INTERVIEW: ANDREW SAMONSKY On Playing Kevin T & Other Real Life Characters in Come From Away Tou
Andrew Samonsky Head shot
Actor Andrew Samonsky is currently travelling the country in Come From Away on tour. He plays the character Kevin T, and like the rest of the cast he alternates several roles throughout the whole show. The tour is currently in Philadelphia through Sunday, Nov 3 at the Academy of Music. RyeTheNewsGuy.com had the chance to talk with Andrew about what it has been like to play a real-life person who's story impacted the show deeply, the effects the show has had on people, what he has learned as an actor while in the role, what stop he is looking forward to, and much more!
How did you prepare for the role of Kevin T? Did you have the opportunity to speak with him or did you have help from Chad Kimball (Kevin T on Broadway) with the role?
I got the chance to meet Kevin during rehearsals. It was the end of August and he came to our rehearsal to tell us about his "pay it forward 9/11" foundation. We were put in pairs of two and given $100 to go out into the world and pay it forward. I got to chat with Kevin that day, but I wouldn't say it influenced my performance. None of us onstage are doing impersonations of our real life characters. But it did make the show very real to me to meet the person I was playing. I don't think I'd ever played a person still living. So that made the show and my work more alive and personal.
What did you learn about your character Kevin T that you were surprised (in a good way) to find out?
I think I was surprised to learn that Kevin really is as dedicated to "paying it forward" as the show presents. Kevin is very active in his community, his church and the globe, spreading kindness and humanity, helping others, and using the show to promote all that is good in the world. He is a great ambassador of the show and it's themes of kindness.
Come From Away tour cast (Matthew Murphy)
What has been the most challenging (but rewarding) thing for you as an actor in playing these roles and being in Come From Away on tour?
The show takes incredible focus! It doesn't stop. And every movement and set move depends on your fellow actors so you feel a huge responsibility to stay sharp and perform always at the highest level. And of course that feels great at the end of the show to realize what we all did together, helping each other, supporting each other, and telling this story together for an audience that is always wildly appreciative.
How has Come From Away helped you become a better actor and sharpen your craft more?
As I said in the last question, it's just reinforced how important your fellow actors are and to always be part of a team. There are no "stars" or "leads" in this show. We are all equal parts and that is humbling in the best way.
Along with playing Kevin T you also play other roles throughout the show as does most of the cast. How do you prepare for taking on these different roles?
Rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal. Our creative time was very patient with us! And we had an incredible dialect coach in Joel Goldes.
Come From Away tour cast (Matthew Murphy)
Have you seen the impact this show has had on people throughout the country? What has been there responses? Has there been a specific moment or interaction that really touched you?
I've never been a show that touches people the way this show does. It's clear this is a very special show the way it lifts people up. It gives them hope. It's remind them of our shared humanity.
What is your favorite song from Come From Away and why?
It has changed over the course of the year, but currently it is the opening number. Besides being great music, it the moment where we all get to step onstage together, look at each other and say "let's do this. Let's come together and share this extraordinary true story with this audience tonight."
Is there a particular tour stop you are most looking forward to?
I've never been to Montreal! I hear it's beautiful. And the Canadians love this show!
As an actor, how do you also maintain yourself and your body in changing climates while touring?
I don't think there much you can do except have your allergy medication on hand. We have an extra trunk that travels with us on tour, so we can change our wardrobe with the changing weather.
What is the best advice you can give to up and coming performers?
I would say to always remember that life is about more that being a performer. Life a full life, find other interests, go experience the world and that will only make you a better performer.