SAM SAMUELSON IN HIS OFFICE AT STEWART TALENT
Being in the theater is in Sam Samuelson’s DNA. No need to ask the question when did you know you had “made it”. As a little boy, he sang the Apple Jack cereal jingle. From there he appeared in a high school production of Oliver, acting, particularly musical theater, had grabbed him. He was the first recipient of the Young Alumni Award for Excellence in the Entertainment Industry from the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music. Obviously, he knew what he wanted to do in life. He has been an agent for 15 years and has never found it boring. He is now responsible, in his position at Stewart Talent, for casting many of Chicago’s, Los Angeles’, and New York’s theatrical productions. He helped establish Stewart Talent New York and is co-owner of Stewart Talent LA. Isn’t there a saying you can take the boy out of the business but you can’t take the business out of the boy…. (Another Nena note…while we were chatting last summer, we learned that both our Fathers were in advertising in Chicago and probably knew each other…once again a very small world we live in!)
Back in Chicago, Sam met his wife, Mary Beth, who was also an actor, now a personal trainer, (Nena’s aside, once an actor always an actor!) and they moved to New York to hit Broadway! Sam appeared in the Original Broadway Cast of Blood Brothers. Then played The Boy in the Fantasticks Off-Broadway at the Sullivan Street Theatre and then, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change on Broadway. In 1998, he appeared in a production of this musical at the Marriott Theater Lincolnshire. In addition, he has listed some of the highlights of his performing career, they include the National tour of Ragtime, as Younger Brother; and the recordings, The Fantasticks, Japan cast and 110 In The Shade with the National Symphony Orchestra:
Sam Samuelson with Kristin Chenoweth – Little Red Hat from 110 in the Shade (National Symphony Orchestra)
Sam (hand to chest) in the Marriott Theater production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change
A quote from a 1998 article written by Jodie Jacobs in the Chicago Tribune…
“Actor Sam Samuelson, a Deerfield native who has appeared in musicals across the United States and Japan, recently traded the Big Apple for the Windy City. Curious about moving this far from Broadway and what prompted his theater career, Tempo Lake caught up to Samuelson before curtain time at Marriott’s Lincolnshire Theater, where he is co-starring in the musical “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.“
The article goes on to say that Sam felt it was necessary to go to New York for the vibes and experience, but also knew that you can live anywhere and make it. He puts his words into practice at Roosevelt University where he is Showcase Director for Acting/Music Theater Majors. He believes in preparing students for the real world!
Midwest premiere of Into The Woods, he played Jack (with red hair and hat)
One of my questions to all my interviewees is “put, in order, your “art” preferences” Sam’s are: Legitimate theater (loves the feeling of the acting, connecting, finding truth); musical theater, ballet, opera, symphony.
Sam owned a movie theater for seven years and brought in LIVE performances. Produced over 200 productions. I, in fact, did a couple of lectures there and a model reunion show to have live models illustrate today’s clothes with 1930’s and 1940’s film style. That lecture was Hooray for Hollywood, one of my favorites to do, and being able to showcase today’s trends was super fun. When asked his favorite movie, he responded a genre more than one particular film and that would be action/adventure films.
Sam pursuing one of his favorite pastimes, being in nature and fishing in Nantucket, obviously a great fisherman! When asked where he wanted to go on vacation, the answer Alaska to backpack, fish and explore. Yet another adventure in store to feed his love of natural history.
He entitled this “Sam in Nature”, it was taken last summer, one wonders if that tree is now decorated outside or in the house!!?? The Samuelson home is, in his words “warm, homey and eclectic, antiques would be the most defining element”. One of his loves is gardening he finds it relaxing along with the hard work.
Sam with Mary Beth and, his pride and joy, their daughters, Abby and Emma, quite frankly they look like a group right out of central casting to me!
SAM’S GOETTA RECIPE
Goetta is a breakfast food that is known and loved in the greater Cincinnati area.
- 5 cups water
- 3 cups steel-cut oats
- 6 bay leaves
- 5 tablespoons beef bouillon cubes
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon each garlic powder, rubbed sage and pepper
- 2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 pound each of ground beef and pork
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine water, oats, and seasonings. Cook, covered, on high 2 hours. Remove bay leaves.
- In a large skillet, cook ground beef, ground pork, and onions over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until no longer pink. Drain, reserving 4 tablespoons drippings. Stir sausage mixture and reserved drippings into oats. Cook, covered, on low 2 hours.
- Transfer mixture to two plastic wrap-lined 9×5-in. loaf pans. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
- To serve, slice each loaf into 16 slices. In a large skillet, cook goetta, in batches, over medium heat 3-4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and heated through. Hint: fry in a bit of bacon grease until browned on both sides.
Freeze option: After shaping goetta in loaf pans, cool and freeze, covered, until firm. Transfer goetta to resealable plastic freezer bags or wrap securely in foil; return to freezer. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight; slice and cook as directed. Yield: 2
In addition to this unusual recipe, Sam’s other favorite is the Japanese Shbu-Shbu which he has loved since his days touring Japan in The Fantasticks. He does make it and has found it in some local Japanese restaurants. The main ingredients are thinly sliced beef and vegetables.
Sam is one of the nicest most grounded people I know. He has the knowledge, contacts, and experience to be what is considered one of the best in the business. I hope you have enjoyed getting to know him, I know I have! When asked how he would like to be remembered he answered, “Someone who served others and helped other people live!”
Photo of Sam in his office by Nena all other photos from Sam’s photo album.