The Actorsingers

Presenting Community Theatre since 1955

In The Spotlight - Darik Velez (2015)  

Cinderella's Prince and The Wolf in Into The Woods

Darik Velez will be playing Cinderella's Prince and The Wolf in  Into The Woods.  His first memory of musical theater was is sitting by the kid running the spotlight for a high school production of Anything Goes that my older sisters were in. He wanted nothing more than to grow up to run the spotlight. He eventually ended up on stage and still has yet to make it to the lighting booth. His first part was age 6 as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing…..and was hooked after that. Darik credits his music teachers, siblings and director of his first real show in the 9th grade as his inspirations to do theater. He loves how you can express deep emotions through acting and song. After an absence, he has just returned to musical theater in NH and has performed with Stagecoach productions. This is his first show with Actorsingers. 

Darik's top three favorite shows and roles are Big River (Huck), The Fantastiks (El Gallo) and Children of Eden (Adam). He loves being part of the creative process allowing for great experiences to happen with people whom he might not have otherwise met. His other interests when not doing theater are astronomy and physics, and keeping with his two children (ages 8 and 5). He also plays ice hockey and is always on the lookout for activities to focus his energy on things like archery and pumpkin carving.

His dream roles are to play John Adams (1776), Chris (Miss Saigon) Chess (either part) Che (Evita) Mark (Rent) and Don Quixote in Man of LaMancha.

Show Dates November 6,7,8 Tickets available here

Posted by Evelynn Decker Sunday, October 25, 2015 10:58:00 AM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage

In The Spotlight - Kelsey Rae Marot (2015) 

Ensemble in American Idiot

Hi all!  I’m Kelsey Rae, and I’m beyond thrilled to be making my ActorSingers debut as a part of the ensemble of this stellar cast of idiots!  Being a part of this production and meeting all of these wonderful people has truly reignited my passion for performing, and for anyone who has ever experienced that absence of purpose, it’s clear just how priceless that gift of fulfillment is. 

Honestly, it’s a bit of a blur as to how this all came to be…but here’s how I remember it:  One Saturday afternoon, I was out with a friend and we stopped at the local Starbucks.  While waiting for our orders, I found myself drawn to the bulletin board and a flyer that had been posted.  “American Idiot Auditions!”  It was right there.  So naturally, I took down the information…just in case.  After hours pulling my hair out over my audition song and flip-flopping over whether or not to even audition at all, I asked myself:  “what could it hurt?”  Having not performed in over four years, I never imagined that I’d get cast.  I am so thankful that the creative team saw something in me that I hadn’t. 

It took me a while to figure out where and how I exactly fit into this show.  It’s easy to rock out and be punk—mess up your hair, throw on some heavy eyeliner and just say “screw the world”—but this story delves so much deeper.  In realizing this, it was easy to develop the backstory.  I see myself as a runaway that had been pushed around my whole life and has finally taken a stand by striking out on my own.  By doing so, I find this innate strength that I harness to then stand up for those who are getting less than they deserve.  Who doesn’t like an empowered rocker-chick, right?! :)

I think one of the most rewarding parts of this experience is realizing just how far I’ve come since my first performance way back when.  I grew up in the small town of Douglas, MA.  My school didn’t have a theatre troupe or a drama department—but what we did have was music.  My first experiences as a performer were as part of the chorus under the direction of Al Denoncour.   I don’t think I ever looked back after that first concert and I owe a lot of that to Al himself.  Over the past fourteen years, he has helped to guide me along my creative path, not only as my teacher and mentor, but as my dear friend.  I wouldn’t be where I am today without him and others like him that have supported me on this journey. 

My creative journey has been…well…a sporadic one to say the least.  My backstage career has been on the front burner for some time now while the performance aspect has been set aside to cool.  Over the past few years, I’ve traveled and worked as a theatre carpenter for different companies up and down the east coast.  Recently though, I’ve settled down in Concord, NH, where I’m currently working as the Production/Events Manager & Administrative Assistant at the Capitol Center for the Arts.  Working in theatre, performing or otherwise, it’s become quite clear that no matter where you go, you will meet the most incredible people.  I’ve been blessed with my experiences and the friends I’ve made along the way and what I’ve realized, by participating on both onstage and off, is that I don’t need to pick and choose.  All I need in life to be happy is to be involved in the magic that is the theatre.  The rest will come as it may. 

