The Actorsingers

Presenting Community Theatre since 1955

In the Spotlight - Leo Choquette 

Properties Lead for Les Misérables

Leo Choquette, from Merrimack, NH, is the Properties lead for Les Misérables. Leo states “this is the musical of all musicals - when I think of musicals, Les Misérables comes to my mind first!”  Leo goes on to say “this is a period piece, and I’m in my element doing period pieces. I like to make the audience feel like they’re in that particular time period.” “I am more detailed oriented with theater than at home.  I am a visual person so the overall look of the scenes with props needs to look good.”  “When the audience is watching, it will look very realistic - they will feel like they are in the French Revolution time period.  “Viva la France!

Leo found the most challenging part of bringing this show to life was staying in the French Revolution time period the props have to be period specific and realistic. This is a very props heavy show with many interesting pieces!

Leo finds working on props for shows is his stress relief from everyday life.  When he is the running props master, he just doesn’t put things on racks for the cast to get.  He realized after working stage crew that costume changes are quick and if he can hand something off or take something back,  it is one less thing the cast has to worry about. He says “if the cast has what they need for props when they need it, then I have done my job.  I take pride in what I do!”

Leo remembers seeing his first Theatre production on Broadway, Annie Get Your Gun with Reba Macintyre.  He was lucky to attend with his grandmother, mother and sister-in-law.

Leo, who has a degree in interior design, likes to shop at consignment stores, thrift shops, Goodwill, Salvation Army and antique houses looking for props.

Posted by Evelynn Decker Monday, November 11, 2013 12:06:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage

In the Spotlight Sarah DeLisle 

Plays in the female ensemble in Les Misérables

Sarah DeLisle

Sarah is from Bedford, NH and auditioned for Les Misérables after a friend told her the show was coming to Nashua.  Her friend said she had to audition because she would have been THAT girl at every performance singing along and disrupting other audience members!

This is Sarah’s first Actorsingers show but she hopes “it's not my last!”  Sarah appeared in the V - Monologues all four years of college but has not been in anything recently.  She explains “When I found out that I made the cut, I was sitting in my classroom and burst into happy tears, thankfully my students were out of the room!”

Sarah explains “Theatre brings out a piece of me that I never knew existed. It gives me the chance to portray something complete separate from myself and be free. I also love the community aspect and how we all work together to create something amazing.”  As part of the ensemble, Sarah feels lucky to have a variety of roles, the most challenging part of connecting is to her part of Whore #2 she says “I feel like I'm being silly when trying to entice the young men and audience.”

Her earliest theatre memory is from being very young and singing along with The Phantom of the Opera on tape in the car. 

Sarah feels fun and work go hand and hand for her because she teaches 2nd grade. She also loves to spend time going to see shows, trying new restaurants, baking and going out with friends.

Posted by Evelynn Decker Monday, November 11, 2013 8:28:00 AM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage

In the Spotlight Mia Berardi 

Plays in the female ensemble in Les Misérables

Mia was born in New Hampshire but grew up in Lakeland Florida, she auditioned for Les Mia Berardi  because it is a beautiful show with beautiful music and she really wanted to have such an amazing show on her résumé.  This is her first Actorsingers show and only her second community theatre show ever!

Mia was super stoked to find out she was cast, she hadn't been in a show for a year since she left Illinois where she was performing in her first professional show. She was ecstatic to get back to what she loves! When Mia is performing she feels like the last puzzle piece in the puzzle you've been working on for ages,  like she’s in the right place. Mia says it helps her grow not just as an artist but also as a human being in every show she works on.

At the beginning of the show Mia plays the factory girl who gets Fantine fired. It's a pretty fun character even though she is mean. But hey, some of the greatest characters to play onstage are mean!  She is  also a few other random people onstage which is always fun because you can create your character from scratch!  Mia finds the most challenging part about her roles is getting the idea that all of these people are suffering. Their lives are very hard and they are looking for a solution. That's really what it's all about. So the characters are trying to find peace in a chaotic environment.

