10 Questions with…Leading Lady Samantha Syverson


Eshal Sajjad, Staff Writer

The Woodhaven Theatre Company is throwing its most ambitious musical to date,  Mean Girls: The Musical. The characters from Mean Girls all hold an iconic sense of nostalgia in many people’s hearts, which is why many were excited to see which WHS students would be playing the role of their favorite characters. The complex yet endearing character of Cady Heron was the most anticipated reveal among the WHS community, but for the up-and-coming Sophomore, Samantha Syverson, the limit does not exist and she was cast as the lead. Eshal Sajjad sat down to talk to this new face to the WTC scene.

The lead role for many high school productions often goes to upperclassmen– what does getting the lead role in Mean Girls as a Sophomore mean to you?

“I’ve previously struggled with feeling inadequate in what I love. So getting an opportunity like this so young compared to others because I know we have super talented people in our comp. It feels unreal. When I found out, “I was like, There’s no way. Is this a joke?” But I don’t know, it makes it feel almost better to get it.”

As a Sophomore, you had to work harder to secure the role of Cady. What did you do to prepare for the audition?

“I’ve always been a really big fan of being mean girls, and I watched bootlegs of the musical so many times. And I said it because I didn’t just audition for Cady. I actually auditioned for Regina initially, but I also really wanted Cady. So, I studied both characters, which I wasn’t really supposed to do. But I just figured out their motivations, and it helped me to feel the character.”

Going into the auditions, who were you hoping to be cast as? Were you hoping for Cady? 

“I initially really wanted Cady. People told me that they see me. I’m so typecasted. I’m really close, similar to her. Well, I was just thinking I was going to go for any lead role because I used to do crew. I was like, I would love to do crew, but I would also love to be in this play. So I was like, Honestly, anything. But I really wanted Regina because she has the best songs. But Cady, I figured it would be the best for me to connect with and understand.”

Is this the first musical you’ve been a part of? If not, tell us more about your past experiences.

“Okay, kind of. So I did Spongebob musical, but I wasn’t in it. I did the set and stuff. When I was a kid, I guess it counts. I would do church musicals for Christmas. I’ve done a lot of singing competitions from when I was younger. But I haven’t really acted that much since I was probably 10 or 11. So I didn’t have that much experience. That’s why it was even crazier when I found I got the lead.”

What are some difficulties and obstacles you had to face as you navigated your role?

“I’ve had a lot of struggles. So obviously, this is my first theater production, being one. And I feel almost inadequate in comparison to all the other cast members who may have a lot of training and have done this so many times. And when I don’t quite understand something or I have to ask Clem what a word that he just said meant. But I also struggle to find out how to react when I’m not the one controlling the story and reacting to what other people are saying. But I think I’ve really grown in it and I’ve started to understand.”

What was your experience with working with the other cast and crew members? Share one of your fondest memories while you guys rehearsed for the musical. 

“I don’t even know. There are so many. The whole cast is so funny and just amazing. I love doing crew, but now that I joined cast, I have more fun than I have ever had in my life. I can’t even try to think of this specific thing.”

Do you see yourself continuing to participate in the Woodhaven Theatre company next year?

“I definitely would in just the company in general, but I don’t know if I’m going to act or do behind the scenes because for Midsummer, I did lighting and I loved it so much. So I don’t know if I’m going to do cast or crew. I think I might do crew for the fall plays and then might be in the plays or the musicals, but definitely. But I would 100 % come back.”

What do you have to say to those who want to audition and take part in the theater scene at WHS? What advice could you give them that you wish you were told?

“I think it’s really important to put yourself out there. For me, I didn’t really have any experience. This whole cast, pretty much the main cast, there are a few diehard theater kids who’ve been in many, many productions, but a lot of the main cast hasn’t really been in any school productions. We all took that step and we went for it and we got it. So the cast is way more diverse with experience than it usually is, so that can happen anytime. So I would totally say go for it. Then my advice would just be don’t freak yourself out. That’s what, especially for me when I get nervous, my voice gets shaky and it makes you not as good as you could be. So just don’t freak yourself out because nobody’s judging you. That’s another big thing. It’s not judging at all.”

How do you feel about the opening day being just around the corner?

“I can’t even believe it. It doesn’t even feel real. I got the role quite a while ago, not going to lie. That’s why I am very stressed. I’ve been super stressed for a long time because this is a lot to take on for my first thing ever. I’m excited for it to be over and just to be able to go home, but I’m really going to miss it because I’ve just had so much fun. But I think I’m really proud of all the work that we’ve done. I think it’s going to be amazing. So I’m not worried about our performance.”

As opening day approaches, what do you wish to tell all of those who are going to come to see the musical and support you?

“I don’t know, laugh at everything that’s funny because that really helps. I’m not going to lie, the first rehearsals that we had with teachers and people watching, and they would laugh. But I would say, laughing, everything that’s funny because it really helps us. And just enjoy it.”