Sam White on Fox 2 News Detroit, 2012

Shakespeare in Detroit on Fox 2 News Detroit, 2013

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Shakespeare in Detroit Closes the 2013-14 season at The Whitney

Hi guys --

Brunch. "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in the garden. Mimosas.

If all of the above sound delicious to you, make sure to call The Whitney restaurant in Detroit to make reservations for "Brunch with the Bard." We'll be closing our season at the historical venue with delicious food and fare -- not to mention, great entertainment.

Tickets are $75. You can call The Whitney at 313.832.5700 for more information.

Check out our appearance on Fox 2 News Detroit to learn more about the performance and what's on the menu!

Fox 2 News Headlines

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My first Op-Ed for The Detroit News

I have been writing for a long time, but I have never written for my hometown paper. That is until now!

Last week, I had the opportunity to write an opinion editorial for The Detroit News. That was sweet enough. But the fact that I was able to write about my mission to create a Shakespeare company here in the city made it an experience that is beyond my wildest dreams.

Here it is, if you'd like to check it out: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140724/OPINION01/307240005

So grateful for all the blessings this year!

Thank you to everyone who has supported the journey.

~ Sam

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My new favorite TV show is...

Anyone who really knows me, knows that I love "Game of Thrones" and "Girls." Well, neither of those shows are currently showing new episodes so I thought that meant I wouldn't have anything to watch on the weekend -- I try to make some time every weekend to sit and do something that doesn't require too much of me. Between my three jobs and running a theater company, it's nice to sit still in front of the television and escape into another world. 

Despite the fact that my two favorite shows aren't airing right now, it turns out that I DO have something to watch every weekend. And I absolutely LOVE this show!

Drum roll, please....

"Power." I love the new Starz show starring the incredibly handsome and fit Omari Hardwick. He's amazing eye candy but he's also super talented. He is absolutely wonderful as Ghost. He's sweet but shady (did you guys see when he cheated on his TV wife last weekend?), he's tough but tender and he's also just, well, FLY! Hats off to the wardrobe department. 

The show is produced by Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and written by Courtney Kemp Agboh. 


Photo via Mashable.com

There is a mid-season marathon beginning tomorrow, Friday, July 4 on Starz to help you get all caught up with this great show. Check your local listings and thank me later!


Behind-the-Scenes of Shakespeare in Detroit's "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" opens in nine days and we are really excited.

I wanted to share some of my favorite photos from rehearsals with you.

Patrick Hanley as Snug

Alexis Mabry, Vincent Pelligrino, David  Woitulewicz and Dante Jones rehearse as The Players in AMND

Donnevan Tolbert as Lysander and Laura Heikkinen as Hermia 


We hope to see you Saturday, July 12 at New Center Park located at 2998 West Grand Blvd. in Detroit. Gates open at 8 p.m. Show begins promptly at 9 p.m. Free admission. 

Don't forget your lawn chairs!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Leadership is a responsibility not an entitlement

People sometimes ask me for advice as they pursue their own dreams or embark on their entrepreneurial journeys. And I never know what to share with them because there are so many lessons and variables associated with making your dreams a reality. But, I thought today I would sit down and write about  two major lessons I have learned over the past couple months and share them with anyone out there who wants to manifest the things they have dreamed about or fantasized about in their own lives. 

The first thing anyone should know as they embark on chasing their dreams is that it is HARD. I mean, really, really HARD. It's so much easier to work for someone else, collect your paycheck every two weeks and know that if you get sick or hurt, you have a great health insurance policy that will help you get better. There is nothing easy about deciding to let go of the comfort of a 9-to-5 for a dream that may or may not work out. Period. 

After my departure from corporate America ten months ago, I decided to pursue my dream of having a Shakespeare company here in the city of Detroit, full-time. 

During this time I have experienced some remarkable things -- like having nearly 738 people show up for Shakespeare in Detroit's groundbreaking performance of "Antony and Cleopatra" in sub-zero weather, in a recycling center. Amazing! We were also honored by Mayor Mike Duggan prior to this performance and have been well received by large entities and individuals alike. 

We have also experienced some failures like not reaching our "all or nothing" goal on Kickstarter. The good news is that, I am from Detroit so I used my innate resourcefulness to still make the shows happen. That's the great thing about being from this city. We are born to defy the odds. 

So, there has been good and bad and beautiful. But none of it has been easy, by any means. 




Now, let's get to the lessons...

LESSON #1 Commit to your mission statement

The biggest lesson that I have learned so far is that living and dying by your mission statement is crucial to the process. Once you have truly defined what your business is and found that it has worked, it is important to stand strong. 

Our mission of high-quality, professional theater has meant that I have had to make some changes from concept to casting for the benefit of our shows and company. One of our audience members was recently quoted in the Metro Times as saying: "Congratulations, Detroit. We now have a world-class Shakespeare company.”  And I take that extremely serious. I look at that audience POV (point-of-view) as a responsibility. Our audience means everything and it is important that we give them what they have now come to expect. It's not about an individual. It's not about ego. It's about our people -- Our audience. In some businesses, your "people" may be referred to as the consumer. And, it's important that you not only give your consumer the product or service they expect, but it's also important to exceed their expectations and anticipate their needs. Your mission statement should serve those needs. 

While the consumer comes first, that is not to say that your employees are not important. In fact, they are your greatest resource to executing the product or service your company is expected to deliver to its audience. 

