WITH AN EYE ON . . . : Samaria Graham: Is she what ‘Blossom’ needs to stay fresh?
A good many up-and-coming actresses would jump like a winning game-show contestant after landing a role on a hit TV series. Not this actress. Not Samaria Graham.
Midseason, Graham joined the cast of the NBC hit series “Blossom.”
“I’m not really excited about it,” she says. “It’s just another job. I mean, I’m happy, but I’m not thrilled or anything.”
The former substitute teacher won the role of Tony’s (Michael Stoyanov) wife, Shelly, over many other contenders. It’s a part that the show’s producers hope will enhance the story line.
“Blossom” executive producer Judith Allison says, “We had quite a search. We needed the character to not be the traditional sitcom girlfriend or wife. After nearly five years and 90 episodes, stories were hard to come by, and with Tony, we thought it would be appropriate for him to marry and marry interracially. We needed to expand our horizons, and we did. We found Samaria.”
Graham’s introduction to the series came in an episode where Tony, devastated over a breakup with his longtime girlfriend, takes off for Las Vegas. There, the longtime recovering alcoholic goes on a bender. He wakes up with a hangover and a new wife. On their drive back to Los Angeles, Shelly and Tony fall in love, and decide to stay married.
Now, Allison and her husband, creator/co-producer Don Reo, have to determine where to take the show from here.
“We’re trying to figure out if she should get pregnant,” Allison says. “Since she’s so independent, we don’t know if she would want to be. The marriage is so new yet.”
After graduating from New York’s Music and Art High School and the University of New York at Fredonia, Graham taught in the New York public school system. While teaching, she continued to audition for musical-theater roles. She starred in both “Tough” and “Really Rosie.”
She got her start on TV in the afterschool special “Girlfriend,” which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. An appearance in the 1993 Forest Whitaker-directed cable movie “Strapped” led to the “Blossom” audition. And she’ll make her feature film debut in Penny Marshall’s “Renaissance Man,” starring Danny DeVito.
Most of what she does, says the actress, is “just work and I’ll just keep doing it.”
One part she wouldn’t mind tackling is that of a killer. “Everyone I play is nice and innocent,” she says between laughs, “I want to play a psycho woman, a crazy lady who no one would suspect would kill someone.”
In the meantime, she’s on hiatus and in the market to audition “for more juicy work.” Being an actress is, after all, just another job.
“Blossom” airs a special “clip” show Monday at 9 p.m. , then moves into its new time s lot, Saturdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.