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Prime-time Saturday night television date for Newark-trained actress





A Newark-trained actress who made her professional stage debut in the revival of The Wiz has added television to her credits with an appearance on the Big Night Of Musicals.

Samantha Shuma starred in the hit musical as a member of the ensemble, but also had three performances as the show’s lead, Dorothy.

The show had nearly 100 performances at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, and the cast travelled to the AO Arena to appear on the BBC’s Big Night of Musicals by the National Lottery, which was aired on Saturday night.

Samantha as Dorothy in The Wiz (54497804)
Samantha as Dorothy in The Wiz (54497804)

Samantha said: “It was just insane to think that we had been performing at the Hopemill, which seats about 100, to then the massive arena that seats over 13,000, plus all the film crew and it will be a wider audience when it was aired on the BBC.

“To just go from one to the other extreme is just insane.”

Emerald city at the Hope Mill Theatre (54497807)
Emerald city at the Hope Mill Theatre (54497807)

The Big Night Of Musicals featured performances from the casts of the UK’s biggest West End and touring shows and some special one-off collaborations.

Samantha’s passion for performing started at the Elaine Varney School of Dance and she went on to study at Newark Academy before joining the Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama.

She was then signed by Leagh-Hicks Associates, who informed her of auditions for The Wiz, which ran from Wednesday, November 24, to Sunday, January 16.

The Wiz's live performance at the AO Arena (54497798)
The Wiz's live performance at the AO Arena (54497798)

Samantha said: “I’m speechless really, it could not have gone any better; from start to finish it was the best experience I ever had and I would not change anything for the world.

“We all got on so well and we all had such passion and love for this musical, and the project, so just getting to share that with the audience each night was something special.”

The Wiz's live performance at the AO Arena (54497801)
The Wiz's live performance at the AO Arena (54497801)

When asked her favourite part of the experience, Samantha said: “The energy that we all had as a cast, because the world that we created, it was just magical.”



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