Show Dates Aug 28, 29, 30 and Sept 3, 4, 5 Tickets available here

Photography by: Stephanie Pappas Photography

 

Posted by Evelynn Decker Saturday, September 5, 2015 9:21:00 AM Categories: In the Spotlight

In The Spotlight - Matt Kaiser (2015) 

Will in American Idiot

My name is Matt Kaiser and I play Will in the Production of American Idiot. My suburbia was right outside of Baltimore. I took a holiday to Boston and now live in Nashua.

I had just become a teenager when the American Idiot album came out. I had already dealt with loss and anger and guilt that I had no clue how to handle. Getting to share the story of American Idiot seemed like an opportunity to, in so many words, share my own. I began preparing for my audition from the moment the show was announced — I went back to all of my albums from high school looking for an audition song, and I even started taking guitar lessons in case they asked me to play. I HAD to be part of this show.

This is my second Actorsingers show after Les Mis, which was my first production after moving to New Hampshire in 2013. I saw my wife’s cousin, Maddie, perform in Actorsingers’ Sound of Music a couple years before and knew I had to be part of this community. I’ve also done some shows with StageCoach since then.

When I was cast I was floored. I think I was so overwhelmed that I was late to work that morning. It was one thing to join the production, but to get a chance to play Will and become part of the story was a dream come true.

Will is a deadbeat – he drinks, he smokes, he watches way too much TV (I won’t get too deep into how similar Will is to a slightly younger Matt…). Will blows his one chance of getting out of suburbia by getting his girlfriend pregnant, and caves under the responsibility. Through the years, I’ve seen a bit of Will in one friend after another. He represents a generation of kids unable to cope with their mistakes and the expectations of the world around them. He’s a character that a lot of people can relate to — and if he makes it through, he’s proving that they can too. Will has a hopelessness that requires me to access a lot of memories that I’ve put away. During a rehearsal run-through I cried during 21 Guns. I love every moment of this show but it’s also reminding me of a version of me that hurts to remember, and that’s hard.

I didn’t perform in a show until my senior year of high school, but I did get selected to play the recorder for our elementary school production of Johnny Appleseed. The American Idiot pit band has nothing on me.

It’s hard to explain the feeling I get when I’m on stage. Taking on a character like Will helps me, for better or worse, understand a little bit more about whom I am. There is something transformative about opening up, even if it’s as someone else. I also do it for the people. This American Idiot cast and crew is like a family to me now, and I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.

I have a design degree from MassArt and work as a designer for PillPack pharmacy in Manchester. Outside of work and theater I like to travel with, watch movies with, and up until this past June, do wedding planning with my now wife!

 

Show Dates Aug 28, 29, 30 and Sept 3, 4, 5 Tickets available here

Photography by: Stephanie Pappas Photography

Posted by Evelynn Decker Friday, September 4, 2015 12:22:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight

In The Spotlight - Laura Millar (2015) 

Assistant Stage Manager American Idiot

 My name is Laura Millar from Mont Vernon, NH and I am the Assistant Stage Manager for American Idiot.

 I really wanted the chance to try working backstage. I had a lot of friends involved with the production, and the material is just so good. It seemed like a great chance to try something new.  I love the community. I love being part of a team, working together to make something magical.

 The most challenging part of ASM is learning the ropes and figuring out exactly what I needed to know. Stage Manager Beth Schwarz has been amazing. I have never run crew, or done anything of the sort. It’s important to note that our show has no needles (or drugs) in our syringes! Also, this cast is not nearly as angsty as their performances imply. 

I have been in the ensemble for Actorsingers, and I am the head of the social committee. I played Henrietta in Stagecoach's All Shook Up, and the Sour Kangaroo with the Amherst PTA's Seussical. I directed the summer alumni production of Damn Yankees at the Riverbend in 2012.

