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Sami Doherty is Judy Haynes in Broadway Palm’s ‘White Christmas’


sami-04On stage now through Christmas Day on the main stage of the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre is Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Playing the role of Judy Haynes is Sami Doherty.

Doherty is a familiar face in Southwest Florida. Not only does she performs on an almost continual basis on the main stage at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre (where she is also employed as dance sami-05captain and sometime choreographer), she is co-owner and an instructor at Melody Lane Performing Arts Center, which will be opening soon in Cape Coral. Some of her recent performing credits include Evita, The Wizard of Oz, Sister Act, Show Boat, Footloose, West Side Story, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Les Miserables, Shrek, Into the Woods (as Repunzel), A Wonderful Life (as Violet) and CATS (as Jennyanydots). But it was after she appeared as part of the ensemble in Cinderella in 2013 that she took her acting career to a whole new sami-06level.

Sami is a natural choice for the role of Judy Haynes. She plays the part with the spunk, charm and sex appeal we’ve come to expect based upon Vera-Ellen’s portrayal in the 1954 movie. But Doherty injects a bit of jealousy and cattiness into her character, replacing the flirtatiousness normally ascribed to the younger, ambitious Haynes sister who is always working some angle. But it is as a dancer that Doherty soars into the sami-07stratosphere in this holiday classic. From ballroom to tap, Doherty is clearly the best dancer on floor whenever she takes the stage. Sisters, The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing, and I Love a Piano are clearly highlights among many memorable song-and-dance numbers in this classy holiday show.

Sami’s mom claims her daughter was “born singing and dancing.” Doherty told the News-Press in September that at the age of six, she could already recite every line from Hello Dolly and My Fair sami-08Lady. “I watched anything with Gene Kelly in it,” she said at that time.

That was also the year Sami’s family moved from San Francisco to Southwest Florida.

A year later, the seven-year-old began taking dance lessons, moving from a small to a larger studio so that she could engage in competitive dancing – all while simultaneously performing in award-winning show choirs, musicals, plays, the national award-winning TAG a cappella group, and attending as many master classes and conventions as possible. She also began choreographing high school musicals from the time she turned 12.

sami-09Doherty studied vocals at Cypress Lake High School before going on to earn her degree in 2011 from the Florida State University School of Theatre. But she always took the summers off during college so that she could return home to perform at Broadway Palm. She was also a member of the Flying High Circus (triple trapeze, bike, balancing, etc) and their troupe choreographer.

Sami is an accomplished costume designer, film actress, and instructor. Teaching is her “other passion.” In addition to any and all forms of dance, sami-10she teaches vocals as acting, from the audition through the onstage and the backstage/technical experience. She is seen weekly teaching everything from ballet/tap/tumble to toddlers to Pointe for high schoolers. Her students often include other professional performers who drop in to her classes while in appearing town to attend her “boot camps.” As Broadway Palm’s dance captain, it is Doherty’s responsibility to keep the show ship sami-12shape after tech week and the show’s opening.

If you did not get enough of Doherty in White Christmas, here’s a bit more holiday cheer. Sami’s talents will continue to be seen on stage at Broadway Palm this season. She will be in Phantom followed by Anything Goes.


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