Mia’s earliest theatre memory was when she was cast in Gypsy when she about six. She remembers opening night and seeing all the grown up ladies putting their stage makeup on and doing their hair and thought..."That's what I want to do when I grow up!"

What does Mia do when not on stage she reads, she says she reads so many books its ridiculous!. She also has private voice lessons with Lynn McCartney which she enjoys so very much because she is obsessed with singing!

Posted by Evelynn Decker Sunday, November 10, 2013 5:35:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage

In the Spotlight Melany White 

Plays in the female ensemble in Les Misérables

Melany originally from Hershey, PA (where the chocolate is made!), currently lives in New Hampshire.  Kate has worked with Majestic and Milford Area players in the past but this is her first Actorsingers Show.  Melany auditioned this past August because she just LOVES the music and also wanted to try some out of her acting skills.

Melany was thrilled to be cast in Les Misérables after seeing other Actorsingers' productions she was excited to have the chance to work with Actorsingers on this show.

Melany a member of the ensemble portrays a beggar and a prostitute in various scenes of the show.  In order to connect with her characters, she has tried to be truthful in imagining how it would feel if she was forced to survive in the world on her wits. Acting allows Melany to bring a character (sometimes one who is completely different from her) to life from off the page and truthfully tell their story.  Although it is challenging for her to portray one of the "lovely ladies" convincingly, by opening night, she was confident she was be able to bring this particular character to life for the audience!

Melany’s earliest theatre memory was playing Melody the singing psalm book in the musical "Kids' Praise III" when she was in 3rd grade.   She sang a solo and got the chance to dress up in a large pink book costume.  She LOVED it!

When Melany is not acting, she enjoys traveling to new places.  One of her favorite places is London, England.  But when she is not traveling, she can be found reading a good book.

Posted by Evelynn Decker Sunday, November 10, 2013 9:33:00 AM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage

In the Spotlight Katie Weiss 

Plays in the female ensemble in Les Misérables

Katie Weiss

Katie Weiss from Nashua New Hampshire auditioned for Les Misérables as singing is her favorite!

 Katie has worked with Actorsingers in the past on Aida and Sound of Music she also has worked with Stagecoach and First Church Ministry. When Katie found out she was cast her reaction was “ Yay, I’m in a show!”  She mentions as cast members, we are all a little crazy to do what we do, it’s nice to be in a group of people like that!

 Katie plays several characters, one is a Factory Worker that just wants to fit in at the expense of someone else’s misfortune and another is a Beggar that involves a constant level of intensity!

Katie’s earliest theatre memory was playing Wendy in Peter Pan, she remembers loving her dress. Katie’s favorite memory is when she forgot to go out onstage for her few lines in the only performance of a show. All that work for nothing!

Katie has a degree in Landscape Architecture, and she works part time at two firms so that she can become a registered landscape architect. One is a Civil Engineering firm where she is a Project Manager, and the other is a Landscape Architecture firm in Newmarket, NH. For fun, she loves to create and design. She sews a lot, and sings all the time!

Posted by Evelynn Decker Saturday, November 9, 2013 5:07:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage

In the Spotlight Max McGrath 

Plays Valjean in Les Misérables

Max McGrath originally from Manchester now living in Nashua, New Hampshire auditioned for Les Misérables because he felt  “not only was It a huge opportunity to perform something politically and socially relevant, It's an invitation for each of the performers- no matter the role- to take a very personal journey. Each character has a terrible and tragic burden that they must overcome, and how they do that is now up to us!”

This is Max’s debut with the Actorsingers he has appeared in the past with the Majestic Theater's production of Children of Eden as "The Father".  Why does Max do theatre?  “Joy is the only word to use. There is nothing like it in the world and it can't be described. That feeling when the curtain falls and raises again... nothing can take you higher.”

