Samantha takes the stage for the very first time with OpenStage in SWEAT!

Headshot for Samantha Jo Staggs

Tell us about yourself! What theatre or other experiences did you have in this discipline before working on this show?

I have been involved in theater since I was a child, my first professional stage experience was here in Fort Collins with Opera Fort Collins. I  was lucky enough to go to college and earn a Bachelor's, Masters and post masters degree in Opera Performance. Performing has allowed me to travel the United States and Europe sharing my craft. I have worked across the US and Italy singing as well as locally performing with Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, Opera Fort Collins, Town Hall Theatre, Longmont Theater Company and Fort Collins Children's Theater among others. I have also created an outdoor performance space at my home that was used during the pandemic to put on socially distanced outdoor performances as well as continuing to be a space for artists to perform. I have always had a love for languages and the different accents that come with embodying different characters on the stage, whether that be in English or in a different language. 

How did you hear about OpenStage?

I have worked in the collaborative warehouse and along with OpenStage for many years through my association with Opera Fort Collins, and have been unable to do a show here yet due to scheduling. I am so happy to finally be able to do a show with this company!

What is something you spend your free time doing, outside of theatre?

Outside of theater, I am an executive sommelier, I teach wine education as well as cooking classes and other events. I have two boys ages 7 and 9 who keep me busy with one adventure after another. I also have 4 french bulldogs and an english bulldog.

What has been the most fun part of the rehearsal process so far?

It is not often that you get to do a show with powerful females in it. I am so grateful for the chance to be onstage with Sydney and Ghandia and tell this story. There is also a comfort and freedom that comes with working with people who you have a personal relationship with. You know that you can push yourself a lot further because you know they will be right there with you.

What has been the most challenging aspect of playing this character so far?

This show is difficult emotionally.The people portrayed in this piece are raw and flawed and do not hold back. It is our job to show these flaws in all of their glory. There are always two sides to every story and there are consequences to each of our actions.

What is your favorite thing about this show?

This show represents a very specific moment in the history of our country. I feel very honored to be able to portray this moment in a historical context.

Why is a play like "SWEAT" important? What do you hope audiences will get out of it?

It may be a more recent history, but the repercussions of this moment are still being felt today. This play represents a moment that changed so many people's lives and has led to so many industrial cities in America becoming shells of their former industrial glory. This play shows the American dream and how it can change in an instant.

What is your favorite role you’ve played in the past?

I have been lucky enough to work in many different genres of theater. Possibly the most fun I have had in recent years is playing Sister Mary Regina in "Nunsense". Not only is it an all female show, but there is a lot of audience interaction and you truly never know what will happen from night to night because the audience is always different, so the show is always different.

What is your favorite show?

Opera: "Tosca" by Giacomo Puccini (The music of this opera makes you feel like you are in Roman, you can even hear the Vatican church bells ring)
Musical: "The Phantom of the Opera" (Carlotta is a dream role and getting to walk down that staircase would be magical!)
Play: "The Play that goes Wrong" (I have never laughed harder in my life as I did seeing this show)

What projects are you working on next?

I am directing Opera Fort Collins production of Le Nozze di Figaro performing on the Lincoln Center Mainstage at the end of February and then singing Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Belle Ensemble Opera in Wisconsin in April.

What is your dream role or dream show to work on?

Sorry I have to spilt it into 3 categories again:

Opera: Minnie in "Girl of the Golden West" by Giacomo Puccini ( I have always wanted to ride a horse while singing an opera)

Musical: Sophie or the Dowager Empress in "Anastasia" the Musical

Play: Suzanne Sugarbaker in "Designing Women" or Dotty Otley/Mre. Clacket in "Noises Off"

By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Kenny Moten

January 13–February 10, 2024
Playing at the Lincoln Center Magnolia Theatre

Come see Samantha take the stage in "SWEAT" Jan. 13-Feb. 10!

The 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning Sweat is a humorous, heart-wrenching, and honest look at the decline of the working class in modern America. In 2008, in a bar in Reading, Pennsylvania, best friends Cynthia, Tracy, and Jessie shared their lives—the good, the bad, and many drinks. Suddenly, they find themselves facing the crushing weight of layoffs and picket lines at the local steel mill. As the union loses ground, trust erodes and they find themselves pitted against one another in a harrowing fight to stay afloat. Sweat boldly confronts issues of race, deindustrialization, and the ever-slipping grip on the “American Dream.”