment. I am a HUGE fan of TED conferences so I would’ve been happy just being in the audience. But, I gave a talk. And people liked it. WOW.


#4 “The Tempest” in September 2014. Only a few people saw the show. But, it was SUPER fun. I loved being in the audience watching the actors bring the comedy to life. I am really proud of that show. Kudos to the cast and crew on a supreme production.


#3 “Romeo and Juliet” at Mumford High School in July 2014. I was able to bring my company home to my former high school. There had never been a play in their new state of the art theater. It was a beautiful thing to right that wrong. How can you not have a theater program with that fancy theater? I love you Mumford, but, please, bring more theater to your school. Please? (Photo taken at Grand Circus Park performance).




#2 My number two pick is designated for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at New Center Park where we enjoyed our biggest audience to date. There were 800 people in attendance. The rainy weather that had been plaguing the summer missed us – literally, a black cloud passed right over us and the sun showed up. It was amazing!



#1 Of course, number one goes to “Antony and Cleopatra” at Recycle Here. The four-show run was of epic proportions. Seats by Sit On it Detroit. Repurposed or recycled costumes.  Despite the freezing temperatures, 738 people supported us. Thank you, Detroit!


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thank you Team SiD

 A couple of weeks back I gathered in a room with 500 people, including the 39 other professionals who are a part of the 2014 Crain's Detroit Business' 40 Under 40 class. It was all very exciting as we all celebrated one another. I felt really blessed -- as an artist -- to be recognized with other industries from technology and sports to medical and design.

It makes me incredibly happy to see that people are beginning to realize that there is a business to art and the creative industry is as important to a thriving, healthy city as any other industries.

I believe that any success that I have had is because of the people in my life who have helped me. I am a powerful woman, but there is no way Shakespeare in Detroit could have had the year it had, without the support of everyone from the actors who have been in our shows and the directors who have shared their talents to the people who have donated everything from their hard-earned money to their time to us. I thank everyone who has made this year as epic as it has been. I call you Team SiD because the only way Shakespeare in Detroit can become a world-class Shakespeare company -- comparable to great companies like Strat Fest, RSC and The Globe -- is with a large group of people from this community and other areas who believe, as I do, that a job may bring someone to a city, but the arts will keep them here. The experience will keep people in Detroit.

Detroit has always been a city of innovation and an industrial epicenter. This city changed the way the world moved -- from Henry Ford to the Supremes -- and I sincerely believe that was only the beginning for our great city. I look forward to watching how the story of Detroit unfolds in my lifetime and I hope that Shakespeare in Detroit will be a part of the fabric of its rebirth as we turn this chapter.

My heart is completely filled when I think of all the awesome opportunities that have been presented to me because of Shakespeare in Detroit. It's incredible to think that an idea that lived in my head is now alive and breathing and creating.

I am so excited as we gear up for our next show, "King Lear." I hope you guys tune into my podcast to learn more about that production opening on April 9, 2015! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/shakespeareindetroit

It is my dream that you will continue this journey with me, with Shakespeare in Detroit and the town that was once mostly known for motors and music, will also become a destination for those who love Shakespeare, those who love art and those who want to see our great city thrive.

xo

~ Sam


Friday, October 24, 2014

Michigan Opera Theatre’s Elektra is a bloody good time

Michigan Opera Theatre’s fall 2014 season opened with Richards Strauss’ German-language opera, “Elektra.” The horror-filled one-act performance was disturbingly wonderful to watch with the award-winning vocals of soprano Christine Goerke.
Photo by John Grigaitis

Elektra is grieving the loss of her father who was murdered by her lusty mother and her lover. She seeks revenge and begs her sister, Chrysothemis, to help her. This role is played by soprano Jennifer Check whose runs and vibratos are lovely and sweet and a great contrast to Goerke’s Elektra and all her glorious grit.  

Goerke leaves her soul on stage giving a vocal and physical performance that could exhaust a diva of a much lesser grade. As beautiful as her voice is, her endurance is even more admirable and she has the acting chops to handle such a challenging role. Even before she opens her mouth, you feel her pain from the slant of her brow to the thrust of her jaw. She is truly wonderful to watch.

The role of the sisters’ mother, Klytaemnestra, is played by mezzo-soprano Jill Grove who makes it very easy to dislike her character with her strong performance as the villain in “Elektra.” She plays bad so good. Grove, like Goerke, delivers on the acting in addition to the singing. You don’t have to read the subtitles to know her role in the story. Her body, her voice and everything in between give you the entire context to understand.  

Photo by John Grigaitis

The cast also includes German Bass-baritone Thomas Gazheli as Orest and Canadian tenor, Richard Margison as Aegisth.

