Meet the Staff
Samantha Donnelly, Company Manager
by Theresa MacNaughton, Community Engagement Associate
Hello! I am Samantha Donnelly. I grew up in Westchester and Dutchess County, New York. I have a degree in Theatre and Music from SUNY Oneonta. I have worked at Milwaukee Rep as a Stagehand, Asolo Repertory Theatre and Barrington Stage Company – both in company management.
What first got you interested in a career in theatre?
I don’t think that I realized what I was doing to myself when I started looking for jobs in theatre. My first experience in theatre was in middle school. I played Katisha in The Mikado. I consider myself very lucky because I have worked at some amazing theatres on some amazing shows.
What made you want to work for Hartford Stage?
I discovered Hartford Stage when I was looking into UConn for college. When the Company Manager job at Hartford Stage became available, I quickly came to realize it was where I needed to be. Many theatre colleagues had raved about it, and I knew my parents would love the hour-and-a-half commute (compared to the commute to Milwaukee).
What does a day in the life of a Company Manager look like?
I oversee housing, accommodations, transportation, and hospitality for the actors, designers, directors and other guest artists at Hartford Stage.There is no typical day. That is what makes this job exciting; it is always new! I am always on my toes, and up for any task that comes my way. In downtown Hartford, Hartford Stage rents 20 apartments. I am in charge of making sure these are prepared for our guest artists’ arrival and cleaned after their departure. I contact them about their train/plane/automobile travel. I pick them up from the airport or train station and introduce them to Hartford. I coordinate “Meet and Greets,” dinners at donors’ houses, and Opening Night gifts.
I am the go to person for emergencies…
Flat tire? Call Samantha.
Bathroom is flooding? Call Samantha.
Bat in the apartment? Call Samantha.
Need to go to the hospital? Call Samantha.
Too much wine to drink? Call Samantha.
I am kind of like a mom, dad, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, worst enemy, boss, employee, nurse, and mailman all rolled into one (at least in Hartford).
How do your work responsibilities differ when there is a major co-production like Ether Dome?
The biggest difference about any co-production is that the cast comes to Hartford already like a family. They already know each other, and they are comfortable. When they arrive to Hartford, they need to learn the city – but they already have their buddies in the cast to explore with! It makes my job much easier to know they are already all friends.
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
I become so close with the actors and stage managers and designers, and it is always hard to see them leave. I always look forward to the next adventure they are going to have, and I just have to wait for my new group of friends to arrive.
Do you have any funny on-the-job stories to share?
Matthew Lopez, the playwright of The Whipping Man and Somewhere, was in residence with us. I got a phone call that he had a package in the lobby. I went to retrieve it, and it was shaped like a gravestone. I took the package over to his apartment and then called him to make sure it wasn’t an omen. (It wasn’t – it was a suit in a tombstone-shaped box). Imagine me walking a tombstone-shaped box through downtown Hartford during a business day…It was pretty amusing.
What has been your favorite production at Hartford Stage since you’ve worked here?
A Christmas Carol – hands down. I felt like I was being welcomed into a family from the second they arrived. I am so excited to have them all back this year. And seeing Noble (Shropshire, Jacob Marley) fly was pretty awesome.
Do you have other talents or passions outside of working in theater?
I love singing. I don’t do it often, but you can sometimes find me singing at a karaoke bar on a Friday or Saturday. I also have a rather large family. Most of them are within an hour-and-a-half of Hartford, so I like to spend my time with all of them.
What is your personal motto in life?
I believe that we should always set each other up to succeed. You always hear about how someone sets others up to fail…why? I think that it is huge.