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Meet the cast of West Side Story (Part 1)

In preparing for the Festival Theatre production of WEST SIDE STORY the search for the actors who fit the characters of Tony and Maria tops the list and presents the greatest challenge for the creative Team. The correct blend of innocence and vulnerability coupled with excellent voices that can meet the vocal demands of such songs as “Something’s Coming” “Maria”, “Tonight”, “One Hand, One Heart” and “I Feel Pretty” must be squarely on target.

Festival Theatre was fortunate to find the exact blend of youth and talent in Tanner Callicutt and
Samantha Williams. These two talented performers were asked the same set of questions and
their responses truly mirror their desires and dreams as musical theatre performers.


Tanner Callicutt

1. Tell a little about yourself – Background info, family, education, Interests/hobbies, etc.
I am a native of Asheboro, North Carolina and have lived there my entire life. I’m the youngest of four kids, and I’m very close to my siblings and parents. I am a rising senior at Elon University where I’m studying and training in the BFA Acting program. Aside from theatre, I love spending time with my family and friends, traveling, keeping up to date on the newest movies, and drinking too many cups of coffee in a 24 hour period. 

2. What about WSS lured you to us for casting consideration?
Tony is a role that I’ve wanted to play for a long time now, so I’m thrilled to finally get the chance! I honestly ended up stumbling upon NBFT at the New England Theatre Conference, and I’m so happy that I did. 

3.What about your role do you think presents your greatest challenge?
I think the greatest challenge, for me, heading into this role is specific to this production with NBFT.  The Zeiterion Theatre is going to be the biggest house I’ve played, which will bring with it intimidation and challenges, but I’m looking forward to finding the balance of filling such a large space. 

4. What do you feel the audience will get out of seeing our production?
West Side Story is, at its simplest, a love story and you can’t help but to fall in love with such a story when it’s accompanied by such beautiful music. All this being said, I think it is important to tell this story now, when racial tensions are still so heightened in our nation. I hope the audience takes away the messages of acceptance and loving despite and for our differences. I am honored to be given the opportunity to help tell this timeless story. 

5. What are your personal goals as a performer? Now?  The Future?
I’m looking forward to completing my training at Elon and graduating next May. In the future, I see myself moving to New York City and continuing to pursue a career in theatre. I’d also love to venture into tv and film if those are opportunities that present themselves. 


Samantha Williams

1. Tell a little about yourself – Background info, family, education, Interests/hobbies, etc.
I grew up on Long Island, New York. I started playing instruments, clarinet and piano, at a young age, and continued to do so through high school and college. I started singing at the beginning of high school, did as many shows as I could, and loved it enough that I decided to go to school for it. I went to NYU for my Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance, and subsequently Manhattan School of Music for my Master’s Degree in Opera Performance. I loved both experiences, as I was able to perform in both musical theatre shows and opera productions. Shortly after graduating Manhattan School of Music, I performed Maria in West Side Story at the Engeman Theatre in Northport, then Louisa in The Fantasticks in Connecticut. When I’m not in a production, I’m always trying to take classes that introduce me to something new, like Improv, On-Camera, and Commercial Classes. My favorite hobby is cooking and baking. I’ve been cooking since I was 15.

2. What about WSS lured you to us for casting consideration?
It’s my favorite show! I’m always looking for the opportunity to be in another West Side Story. It was exciting to see New Bedford doing this production because they have a beautiful space to work with, and who could say no to spending part of the summer there!

3.What about your role do you think presents your greatest challenge?
Maria definitely needs to be a singer who has a solid technique because the music can be vocally demanding. I think the role is more challenging dramatically. I still act like a child (just ask my mom or my boyfriend) so Maria’s youth and naivete isn’t all that difficult for me. The difficulty is pinpointing the moment she grows up and then not forcing it.

4. What do you feel the audience will get out of seeing our production?
It’s impossible to not be affected in some way after seeing West Side Story. 

5. What are your personal goals as a performer? Now?  The Future?
I am always trying to improve as a performer, learn something new and do something that might scare me. Improv was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, but that’s why I thought I should do it. I need to do more things like that. 

WEST SIDE STORY will be presented by the New Bedford Festival Theatre, Inc. for 7 performances July 20-29, 2018 at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center 684 Purchase Street New Bedford, MA. The production will be directed by Michael Susko, the original Jerome Robbins choreography reproduced by Victoria Casillo and Michael Susko, and Musical Direction by Juan Rodriguez.

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