I remember my mother taking me to see many productions at the former American Stage Festival in Milford. I was always annoyed when it was a musical, because "people don't really just start singing their feelings." I then went on to study opera. Go figure.

I am a middle school English teacher, and I enjoy doing various "crafty" things. I also teach voice lessons through my new company, Naxos Voice Studio.

Do you wanna be an American Idiot?

Show Dates Aug 28, 29, 30 and Sept 3, 4, 5 Tickets available here

 

Posted by Evelynn Decker Thursday, September 3, 2015 3:08:00 AM Categories: In the Spotlight

In The Spotlight - Julie Shea (2015) 

Ensemble in American Idiot

My name is Julie Shea from Nashua and I appear as ensemble member Julie in American Idiot. I’m originally from Maine and after attending college in the area I moved permanently to NH in 2008.

Music is my first love, so it was a no brainer to audition for a show that’s built around an album filled with music that I already loved. Additionally, what they’ve done with the songs—the arrangements, the harmonies—are far more complex than the originals and it’s really rewarding to get right. The great part is that the themes of the show are relatable on many levels, especially if you’re familiar with the album.

 My first Actorsingers show was last fall doing “Young Frankenstein.” I just recently started doing theater again after a long hiatus and have done several shows with Stagecoach Productions as well since 2013. I was so thrilled when cast. Knowing that I didn’t really fit the “punk” mold, I was a little nervous I might not get in! But throughout this process I’ve realized that the word “punk” is really a catch all and being punk doesn’t mean looking a certain way at all, and I’ve embraced that. I was also slightly scared because I knew that the choreography was going to be challenging, and choreo is definitely my weak spot and where I need to improve!

My character is an extension of myself (I mean…we used our own names for the characters!). We use the word “angst” a lot to describe this show, and I think it’s accurate—for my character, I think it’s a lot of anxiety, torment and fear. My character is younger than me, and at a point where nothing makes sense—when you’re angry but you don’t even know who or what to be angry at, and so it changes based on your surroundings and sometimes on who tells you what to be angry at. Am I angry for the same reasons that Johnny is angry? Probably not, but he’s angry and we look to him for guidance, and so I’m angry too. Eventually I think we all find our own way based on those initial feelings, when we realize that we may have the same feelings but for different reasons.

Ever since I was little I was always attracted to music and plays, including after school programs. At my K-5 elementary school, there was a 5th grade musical every year—I got to be the lead in “The Phantom of the Music Room,” which is a 45 minute musical made for kids. Google it, riveting plot line. My parents probably still have the VHS.

I love being involved in theater as my job isn’t very creative, so theater gives me that outlet. I love being part of a team that works together and creates something beautiful that makes people happy. And, it’s been a great opportunity to make friends. I didn’t really have many local friends before I started doing theater since I moved from out of state, so that has been wonderful.

When I am not involved in a theater production I like being active and outside—hiking, camping, being at the beach. I also enjoy cooking. My husband is far better than I am, but I have picked up a few tricks and can hold my own!

 

Show Dates Aug 28, 29, 30 and Sept 3, 4, 5 Tickets available here

Photography by: Stephanie Pappas Photography

Posted by Evelynn Decker Saturday, August 29, 2015 11:28:00 AM Categories: In the Spotlight

In The Spotlight - Jessica Vaughn (2015)  

Whatsername in American Idiot

My name is Jessica Vaughn from Concord NH and I play Whatsername in American Idiot. The theatre bug caught up with me after 5 years of melting faces with a band and really, come on now: what a great transition to dive back in, it’s a killer punk show. My first Actorsingers show was Jesus Christ Superstar (Mary) and I was also a pussy in Cats (Demeter). In addition, I have performed with the Palace Theatre, Stagecoach Productions, Majestic, and Ghostlight to name a few. Great experiences with all of them!

