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Story and photos from Princeton Athletic Communications
Ridgefield (CT) native Sam Gravitte played perhaps the best game of his Princeton men’s lacrosse career Saturday in the Tigers’ loss to Maryland at Byrd Stadium.
Then he put on a different uniform and played on a vastly different stage. A real stage.
Gravitte, a sophomore longstick midfielder for Princeton, did a difficult balancing act last weekend and will do so again this weekend. Gravitte is appearing in the musical “Spring Awakenings” at McCarter Theater, and his role there required some major logistical maneuvering to be sure he was able to be in two important places at basically the same time.
Gravitte performed in the show Friday night and then drove down to Maryland afterwards. As soon as the game at Byrd was over, it was back into the car and up I-95, for the Saturday night performance of the musical. There was another performance Sunday afternoon.
“I’d say the whole experience has been tiring but incredibly fulfilling – I get to do the two things I love at the same time,” said Gravitte, who was a three-year starter for Ridgefield High School’s lacrosse team who was also a football standout. “The coaches and team have been really supportive of the whole thing. When I thanked Coach [Dylan] Sheridan for everything he was doing to help me balance the show and lacrosse, he said, ‘What I know is when you’re happier, you’re going to play better.’ ”
Gravitte isn’t exactly a stranger to the theater. His mother, who drove him back and forth to Maryland, is Debbie Gravitte, who just happens to be a Tony Award-winning actress, honored for Best Actress in a musical for “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.” His father Beau has been on the board of Actor’s Studio in New York City.
Sam Gravitte went to Ridgefield High School in Connecticut, where he, among other accomplishments, played Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables” and set the school record for touchdowns in a season with 23.
Among his other theater credits were “Pajama Game” and “42nd Street.” Among his other athletic accomplishments were all-state and Scholar All-America honors in lacrosse.
“Sam is a well-rounded young man,” said Princeton head coach Chris Bates. “I think one of the great things about Princeton is that our athletes can be involved in other areas of campus life. Certainly the lacrosse program has a long history of that. As for Sam, theater is obvioulsy a big part of who he is and his family. I’m glad he doesn’t have to sacrifice that part of who he is and only play lacrosse. His play last week was certainly one of the bright spots of that game for us.”
Gravitte is Princeton’s top longstick midfielder in lacrosse. Against Maryland had had two caused turnovers and three ground balls, as well as his first career goal and the first goal this season by a Tiger longstick. Through four games he leads the team in caused turnovers and is third in ground balls.
Princeton opens its Ivy League season this Saturday at Penn. By gametime, he will have done two more performances of “Spring Awakenings,” Thursday night and Friday night.
“The cast and the lacrosse guys are both my teams.” Gravitte says. “Neither works without everyone together, focused and well-prepared. I’m really lucky to be at a place like Princeton with coaches like Coach Bates and Coach Sheridan, who have allowed me to balance my love for the game with my love for theatre.”
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