MEET THE CAST:
Samantha Rose Cardenas
Today, we shine the spotlight on Samantha Rose Cardenas, who plays the role of Olive Ostrovsky, in our production of 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee!
Samantha is thrilled to make her Hillbarn Theatre debut! Most recently seen as Ariel in CMT Marquee’s THE LITTLE MERMAID, Maria in BBB’s WEST SIDE STORY, and Heather Duke in ROLT’s HEATHERS: THE MUSICAL. Other favorites include: Nina Rosario in IN THE HEIGHTS, Cosette in LES MISERABLES, Hope Harcourt in ANYTHING GOES, Morales in A CHORUS LINE, Crissy in HAIR, and Brittany Polk in REALITY CHECK!
1. You play the role of the Olive Ostrovsky, what, if anything, do you have in common with your character?
Much like Olive, I was very shy when I was younger. What I wanted most was to reach out and meet new friends and be loved. And at the same time, that’s the thing that scared me the most. I think because of her troubled family background Olive also very much wants to give unconditional love to others and she strives to accept everyone as they are. I very much relate to that side of her as well.
2. What made you audition for 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee?
I had auditioned for the show in various different places 2 times before, and the more I knew about it, the more I fell in love with it. Not only did I feel such a connection to Olive, but the show as a whole I think is brilliantly hilarious and poignant. Bringing a new character to life is always so special, and Olive in particular lets me regress back to my days as a little kid and explore that part of myself again with fresh perspective. Plus, what adult doesn’t want to just be a kid sometimes?
3. Have you worked with Hillbarn Theatre before?
No I have not! This is my Hillbarn Theatre debut!
4. What do you think the audience will be discussing on their way home after seeing 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee?
I hope it will be a mix of how hilarious and goofy the show is and also how poignant it is. In my opinion, the brilliance of this show lies in how it can make your stomach sore from laughing one minute, and then break your heart the next with very real moments. I also hope it will open people’s hearts and minds to the varying struggles of kids discovering who they are and what they love, and in turn provide insight into how that manifests in their behavior–not to mention, how parents (no matter how well-intentioned) do play such a large part in a child’s journey.
5. When did you discover your love for the theatre?
I don’t remember a specific moment of discovery because I was so young. I imagine my love of make-believe, storytelling, singing, dancing, and generally being in the spotlight was always there…it was just a matter of when I started doing theatre in a controlled environment. It all started with gymnastics and dance at age 3. I distinctly remember loving life when I performed “Part Of Your World” in a school variety show in 6th grade. I think that was a huge turning point for me.
6. What is your favorite and most memorable role you ever played?
I think this is a tie between Ariel in The Little Mermaid and Maria in West Side Story, for very different reasons. Ariel is my favorite Disney princess and to get the opportunity to bring her to life and sing my favorite songs from the movie (plus even more!) was a childhood dream come true. Plus, that was the first time I understood the phrase “carry a show.” I hardly had a break and I loved it–what a huge responsibility! My love for Maria goes just a little deeper than that. I think she is one of the most profound, strong, and beautiful characters in the entire musical theatre canon. Not only is the music stunningly iconic and feels lush in my voice, but the story is incredibly important and timeless. I studied that role for nearly a year and never got tired of it; I was constantly discovering new things about Maria that I loved. And what an incredible character arc I got to portray in that one show! I really felt I came into my own as an actor during that production. I feel like I was born to play Maria, and I hope I get to do it again someday.
7. Do you have any wacky rituals you do before curtain call?
My vocal warm-ups are pretty wacky! Just ask the cast…and anyone who has ever done a show with me.
8. If you could pick one actor/actress to perform with on Broadway, who would it be? Oh my gosh…I have to pick just one?! Lin-Manuel Miranda.
9. What is one thing you are incredibly proud of? My heart.
10. What is one fact or fun thing that we don’t know about you? When I was younger, I was a competitive gymnast and springboard diver.
ONLY TWO SHOWS LEFT! Saturday, Feb 6 @ 8:00pm and Sunday, Feb 7. Don’t miss your chance to see Samantha Cardenas in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the historic Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City. Tickets available at hillbarntheatre.org