With all the amazing talent, I fully expected callbacks to happen so when I received a congratulatory Facebook message from a cast member the morning after the 2nd round of auditions, I was confused and half asleep. I checked the website, did a double take, screamed with excitement, and woke my hubby up. It was kind of hilarious.

It’s funny; I connect with Whatsername more than any of the other characters I have played. I AM her (well, minus the heroin use). I see a lot of similar traits: she likes bands/thrives for music with passion, she is a little spitfire who screams for revolution, she’s flirtatious, confident, wants to take on the world, gives in to some things she shouldn’t as she’s only human but she has a good head on her shoulders. Because of this, she knows when something is toxic and distances herself if she needs to. She seems edgy on the outside but has a good heart.

This show is a far cry from my first theatre experience I was a mouse in Peter Rabbit at the age of four. My only line was ‘uh huh’ but damn, did I kill that performance. I experience a sense of community, support, and networking like no other when I do theater. Some of my best friends are ones that I met during Jesus Christ Superstar so I’m thankful for theatre because it gives me an opportunity to express myself while making lifelong friends and memories.

When not in the theatre, I work database and excel geek stuff at St. Paul’s School and in the evenings, I make music and perform in the other side of the performing realm: the rock/band world.

 

Show Dates Aug 28, 29, 30 and Sept 3, 4, 5 Tickets available here

Photography by: Stephanie Pappas Photography

Posted by Evelynn Decker Thursday, August 27, 2015 3:56:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight

In The Spotlight - Sheree Owens (2015) 

Heather in American Idiot

Sheree Owens is beyond excited to be playing Heather in the NH premiere of American Idiot.  She started performing in the Student Actor's Program at Beaver Meadow Elementary School in Concord at the age of 10 and never stopped.  She got her AA in Musical Theater from Dean College in Franklin, MA and has completed two national tours professionally with educational theater companies.  She lives in Pembroke and got involved in Nashua Theater playing Marta in Stagecoach's production of Company in 2013.  She was cast as Eponine in Actorsingers' Les Miserables later that year and won the NH Theater Award for best supporting actress.  Although she lives in Pembroke, it's worth the drive to be a part of Nashua Theater and she has done several shows with both companies since then. 

Sheree and a few fellow cast members fondly remember rocking out to the American Idiot soundtrack in the Metzger's basement and talking about how awesome it would be to do the show.  So when she found out that Donna actually got the rights, the choice to audition was a no-brainer.  The whole cast and production team has been passionate about this project from day one and the show is going to be amazing, from both a performance and technical standpoint.  

In the show, Heather finds out she's gotten pregnant just as her boyfriend is planning to leave town and pursue his dreams with his friends.  She keeps the baby and both she and her boyfriend deal with the unexpected changes in their lives as best they can.  Sheree can definitely identify with Heather; she and her husband Elliot welcomed their first child, Sam, into the world at the end of April.  Although that family expansion was planned, it was still a huge adjustment and it's easy to imagine what it would have been like had it happened before they were ready.  

Outside of the theater, Sheree works as a manager at an animal hospital.  After American Idiot closes, she plans on taking a break from theater for a bit to focus on spending time with her family.  

 

 Show Dates Aug 28, 29, 30 and Sept 3, 4, 5 Tickets available here

Photography by: Stephanie Pappas Photography

Posted by Evelynn Decker Wednesday, August 26, 2015 10:18:00 AM Categories: In the Spotlight

In The Spotlight - Elliot Owens (2015) 

St. Jimmy in American Idiot

My name's Elliot Owens, and I am very happy to be playing St. Jimmy in American Idiot! I'm originally from Dartmouth, MA, spent some time in the Long Island area, and now live in Pembroke NH with my wife, Sheree, and my son, Sam. I auditioned for this show because I was thrilled to see something like this being brought to the New Hampshire community stage. It's a very exciting and engaging production, and I didn't want to miss this one! I've only been back into theater for a couple of years after some time off, but I performed in Young Frankenstein for Actorsingers, Jesus Christ Superstar with Stagecoach and I Love You Because with Manchester Community Theater Players.

