When Joshua Robson and Damien Bermingham of Blue Saint Productions were looking for a musical to produce, Samantha Dodemaide suggested they look at Violet. Winning the 2013 Rob Guest Endowment Award gave Dodemaide the opportunity to travel to New York to study acting. It was her first visit to the city and because Dodemaide is a huge Sutton Foster fan, she chose to see Foster in the Tony Award nominated Violet as her first musical in New York City.
“I just fell in love with every part of the show – the characters, the story, the rhythm of the show, how it made me feel as an audience member. I was so touched by it, even in my jet-lagged state,” explained Dodemaide.
Sutton Foster in the Tony-nominated Broadway production of Violet.
Robson and Bermingham researched Violet, agreed it was the right musical for them to produce and then asked Dodemaide to play the leading role of Violet.
“When I watched the show, I thought it was so up my alley of roles I’d like to play. I felt so connected to the story of Violet, that I thought I have to do this one day, I just never thought it would happen so soon!” exclaimed Dodemaide.
After years of being in the ensemble of musicals and understudying leading roles, Violet will be Samantha Dodemaide’s debut leading role. Her most recent role was being in the ensemble of Anything Goes and being the second cover to Caroline O’Connor.
Dodemaide is grateful for all the years of ensemble work and has discovered a real joy in simply being on the stage, working professionally and making something great from what you are doing as an ensemble member. She has waited for the ideal debut leading role and, two years after wining the 2013 Rob Guest Endowment Award, has found this perfect role in Violet. Fittingly, Joshua Robson, co-producer of Violet, is the 2014 winner of the Rob Guest Endowment Award.
“It’s amazing! It just shows how important the competition is, whether it’s creating your own work or just giving me the opportunity to go to New York for my first time and be exposed to those shows. It speaks for itself as to why it’s so important,” said Dodemaide of the opportunities that have arisen for both her and Robson as a result of their Rob Guest Endowment wins.
Dodemaide said the experience of being part of the Rob Guest Endowment concert was realising she has something unique to offer rather than trying to always mould to the requirements of the next show.
Once she had been offered the role of Violet, Dodemaide chose not to revisit the performance she had seen Sutton Foster bring to the stage and instead chose to concentrate on the text and script to better understand the character and bring her own portrayal to this Australian professional premiere of the musical. Assisting Dodemaide to bring Violet to life on stage are her acting coach, Kevin Jackson and her director, Mitchell Butel.
“She’s such a real person. That’s what drew me the most to this character,” said Dodemaide.
Dodemaide believes Violet is a musical that will appeal to anyone. She explained that we are all searching for perfection, whether it’s being more popular or better or having everything together and sometimes we overlook what we do have.
“Violet is about self discovery and self realisation; about who you really are without being what you think everyone else wants you to be.”
Violet opens at the Hayes Theatre on November 27th for a limited season.
For more information: http://www.violetthemusical.com.au/