Alum’s big dreams lead to Broadway
Sioux City, Iowa — The lights of New York City might seem like a world away from Sioux City, but West High School set the stage for Broadway star Antoine Smith.
A proud West High alum, Smith has graced the stage with some of the world’s most well-known actors and actresses. The Emmy award winner has countless credits to this name, but it’s his teachers in the Sioux City Community School District that Smith credits for setting him up for success.
“My greatest memories are some of the teachers that greatly impacted my life in a positive way,” Smith says. “Most of my teachers took the extra time to make sure I was moving in the right direction – giving me that extra boost of confidence when I needed it and making sure I understood the work.”
The son of Cleotha and Christine Wooten of Sioux City, Smith began his life as an artist at West High School, participating in every play and musical that was done during his time there. When he wasn’t on West High’s stage, Smith was perfecting his artistic talents at the Sioux City Community Theater.
After graduation, Smith’s educational journey took him to the University of South Dakota to study classical voice and Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in Ankeny, where he earned a degree in culinary arts.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Three weeks after graduating from DMACC, Smith began a three-year tour with VEE Entertainment, the creators and producers of Dragon Tales Live and Sesame Street Live. After completing the tour in 2007, Smith moved to New York City and began auditioning on Broadway. After five months of nonstop auditions, he landed a job with the Broadway national tour of “Cats”.
Since that time, Smith’s career has taken him from the Broadway smash hit “Memphis” to “Cinderella”. In 2015, he starred in the award-winning production of “The Color Purple” alongside Jennifer Hudson, Cynthia Erivo, Joaquina Kalukango, and Danielle Brooks. He received an Emmy award for the production.
Following “The Color Purple,” Smith starred in “Miss Saigon”. He is currently in the production of “MJ the Musical”. When Smith is not on Broadway, he stays busy with television commercial and voice over work and mentors other artists as they begin their own careers.
“I enjoy educating and mentoring other young artists that are trying to navigate the life of an upcoming artist. It can be a very discouraging journey without the right mentorship,” says Smith. “I make it my business to uplift and motivate people with every opportunity I can.”
It is the same encouragement Smith says he received from his teachers in Sioux City as a budding artist with big dreams.
“Because of their teaching, guidance, patience, and support throughout the years, I found myself with the tools I needed to become the artist I am today,” adds Smith. “When I was in school, Iowa was ranked number one in the country for education, and it showed. I’m truly grateful for that experience.”
As he reflects on his accomplishments, Smith says the secret to his success is making everything count.
“One of my favorite quotes is ‘let the work you do speak for you.’ If you give your all to your work, to that thing you love doing most, the results of that hard work will show. And, that hard work will take you places beyond your wildest dreams. Dream big, then bigger.”