A singer and actress with a rich, warm vocal tone, Samantha Barks is known for her roles in stage musicals, TV, and film, and for her own adult contemporary pop. She had already released her solo recording debut when she first came to the broader public's attention as a teenaged contestant on the 2008 season of the BBC singing competition I'd Do Anything. Her Top Three finish led to roles in professional musical theater in the U.K. and, eventually, to work in TV and film, including TV's Groove High and the 2012 film version of Les Misérables. Barks made her Broadway debut in 2018 as the lead in Pretty Woman: The Musical.
Raised on the Isle of Man, Barks studied ballet and tap dancing in her youth and later attended the Arts Educational Schools London in Chiswick, where she finished her A levels. Still in her teens, Barks released an independently produced debut album, Looking in Your Eyes, in 2007. A year later, she auditioned for the BBC's I'd Do Anything, ultimately finishing in third place. After I'd Do Anything, Barks embarked on a career in musical theater, playing Sally Bowles in the U.K. tour of Cabaret from 2008 to 2009 and Éponine in a London production of Les Misérables from 2010 to 2011. In 2012, Barks began starring as Zoe in the Disney Channel's mixed live action and animation series Groove High. Also in 2012, she reprised her role as Éponine in director Tom Hooper's film adaptation of Les Misérables. She returned to the stage with roles in Chicago, City of Angels, and a musical version of the film Amélie, and in June 2016 released her eponymous sophomore album. She supported the release with her first solo tour of the U.K.
In 2017, Barks was cast in a stage musical version of the film Pretty Woman, playing Vivian, the role originated by Julia Roberts. The show featured music and lyrics by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. After premiering in Chicago, Pretty Woman: The Musical marked her Broadway debut when it opened at the Nederlander Theatre in August 2018. ~ Matt Collar & Marcy Donelson