“Elektra” is one of those operas that resonates with every age group from 18 to 80 because of its youthful energy but still maintains the structure and dynamic of a classic libretto. The way MOT has opened up the context so that it is accessible to every audience is to be admired. The acting by the performers in this production make it easily understood whether you have been attending the opera your entire life or are viewing it for the first time. Not to mention, the bloody setting – including a set that spews blood – is perfect for this time of year with Halloween just around the corner.

MOT is only presenting four performances of this emotionally charged opera – the two closing shows are this weekend. As horrific as this murderous tale is, it would be more horrifying for Detroit audiences to miss this show.

The opera is directed by Nicholas Muni with Maestro Steven Mercurio at the podium.

“Elektra” is playing this Saturday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 26 at 2:30 p.m. at the Detroit Opera House located at 1526 Broadway in downtown Detroit. Tickets are $25 to $128. Visit www.MichiganOpera.org or call 313.237.SING for more information.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Oh, how I remember sweet, sweet September



September was an amazing month. I got to see Oprah at the Life You Want Tour (no, I didn't meet her...not yet), and I gave a TED talk.

I love TED talks. Folks like Malcolm Gladwell and Elizabeth Gilbert have given talks that have made me think deeper and inspired my own passions.

TEDx Detroit was at the Detroit Opera House this year. The home of one of my idols, David Dichiera -- Founder and Artistic Director of the Michigan Opera Theatre. So when I was asked to give a talk at TEDx Detroit about my baby, Shakespeare in Detroit, and in that location, I was floored. I was so excited.

It was by far my favorite moment this year. I was able to introduce "King Lear" with one of my favorite actors, Peter Knox, to an audience that was there with the intention to receive and give good energy. I was intoxicated with all the love I felt in that moment from the attentive audience. And it felt like divine order that I would give a talk in that space, at this time.

Thank you Detroit for having my back on this journey with The Bard.



As I said in my talk, I am living, breathing proof that dreams come true. I thank everyone who has helped me go further than my dreams. I feel the momentum.

I am excited for the future.

(P.s. Shakespeare in Detroit will present "King Lear" in April 2015).

xo


Crain's Detroit Business, 40 Under 40 class of 2014

I am so excited to share that I made Crain's Detroit Business' 40 Under 40 list for 2014!

How exciting to have a creative entity -- a theatre company --  honored with so many awesome professional innovators.

It warms my heart as an artist to have Crain's understand and celebrate the arts with other businesses in the community.

I am thrilled. I am grateful. And I can't wait to meet the rest of my awesome class next month for the celebration at MGM Detroit!

Cheers.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Shakespeare in Detroit kicks off its second season with a splash

After a successful inaugural season, Shakespeare in Detroit plans to keep their momentum going by opening their second season with “The Tempest.” Audience members will experience magic with Shakespeare's magician, Prospera, in the comfort of the Marlene Boll Theater inside the YMCA Detroit.

“The Tempest” chronicles the story of Prospera, a magician, who has been living on a primitive island with her daughter for the past 12 years. The play opens with a tempest caused by Prospera to attack the ship carrying the man that initially betrayed and exiled her to the island. Following the shipwreck, the play chronicles each character’s experiences ashore.

Returning audience members of Shakespeare in Detroit will recognize a few familiar faces from previous shows as well as new faces that have recently joined the Detroit-based company. “The Tempest” is directed by Chris Mick with costumes by Kate Nelson and set design by Cal Schwartz.

Showtimes for “The Tempest” are Saturday, September 20 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, September 21 at 2 p.m. at 1401 Broadway St, Detroit, Michigan 48226. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door (if available) for $25 per ticket.

If you would like more information please find Shakespeare in Detroit on Facebook and signup for updates at ShakespeareinDetroit.com. For questions about Shakespeare in Detroit’s upcoming season please contact teamshakespeareindetroit@gmail.com.

About Shakespeare in Detroit
Shakespeare in Detroit is a site-specific Shakespeare company that performs in the places where people live, work and play by creating high-quality theater. Shakespeare in Detroit debuted its first show in 2013 to an audience of more than 500 people for a performance of "Othello." Six months later the company performed "Antony and Cleopatra" to a nearly sold-out audience at Recycle Here, as well as an 800 person audience in New Center Park for the company’s summer show "A Midsummer Night's Dream.” Shakespeare in Detroit is committed to bringing unique experiences to the city’s – and surrounding area – residents.


Blog Archive

Clip from my performance at The Detroit Shoppe in May 2011

Sam White Singing "Abie Baby" in HAIR

Me (Sam White) Hosting John Heffron's comedy show in Ann Arbor, MI

Me Circa '05 Performing "Big Spender" with some other ladies

Sam White Singing "White Boys" in HAIR

Performing Stand-up in Chicago

"I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good"