Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Break A Leg

Sam Gravitte Feature From 2017

TigerBlog, as he has said before, would love to have been born with the requisite talent to sing on Broadway.

He has spent his entire life enamored of those who can, and he has been a fan of musical theater for as long as he can remember. He grew up in a house with a room adorned with Playbills from various shows, almost all of which were musicals.

He saw a lot of the classics, and his parents listened to a lot of show tunes on car trips. Many of those songs are still on TB's regular playlists, and he's heard some of them thousands of times and still loves them.

One is Len Cariou, who is known more these days as Tom Selleck's father on "Blue Bloods." TigerBlog saw him when he played the Demon Barber of Fleet Street in "Sweeney Todd" - for which he won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical - and met him in a diner in FatherBlog's building, since the two are neighbors.

The other is Debbie Gravitte, whom TB also saw when she made her debut in "They're Playing Our Song," with Robert Klein and Luci Arnaz. Gravitte would go on to win a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for "Jerome Robbins' Broadway."

What must it be like to be able to stand on a stage like that and be able to sing like they can? TB will never know.

He'll also never know what it's like to play Division I lacrosse. He has met several hundred people who have done that.

And now, he knows one who has will have done both. Division I lacrosse and Broadway musical.

Sam Gravitte, Debbie's son, makes his Broadway debut this week, in the musical "Wicked."

It wasn't that long ago that Sam Gravitte was a member of the Princeton men's lacrosse team. In fact, Gravitte graduated in 2017 after being a major contributor for four years, as a longstick midfielder, shortstick defensive midfielder and a close defenseman.

Sam's strengths were his speed, athleticism and tenacity with an endless motor. He was a great teammate with a great attitude.

He was great in transition and could even score goals, and he finished his career with exactly 100 ground balls.

TigerBlog saw pretty much every game Sam played at Princeton. He also saw him play the lead in the musical "Once" at McCarter's Belind Theater, and it was obvious that this was a uniquely talented individual.

And so after he graduated, Sam headed out on the road, in the national touring company of "Wicked" in stops all over the country and in Canada. And now it's on to Broadway.

To start, Sam will be in the ensemble and also will serve as the understudy for Fiyero, the male lead. He did this in the national touring company as well.

It's an incredible achievement for anyone to reach this, well, stage.

Sam obviously comes from a theater family. TigerBlog, given his long-standing love of theater, was looking forward to meeting Debbie Gravitte when he heard Sam was coming to Princeton, and it wasn't really all that tough to figure out which one she was before he met her. She carries herself like a Tony Award winning actress.

Sam's father Beau is also in the theater, as a Broadway actor and producer. Now it's Sam's turn to follow in the family business.

Sam was a football and lacrosse standout at Ridgefield High School in Connecticut, and he set the school record for career touchdowns and was all-state in both sports. He also found time to be in his school's musicals, including playing Jean Val Jean in "Les Miserables," which is one of the most challenging roles ever created.

He did other shows at Princeton, often playing lacrosse during the day and then performing at McCarter that same night.

TigerBlog wrote a feature about Sam, which you can read at the top. His mom had this to say about him:
“The light went on when he did his first show in high school,” Debbie Gravitte says. “It was 42nd Street. He stood in the middle of the stage, and you couldn’t take your eye off him. He just had that thing. It can’t be named. It’s just 'the thing.' Either you have the thing or you don’t have the thing. He can stand on a stage, and he just has that thing.”

In addition to all of his athletic and theatrical talent, he's just a super young man to be around. He's always smiling, always upbeat, always with a positive attitude. All of this couldn't happen to a better guy.

And now it's his first time on the Broadway stage. TB is pretty sure it won't be his last.

Break a leg, Sam. 

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