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Samantha Jane Barks was born on October 2, 1990 in the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom. She is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Éponine in the acclaimed 2012 film adaptation of Les Misérables and for originating the role of Vivian Ward in the Broadway premiere of Pretty Woman: The Musical.
Ms. Barks grew up in Laxey on the Isle of Man, attending both the Laxey Primary School and St. Ninian's High School in Douglas. She took dance classes from as early as 3 years old, training in ballet, modern and tap, and she would move to London at the age of 16 after successfully earning a place at The Arts Educational Schools (ArtsEd).
She first rose to prominence in the UK in 2008 on the BBC casting show I'd Do Anything searching for a leading lady to play Nancy in a West End revival of Oliver! Although she finished third on the series finale, she gained great publicity from appearing on the show and was promptly cast as Sally Bowles in the UK tour of Cabaret from August 2008 through to July 2009. Her next big role came in the form of a West End debut, as she assumed the role of Éponine in Les Misérables from June 2010 to June 2011 - a role that would change her life. Producer Cameron Mackintosh chose her to play Éponine at the 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Mis at London's O2 Arena in October 2010. Following her West End run, Ms. Barks finally got the chance to play Nancy as she was cast in the UK tour of Oliver! from December 2011. During the tour, Mackintosh appeared on stage after a performance to announce she would reprise her role of Éponine in the 2012 Les Misérables film adaptation. She left the tour in April 2012 to begin filming, before returning for performances in Edinburgh, Leeds, Dublin, and Bristol, among others, until February 2013.
In November 2012, Disney's Groove High premiered on television, with Ms. Barks starring as Zoe in a total of 26 episodes and in February 2013, she appeared alongside her Les Mis co-stars at the 85th Annual Academy Awards ceremony.
She took on the role of Velma Kelly in Chicago at The Hollywood Bowl in July 2013, before returning to London to star as Mallory / Avril in City of Angels at the Donmar Warehouse in 2014. From August to October 2015, she starred in the title role of the world premiere of Amélie at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California. Back in London, she took on the leading role of Cathy in the Off-West End production of The Last Five Years at the St. James Theatre from October to December 2016 and starred as Betsy Nolan in a concert presentation of Honeymoon In Vegas at the London Palladium on March 12, 2017.
From March to April 2018, she starred as Vivian Ward in the world premiere of Pretty Woman: The Musical at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago, which transferred to Broadway and marked her Broadway debut from July 20, 2018. She played her final performance as Vivian on July 21, 2019.