Rising Star of ‘Billy Elliot’

Before she had learned to walk, Samantha Blaire Cutler dreamed of dancing on Broadway.

Wasting no time on the goal, at the age of 3 she began taking video classes with the Royal Academy of Ballet in England, and was dancing competitively by the age of 5.

Since adding acting and singing to her resume, the now bright-eyed 11-year-old has earned critical acclaim for her regional theatre performances, including those in “Annie,” “Seussical,” “White Christmas,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “A Wonderful Life.”
In 2010, Samantha landed a role in “Billy Elliot,” and has since continued to travel throughout the country with the production. On June 26, she will stop at Whitney Hall in the Kentucky Center for her latest performance as Debbie in the musical.

The Voice-Tribune caught up with Samantha to learn about her successful start in theatre and her hopes for a future of dancing on Broadway.

What inspired you to want to become an actress, singer and dancer at such a young age?

I’ve wanted to do that ever since I was little. I always wanted to dance and saw the shows at (Jewish Community Center), and said to my mom I wanted to do that.

How old were you when you acted in “Beauty in the Beast,” your first professional performance, at Derby Dinner Playhouse?
I think I was 6 or 7. I did community theater before that at JCC.

You landed your latest role in “Billy Elliot” after auditioning several times in New York City. Was that intimidating?

I was nervous but I just kind of kept to myself and focused. I think we had about four call backs. And it was kind of hard, but kind of not because it was fun to go to New York and audition, but kind of weird leaving home a lot.

Do you miss a lot of school when you’re on tour with the show?

They have tutors, and my mom sets up my home schooling.

What is your character Debbie like in ‘Billy Elliot’?

I’m the dance teacher’s daughter. I have a few scenes with Billy. She’s kind of snooty because she doesn’t like to do what her mom says.

Have you seen a lot of cool places while touring?

When we were in D.C., we got to see the White House and the President, and we’ve been to the beach when we were in Florida, and Disneyland.

How often do you get to see your friends and family?

I usually talk to friends on the phone and go to Facebook and stuff. When I come home, then I see them. At my house it’s just me and my mom, so I normally have a guardian that travels with me, and now my mom’s traveling with me.

What do you hope to do in the future with theatre?

I want to go to high school and college, but I still want to keep auditioning. I really want to be on Broadway and try a movie and stuff.

Why should people come see “Billy Elliot”?

“Billy Elliot” is a really inspiring story. It’s about a boy and how he wants to dance and his dad won’t let him, and finally he persuades him to (let Billy) go and audition for the royal ballet. I think (it’s inspiring), especially, for our boys that got bullied at school for dancing. I think it’s really inspiring for anyone who’s been bullied.

What advice would you give other kids and even adults who’d like to achieve your level of success in theatre?

For anybody who wants to do this, keep trying. Don’t give up – it’s the worst thing you can do. And believe in yourself and make sure your parents believe in you too.

The Kentucky Center will present “Billy Elliot” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 26, through Thursday, June 28. An 8 p.m. performance will be held Friday and Saturday, June 29-30; A 2 p.m. showing will be held Saturday, followed by a 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. performance on Sunday, July 1. Tickets start at $22.75.

For tickets and information, visit www.kentuckycenter.org.