ANKENY, Iowa — Antoine L. Smith has stepped off the Broadway stage and returned to Iowa to lead a workshop at his alma mater.
The Sioux City native graduated from the Iowa Culinary Institute at DMACC in 2005.
Now Smith is back in town, leading a workshop for DMACC theater students and performing at a scholarship fundraising event at the institute.
“DMACC is thrilled to welcome Antoine back to campus,” said Carl Lindberg, Chair of the DMACC Ankeny Theatre at the Simon Estes School of Fine Arts at DMACC. “Antoine is a wonderfully talented performer and professional who continues to accomplish great things by putting in the work. Our current students are so excited to learn from him.”
Smith's list of Broadway playbills is extensive, having performed in "Carousel", the Grammy and Tony Award-winning revival of "The Color Purple" as well as "Memphis" and "Cinderella".
Smith studied vocal performance at the University of South Dakota before studying culinary arts, something he saw as a way to be creative while making money.
“In addition to performing, I love creating in the kitchen, and I figured I could always cook at a restaurant somewhere while I auditioned for theater work,” he said.
Smith says he was singing karaoke when some cast members from "Sesame Street: Live" saw him perform and asked him to audition for their show. From there, he moved to New York City for "Sesame Street: Live" before joining "Cats."
In a sit-down interview with Local 5, Lindeberg shared what Smith's visit back means to the DMAAC community.
"Antoine has been incredibly gracious with his time to be here and to join us. It's thrilling to see that someone can come from Iowa and the Midwest and make it to those big stages," Lindeberg said.
And Smith's advice to his fellow DMACC community and aspiring actors from Iowa?
"I would say, literally, whatever you want to do you can do it. If you just focus on it and just go for it, literally go for it. Dream big."