Q&A with Samantha Massell

For the past year, Samantha Massell has been bringing audiences to tears as Hodel in Fiddler. Coming off a successful run, she is excited to debut her solo show at Feinstein’s/54 Below. There are lots of surprises in store and her show is sure to be amazing. Lucky for us, Samantha took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions.

One thing you can’t live without in your dressing room?
I can be super type A and superstitious about keeping my dressing room stocked at all times. I always have a personal steamer, coconut water, a mug for tea, pastilles, and fisherman’s friend for my voice and then you always need a great chapstick in your bag. My current obsession is Baby Lips in Grape. I love all grape flavored things, but this chapstick is the ultimate in grape. Can you tell I love it?

Is there a future for Dressing Room 51 or will it end with Fiddler’s closing?
We are still posting and have lots of the ideas for the future, so stay tuned #51derfuls! It ain’t over yet! We have lots of funny content stored up and we are so thrilled with all of the support we have gotten on the account thus far.

What inspired you do a show at 54 Below?
It’s always been a dream of mine and I’ve sort of been unofficially planning it in the notes app of my phone for years now. When I found out that Fiddler on the Roof would be closing, I decided to grab the bull by the horns and go for it. I’m a writer in addition to being an actor, so I thought timing wise, that would give me enough time to really create something unique.

Can you tell us who will be performing with you and what songs you will be singing?
On both shows, I’ll be joined by Alex Finke and Jennifer Damiano, two very close friends, and we will be doing an amazing trio arrangement of two pop songs, arranged by my Fiddler on the Roof cast mate Matt Moisey. Additionally, I’ll be joined by my friend, composer, lyricist and recent Dramatist Guild Fellow Madeline Myers for a song we wrote together for the evening called “Girls Can Be Anything”, based on an out-of-print children’s book from the 1970s.

On January 12th only, I’ll be joined by Liz Callaway for a very special rendition of “The Story Goes On”. And then finally, on January 21st online, I’ll be joined by Alexandra Silber for a very special rendition of “Far From The Home I Love” that, trust me, you’ll have to see to believe.

Is there a theme for the night?
Indeed there is. I’ve been unofficially calling the evening “In Praise of Women” and it’s really a musical celebration of women, female relationships, and girl power. I’m the only child of a single mom, so female relationships have always been a big part of the person I am today. While I was constructing my evening, I felt very empowered as a woman watching Hillary Clinton run for President, and I thought that it felt very topical to remind everyone that, even in her loss, girls can be anything. It’s an uphill climb, but the path is clear. I’m excited to sing about something that means so much to me

What’s the most challenging thing about doing a solo show?
So far, logistics. Zoinks!!

Are you more nervous or excited to perform at 54 Below?
Probably excited!! I’m really proud of the piece we put together and I’m very excited to share it with an audience for the first time. Of course I’m nervous as well, but we’ve been rehearsing and prepping for this for a very long time and I have an amazing crew to support me, led by my music director, the incomparable John Bell. May the force be with us!

Why should people come see you at 54 Below? Any surprises in store?
Well, if I gave them away, they wouldn’t be surprises…. I promise you that my mom will probably cry, there will be a song from Starmites, a song from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and a world premiere song, I’ll be flanked by two TONY nominees, I’ll sing with my best friend for the first time since our college production of Evita, and the macaroni and cheese is really, really good. If I haven’t sold you yet, I give up. Please join me! I promise it’ll be awesome.

Click here to purchase tickets to Samantha Massell’s show at Feinstein’s/54 Below. Use the code SMASSELLS5 for $5 off.

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