I was very happy and excited to be cast, not only for myself, but also to work with the rest of this very talented cast and crew. St. Jimmy is a unique role, and not to give too much away, but it's challenging to embody St. Jimmy. I liken him to an emotionally abusive partner, who leads Johnny to do things that are not in Johnny's best interest. I think the most challenging thing is how you embody something as manic and manipulative as St. Jimmy without seeming over the top. His desires, however selfish, are real, and in some twisted way I believe he loves Johnny very much.

My earliest theater memory is when I was in 5th grade, in an elementary play about America. I'm pretty sure the plot revolved around a group of kids going back in time to meet the founding fathers, but I do know for certain I was ROCKING a matching American flag shirt and shorts combo (I have the photographic evidence). I really started getting into theater in middle school, even though we didn't even have a theater program, so it was skits my friends and I would write.

When I'm not in the theater, I'm a Special Education teacher and I help direct the Glee Club at my school. I also enjoy listening to music with Sam - so far, we've covered Motown, 80s pop and 70s soul, but he still seems to like the songs I make up for him on the spot the best. I am lucky to have a wonderful family and colleagues, but I love the sense of community that theater provides. The fact that a group of people, however big or small, come together to create something out of nothing is a great experience, one I would recommend to anyone.

 

Show Dates Aug 28, 29, 30 and Sept 3, 4, 5 Tickets available here

Photography by: Stephanie Pappas Photography

Posted by Evelynn Decker Saturday, August 22, 2015 10:34:00 AM Categories: In the Spotlight

In The Spotlight - Logan Higgins (2015) 

Featured Ensemble in American Idiot

Logan Higgins from Litchfield New Hampshire appears in the featured ensemble in Green Day’s American Idiot.  He describes his character as a sort of glam/androgynist punk kid that escaped the ignorant minds of Suburbia with Johnny, Tunny, and the rest of the cast to find his own crowd of people that think and act the same as him. “My character is an extension of me; he is just everything that I wish I could tap into when I’m not on stage.”  What was the most challenging part of bringing his role to life?  “The anger. The angst. It has been such a challenge for me to bring out that anger to make this character truly believable. It’s also been hard trying to keep some of my natural traits out of this show.”

Why did Logan audition for this show? “I auditioned for this show for so many reasons. One of the biggest reasons is Green Day, the album American Idiot in particular, was the first piece of music I bought and started to love on my own. I remember walking the isles of Newbury Comics at the age of 10 with 20$ in my pocket when the hand grenade heart caught my eye. It spoke to me and I bought that album for 11.99$ and listened to it on the way home to my dad’s house on my personal CD player. That album started shaping my personal musical stylings into the Hodge podge of genres it is today.” 

Logan has performed with Actorsingers for two years. “It started off when a good friend of mine convinced me to audition for their teen show Urinetown back in 2013. I hadn’t done any theatre for a whole year and I was so nervous that I went flat on the last note of my song. Since then, I have appeared in both of the 2014-15 main stage Actorsingers productions including Young Frankenstein and Crazy for You.

Logan’s earliest theatre memory was being solider #2 in The Lady Pirates of Captain Bree in 5th grade. “I had no lines, but I got to chase someone and there was a line about a fish being in my pocket. The song “Shipshape ‘n’ Bristol Fashion” has haunted my dreams ever since.” 

Why does Logan perform? “I have met some of my best friends through theatre, but I love the chance to be someone different. Growing up, I loved to play pretend because I always thought that I was really boring and I could play these characters to liven my life up for a temporary amount of time. I still feel that way to an extent, but being on stage provides me the same adrenaline as going on a rollercoaster. I’m poor, so going to an amusement park isn’t always the best option! Hahaha”

Logan recently resigned as the manager and cake decorator at Cold Stone Creamery on Amherst Street in Nashua, NH so he can focus on school in the fall. He will be a full-time student at Middlesex Community College working on a theatre concentration. On the rare occasion Logan is not singing, choreographing some random dance, or preparing his acceptance speeches/ celebrity interviews, he likes to play old school video games, watching the game show network, cooking/baking/grilling, and learning about makeup.

