FOUNDER OF JEFF SAMAHA THEATER PRODUCTIONS/RIDGE CHORALE
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Since 1968, Jeff Samaha has happily been at the head of The Ridge Chorale—a cultural institution/theater company in Bay Ridge, now known as Jeff Samaha Theater Productions.
The father of four has been involved with his theatre organization for the past 45 years—and doesn’t intend to bring down the curtain any time soon.
According to the theater group’s website, Samaha’s “dream to start a chorus in the community,” began slowly and eventually developed into a 55-singer group and a hand-picked orchestra.
Jeff Samaha Theatre Productions has been producing “full-book Broadway shows” since 2002 and debuted the Ridge Chorale Youth Theater in 2008.
Some of the group’s past productions include: “Children of Eden,” “Ragtime,” “Miss Saigon,” “West Side Story,” “Smokey Joe’s Café,” “Fame the Musical,” “Shout! The Mod Musical” and “The Producers.”
Samaha is also on the board of directors for Bay Ridge Cares—an organization that he says “helps people in need.” He also was instrumental, years back, in helping to raise the money to buy bulletproof vests for members of the 68th Precinct.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Samaha labels his biggest challenge as successfully producing “Les Miserables.’ “Having looked for the rights for 25 years, we were finally granted the rights to the Brooklyn premier of ‘Les Miserables,’” Samaha recalled.
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT: The stage manager/producer/conductor says his biggest achievement has been a successful marriage to his wife and raising their four children, three girls and one boy.
CAREER/DAY JOB: Samaha has been a stage manager for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams since 1965.
MOTIVATION: Samaha considers his children his main motivation. His work at NBC Nightly News however, keeps him smiling and has given him the motivation to stay working and not retire.
“It’s my work with Brian Williams that makes me happy,” said Samaha. “We have laughs every day.”
PERSONAL LIFE: “I have a video production company that I run on the side,” said Samaha. [However], my biggest side venture would be this organization (Jeff Samaha Theater Productions). We’re constantly rehearsing and doing shows and I try to squeeze my job in for the rest.”