The following article was published in greenburgh.dailyvoice.com about Broadway's latest star - Samuel Li. Weintraub. He's only five, has a role in Miss Saigon and attends pre school at the Greenburgh school district's Early Childhood Program.
The Greenburgh school district deserves to be commended for this program - an initiative started decades before early childhood programs became popular around the country. The school hours are 9 AM to 3:30 PM
HARTSDALE, N.Y. -- In most ways, Samuel Li Weintraub is your typical five-year-old. Like many kids his age, he attends pre-school at the Early Childhood Program in Greenburgh, plays with Legos and enjoys hanging out with friends at his home in Hartsdale. However, unlike most pre-schoolers, Samuel has a night job that's garnering him national recognition.
Four nights a week after his afternoon nap, Samuel heads into Manhattan with his father, Robert, or his mother, Lin, and takes the stage on Broadway to perform as Tam, the son of the tragic heroine in the play “Miss Saigon.” A love story set in war-torn Vietnam, “Miss Saigon,” tells the tale of an American GI and his romance with a local Vietnamese woman.
Samuel’s foray into acting was an overnight flurry events that began when Lin, a piano teacher, was approached by a student whose husband was an acting agent. “She told me I should contact her husband about getting Samuel into acting,” said Lin. She spoke with the agent, never expecting to hear back, but a frenzy of activity ended with Samuel being tapped to audition for a role in "Miss Saigon" in mid-February.
“At one point they asked me for a resume, and I had to pull something together," said Lin. "What five-year-old has a resume?" Just days after the audition, Samuel was notified he had been selected to play Tam, and began rehearsing at The Broadway Theater just one month prior to the play's opening in late March.
Robert, who works in the watch and jewelry industry, but is a trained former professional opera singer, knew that Samuel had an interest in performing and musical theater. A fan of “Miss Saigon” since seeing the original production years ago in New York, Robert prepared Samuel for the potentially difficult scenes in which he was about to star. “We knew there were intense scenes in the show, and explained that to him,” said Robert. “His answer was, ‘I want to be Tam.’”
Samuel currently performs four times a week in “Miss Saigon,” acting both as Tam, and in various support roles.
Balancing Samuel's schedule with his newfound fame has been the Weintraub’s biggest challenge. Helping in the process immensely has been the half-day program at Greenburgh's Early Childhood Center. “It's been a really good fit for our son,” said the Weintraubs.
For more information on the Early Childhood Center, click here.