Note: Sam’s final performance as Billy was in Raleigh, North Carolina on 15-Feb-2015
Debut: June 28, 2014 (Ogunquit)
Total Performances as Billy: 24 [Regional Productions at Ogunquit Playhouse, ME = 16; at North Carolina Theatre = 8]
Sam Faulkner hails from Charlotte, North Carolina and was 15-years-old (D.O.B. = 4-Jul-1998) when he debuted on Saturday evening, June 28, 2014 in the US regional production of BETM in Ogunquit, Maine. He became the 74th Billy to debut in a professional production of the popular show. Sam shared the role for the month long run at Ogunquit Playhouse with BETM veteran Noah Parets. In a normal eight show week, Noah would do five shows and Sam the other three.
Sam’s dance training has been at Jami Masters School of Dance in Charlotte, where he has participated in and won several dance competitions. At the time of his debut as Billy, he was the reigning Dance Masters of Carolina Mr. Teen Dance, an award given to the most outstanding male teen dancer at Dance Master’s annual competition.
Sam has been in the cast of many regional theater productions in his home town of Charlotte including The Music Man and The King and I (The Mathews Playhouse), How I Became a Pirate, The Secret Garden, Sussical and Busytown (Children’s Theatre of Charlotte).
He’s also appeared as Ralphie in A Christmas Story the Musical in Chicago. In this video clip from 2010, Sam sings Red Ryder in Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day Parade:
Credit: Video by Sam Faulkner
Director-choreographer Ron Chisholm has mentored Faulkner since he directed “The Music Man” at Matthews Playhouse in 2007. He says of Sam:
“When he sets his mind to something, he commits to it 100 percent,” Chisholm says. “He had never danced before ‘Music Man,’ and he had a hunger for knowledge: not just singing and dancing and acting, but how a show is put together. He has no trepidation about approaching anything.
“His body picks things up quickly, acting-wise and vocally and movement-wise. On top of it, he’s smart. He has an academic mind to go with artistic intelligence.”
Credit: Video by Broadway Dreams
Again, through his involvement with the Broadway Dreams Foundation, in May of 2014 Sam was seen in the NYC reading of the Broadway-bound revival of The Me Nobody Knows.
In November of 2014, it was announced that Sam would reprise his portrayal of Billy Elliot, heading the cast of the North Carolina Theatre’s regional production of the musical, beginning in February 2015.
Just before he left Charlotte to begin rehearsals in Raleigh in late January, Sam’s hometown newspaper, The Charlotte Observer, posted this video on Youtube about Sam:
Credit: Video by Charlotte Observer
In the same article as the above video, the Observer quotes Eric Woodall, Sam’s Director for the Raleigh BETM production, “I knew he was a great singer and actor, though I didn’t know the level of his dancing. Even before he opens his mouth, he has a natural sparkle in his eyes, a warmth and humor. He has a fresh way of looking at the world that makes you want to see the world in the same way. It’s star quality.”
At this point in his life, about to turn 17, does Sam have plans for his future? For the Observer article Sam said, ““Performing is what I go to bed thinking about, what I dream about, what I look forward to when I wake up. I want to be the person who performs until he steps offstage one day after the final curtain call and drops dead. That’s the ideal.”