 

Show Dates Aug 28, 29, 30 and Sept 3, 4, 5 Tickets available here

Photography by: Stephanie Pappas Photography

Posted by Evelynn Decker Friday, August 21, 2015 11:29:00 AM Categories: In the Spotlight

In The Spotlight – Glen Grimard (2015) 

Moose in Crazy For You

Glen Grimard is in our Spotlight today.  He will be appearing as Moose one of the Cowboy Trio in our production of CRAZY FOR YOU. In his words.....

I auditioned for this show because I am a long-time friend of the first time director and I wanted to do my part to ensure her success.  I went to see a high school production of the show in 2012, when my nephew appeared as a "cowboy" and I was re-introduced to the songs and the book of the show.   The book of this musical is smartly written comedic dialogue.  The classic tuneful songs that are dropped in amongst the scenes are just an added bonus.   I was in the cast of the original Actorsingers production back in 1996.  I wanted to be in the current production because I have improved my stagecraft skills since then and I wanted the opportunity to make my part of this musical better than it was in 1996.  

I’m proud to boast that in May of this year, I mark my 20th anniversary of becoming a member of Actorsingers.  My involvement with the group actually started with the auditions for “Into the Woods” in September 1994.  I wanted to be in that production so badly, but I must have really stunk because I remember the audition form offered the “auditionee” the opportunity of being a tree in the production.  I checked off every box on that audition form, but I didn’t get cast.  I wasn’t even good enough to be a tree!  [I’m glad Barbara Walters is not supplying the questions for this interview – I wouldn’t know what to say if she asked “What kind of tree are you?”]   But I was cast in the very next show that I auditioned for – “They’re Playing Our Song” – and even though I was forced to leave that production due to a physical injury, I’ve been fully invested in the organization ever since.

I have performed with other groups in the area such as Music & Drama, New Thalian Players, Nashua Theatre Guild, Majestic Theatre Trust, Stage One, Colonial Chorus, Burlington Players and StageCoach Productions but I’ve always identified mostly as being a member of Actorsingers.

I was relieved when I found out I was cast.  It’s always a tough interval of time to live through when you’re waiting for the cast list to be revealed.  And then when I saw the name of the character I would be playing, I laughed and suddenly became impatient to get started rehearsing!

I play Moose and this is the same character I played in 1996.  When I found out that I would be playing Moose again, I pulled out a photograph I have, which was taken while I was in costume and on stage in the 1996 production.  I began thinking about the way my acting has matured since 1996 and how that would make Moose in 2015 different.  It’s actually easier bringing the role to life at age 47 than at age 28, because of all that I’ve learned and practiced in the realm of acting since then.  Looking at the picture from 1996, I knew I wanted the character to wear a similar costume and I started growing my facial hair to match.  I watched Actorsingers’ archival footage from the 1996 production and I noted the pitch of the voice I used and that helped me step back into the role.  Moose in 2015 is a lot different from the man he was in 1996 and I’m lucky that I get to show those changes in this production.

My earliest theater memory is performing in a talent show at a campground in Sebago, ME.  I was 11 and I got up on stage and sang “Babe” by Styx, unaccompanied.  I remember singing the song to the musical accompaniment playing in my head – but there’s like a 15 second instrumental part in the middle of the song and when I stopped singing, the audience started clapping.  But it wasn’t the end of the song.  Why didn’t they know that I wasn’t done singing? [I can laugh about it now – but it was so disappointing then.]

I work in a call center in Tewksbury, MA and I’m responsible for providing professional responses to incoming customer email inquiries.  When I’m not working or working on a show, I like being audience to theater performances.  I like to camp and hike.  I like watching TV and writing letters for snail mail correspondence with friends. And I like playing games with friends.

I get a lot from theater. 

Friendship. 

Acceptance.

Fellowship.

Approval. 

Creativity

Challenge

Commitment

Confidence

And no one gives {{{hugs}}} better than show people!  

Posted by Evelynn Decker Thursday, April 30, 2015 12:57:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage
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