It is important to be a good listener and to be fair. But, again, the mission of your company has to always be at the forefront of your mind. And when you are in a leadership position, I've learned, you can be kind, compassionate and supportive when managing a group. However, you can't be a friend. Friendship is usually unconditional -- for the most part -- but the conditions you abide by in business are contingent upon meeting and exceeding the needs of your consumer. It's a fine balance that I am still learning to navigate. But, I'm learning. And for those of you who are artists, like myself, you'll find this aspect of entrepreneurship very difficult because as artists we operate from the heart. But, if you plan on being an entrepreneur, you have to find a way to operate from your head (but still with compassion, fairness and other soft skills). Like I said, it's HARD!

LESSON #2 Change is good 

I recently celebrated my second anniversary since I graduated from Tech Town with my business plan. And Shakespeare in Detroit will celebrate its one year anniversary since its first performance ("Othello" at Grand Circus Park, August 2013). My team and I have learned a lot during this time. 

The great news about the good and the bad and the beautiful is that you learn something from all of those experiences. 

I've learned that having my time off to focus on Shakespeare in Detroit has been great for the company and creating awareness. But what is good for the company -- at this point -- isn't always good for Sam. There have been countless examples of personal and professional growth. But, there has been a lot of sacrifice including having to eat a lot of P&J sandwiches and tuna to help finance our fundraising and production endeavors. And, so, it is time for this girl to go back to corporate America. A door has been opened for me and I am walking through it beginning next week. And I have to tell you, I am excited about the idea of collecting my paycheck every two weeks and knowing that if I get sick or hurt, I have a great health insurance policy that will help me get better. That does not mean that Shakespeare in Detroit will go away, by any means. It just means I will be well fed while pursuing it.

So my schedule is changing and we have another major change coming down the pike. 

As many of you know (those who have followed the journey with us since the beginning), I have controlled all of the administrative work at the company. However, I will soon report to a board who will manage me and help me grow the company to its full potential. It's a really awesome change that I know will only make Shakespeare in Detroit better. Most of them have been mentors to me and they have a breadth of business knowledge that I don't have. That is extremely important to long-term success. 

Change is good...trust me!

Just to recap the two biggest lessons I've learned are: 

1. Standing firm by your mission statement and learning to balance your heart from your head. 
2. Change is actually really good. Things may be different, but sometimes they are for the best (As an entrepreneur if you don't take care of yourself, how can you take care of your business?)

Being an entrepreneur is one of the hardest things in the world. My hat is off to all of the folks out there who have done it and done it well. 

If you're on the brink of entrepreneurship, it's important to remember that leadership is a responsibility, not an entitlement. That way, you can keep an open, humble, flexible spirit throughout the process and when those lessons come, you'll learn  and become better because of them. 

Break a leg!











Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Shakespeare in Detroit presents performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at New Center Park










Shakespeare in Detroit presents performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at New Center Park
Michigan's only free, full-fledged Shakespeare in the park experience 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


DETROIT, June 24, 2014 -- Shakespeare in Detroit (SiD) will return this summer with its first comedy, "A Midsummer Night's Dream", at New Center Park in Detroit. 

The free, family-friendly show includes all local actors and crew members including the professional theater company's founding Artistic and Executive Director, Samantha White. 

"We're very excited to present our third production and our very first comedy," she says. "It's even more thrilling for us to be able to offer the show free of charge to those looking for something fun to do in the city this summer with their friends, family and others."

SiD made its debut to an audience of over 500 people during a performance of "Othello" at Grand Circus Park in August 2013. 

In March, the company presented its sophomore production "Antony and Cleopatra" in a unique, site-specific presentation that included recycled or re-purposed materials used for the set and costumes at Recycle Here in Detroit's New Center area. During this time, the theater company was also honored by Mayor Mike Duggan for its contributions to the city. 

"The warm reception we have received from the city and others has inspired us to continue to create a tradition of Shakespeare in the park as many other cities around the country and the world enjoy," says White. "And we also hope to build a solid foundation for a full-fledged Shakespeare company that will produce accessible performances that those who have never engaged with The Bard before and connoisseurs of his work can both enjoy."

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" is directed by Dearborn, Mich. native Cal Schwartz who also designed the costumes for the production. 

The show is sponsored by Midtown Detroit Inc. 

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" will play Saturday, July 12 at New Center Park located at 2998 W. Grand Blvd. in Detroit. Gates open at 8 p.m. and the show begins promptly at 8:30 p.m. Free admission. To learn more about Shakespeare in Detroit and all of its upcoming performances, signup for updates at ShakespeareinDetroit.com

Shakespeare in Detroit (SiD) is a professional, site-specific theater company dedicated to celebrating, re-introducing and highlighting some of the city's historical sites, venues and parks through high-quality performances of Shakespeare's work. The theater company is dedicated to color-blind casting and creating opportunities for local talent to showcase their skills and training on stage. This year, SiD will participate in a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for its 2014-15 season to help continue its mission of accessible Shakespeare performances and initiate an outreach program. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Shakespeare in Detroit in the Metro Times

Hi guys!

If you haven't already, make sure to pick up the current issue of the Metro Times to check out the feature on Shakespeare in Detroit on page 150! And we hope to see you at a show this summer.

Here's the link to the piece online: http://metrotimes.com/arts/arts-features/shakespeare-in-detroit-1.1704331


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"