Actor Sam Tutty on Why Being Unemployed Is Just as Important as Working | Playbill

How Did I Get Here Actor Sam Tutty on Why Being Unemployed Is Just as Important as Working

The Dear Evan Hansen Olivier winner is back in London's West End in the new musical Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York).

Graphic by Vi Dang

When Dear Evan Hansen played its closing performance at the Noël Coward Theatre in October 2022, the musical's title player was Sam Tutty, who had opened the production nearly three years prior. The young actor, who played high school student Evan throughout the entirety of the West End run, earned an Olivier Award for his performance in the London production, which also won the Olivier for Best Musical.

Tutty is currently back in London's West End in the transfer of the new musical Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York), which recently played a sold-out run at the Kiln Theatre and is currently making the Criterion Theatre its home for a limited engagement through July 14.

Directed by Tim Jackson, Jim Barne and Kit Buchan's two-person musical casts Tutty as the naïve but upbeat Brit Dougal opposite Dujonna Gift as native New Yorker Robin. The two meet when Dougal arrives in Manhattan for the wedding of his estranged father, whose bride happens to be Robin's sister.

Tutty, whose stage credits also include Once On This Island at the Southwark Playhouse, has been seen on screen in Four Minute Warning, Romeo & Juliet, and Hollyoaks.

In the interview below for the Playbill series How Did I Get Here—spotlighting not only actors, but directors, designers, musicians, and others who work on and off the stage to create the magic that is live theatre—Tutty draws a parallel between Dear Evan Hansen and Two Strangers and shares why unemployment can be an important time for an actor.

Dujonna Gift and Sam Tutty

Where did you train/study?
Sam Tutty: I studied at Italia Conti and had a wonderful time there. The teachers taught me so much and were wonderfully caring and nurturing throughout my time there. I feel very proud to have been their student.

Was there a teacher who was particularly impactful/helpful? What made this instructor stand out?
I would say there have been many teachers that have carefully chiseled and sculpted the performer I currently am. To have to name two is a tough one... I would say James Watson and David Willoughby are the two responsible for me being involved in the industry today!

Sam Tutty, Rupert Young, Lauren Ward, and Lucy Anderson in London's Dear Evan Hansen Matthew Murphy

Can you share a favorite memory from starring in Dear Evan Hansen—onstage or offstage?
I had a whirlwind throughout DEH, and I would happily do it all over again if it meant all of the cast were in the same room! The cast and crew of DEH have given me so many special memories and for that I am eternally grateful.

How do the challenges of playing Evan compare with the challenges of a two-person musical like Two Strangers?
Both pieces are brave enough to tell the stories of remarkably normal and "unimportant" people. The honesty that has been woven into the tapestry of both shows is remarkable, and to be involved with both of those pieces is a great honor. There is a great sensitivity in playing characters that are telling a very simple, honest, and human story. The openness and stillness that is required to tell stories like that can be very hard to deliver on a nightly basis, but rising to that challenge is the main reason I wanted to be an actor.

Sam Tutty and Dujonna Gift

Do you have a favorite moment for your character in Two Strangers? What makes that part special?
I am very lucky to work with such a wonderfully fun and silly, but professional and intelligent team. It is that paradoxical smoothie of human qualities that made not only the rehearsal process so fun and fulfilling, but every show that we have done so fun and fulfilling, too.

Do you have a dream stage role?
I don't have a dream role, or at least not one that I know of right now! I would say any role that I find challenging to crack and understand and one that would improve me as an actor.

Is there a person or people you most respect in your field and why?
I would say Andrew Scott is someone that I have found great inspiration from. He is a never-ending supply of openness and honesty throughout his work.

What advice would you give your younger self or anyone starting out?
I would say stop comparing yourself to people in the industry. Your individualism is worthy of this industry.

What do you consider your big break?
Obvious answer, but I would say Dear Evan Hansen certainly was my foot in the door to the industry. I owe the team all my successes!

What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now?
That success in this industry does not define you. Being out of work is just as important as being employed. Listen to yourself when you are unemployed—you could find valuable slices of information about yourself as an actor and human when you commit to finding it.

See Sam Tutty and Cast at the Final London Performance of Dear Evan Hansen

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