How did Max react when he found out he was cast as Valjean? “It was a surreal moment. I was absolutely hysterical. I kept thinking, oh my god how am I going to memorize all this music; I have to stand and deliver a performance of one of the most recognizable roles in Musical Theater and I've never even been arrested! Valjean was in prison for 19 years!  “

How is Max connecting with his character? “Jean Valjean is a very complex character he spends many years as a poor young man with good intentions, and makes that one mistake (stealing bread) that gets you caught. So in the fine form of the day, the petty thief is cast down with murderers and rapists and even other men like himself. He sees himself as the victim of this brutal and cold system of justice. This ultimately leads to him stealing from the Bishop of Digne who had given him food and a place to sleep when no one else would. It's that feeling of being one against the world, where everyone is out to be on top; you do what you have to do to get ahead and damn those who's feet you tread on. Wouldn't they have done the same to you? But then the tables are turned and Valjean is at the mercy of the bishop who instead saves him from prison and tells him to be a better man. I'm sure for a moment Valjean contemplates something terrible before deciding to break his parole and run. I connect with that moment; the choice to live another day; to do the best you can and keep fighting just one day more.”

Max finds the most challenging part of Valjean is “definitely the age difference, throughout the course of the show he gets to be about 50 and I'm 24. That in itself is a challenge; coming up with all of that life experience to play off of. “

Max’s earliest theater memory is of seeing Jesus Christ Superstar with Ted Neeley in Boston with his Dad. To this day it remains one of the coolest childhood memories he has, and one of the reasons he began singing and performing.

When Max is not rehearsing with the Actorsingers, he is a Shift Lead at Starbucks, he pours coffee, counts money and talk about the weather with his customers, in his free time he enjoys reading, writing and spending time with his family and friends.

Posted by Evelynn Decker Friday, November 8, 2013 12:08:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage

In the Spotlight Mark Schwartzberg 

Plays Javert in Les Misérables

Mark Schwartzberg from Bedford New Hampshire plays Javert  and is very familiar with the production as all three of his sons have appeared in “ Les Misérables” productions in recent years and he is now following in their footsteps.  His son Nathan played Jean Valjean in a Palace youth production and his son Daniel played Valjean at school and Javert at Peacock Players.  His son Jakov played Babet. a member of Thenardier's gang and also a student in the Peacock Players production.

Schwartzberg, originally from Rochester, NY, did theater in high school and college, though he ended up going into medicine (pediatrics).  His earliest theater memory is of playing Charlie Brown in "You're a Good Man..." when he was 13.

 Schwartzberg has been in several Actorsingers productions including "Man of La Mancha", "Aida" and "Curtains.”  He has also acted at the Palace, with Stage One, with Stagecoach and with MADCO.

Schwartzberg particularly wanted to play Javert because he finds his character to be so complex and conflicted.  He thinks that Javert really wants to do what is right and to put some order into a world that has been in upheaval and chaos since the revolution in 1789.  He likely would have directly experienced the revolution and its aftermath as a child (according to the book by Victor Hugo,  Valjean was born in 1769 and Javert in about 1780).  He would have been 13 or 14 during the “Reign of Terror.”  Add to this the fact that Javert was born in prison.

In reaction to all this, he has applied to himself and to the world a standard of absolute adherence to the rule of law. In fact, having seen M Madeleine (Valjean), the mayor, lift a heavily loaded cart to save a stranger’s life, he goes to his superiors and denounces the mayor as Valjean.  On learning that "Valjean" has been caught, he confesses his actions to the mayor (Valjean) as deserving of punishment though no harm has actually come to the mayor through those actions.  Ultimately, Javert cannot reconcile his absolutist view of good and evil with the kindness and charity he receives from the "fallen" Valjean.  Trying to portray that without making the characterization cliché-ed or cartoonish is the great challenge of the role.

How did Schwartzberg feel about being cast?  Frankly, he was shocked when he got the call asking him to try to arrange for a callback.  When he left the initial audition he thought "Oh well, it was fun to try and I think I sang pretty well".  When he did his callback all out of breath, he thought "well I had my chance but..."  So, when he was cast, he was really surprised and then a bit anxious - can I pull this off?  It is, as you know, a bit of a family tradition and, though it may seem somewhat backwards in terms of the generations.”

What does Schwartzberg get from theater?  “Theater frees me to explore ideas and emotions which are not a part of my everyday life.  And, as most of what I have done recently is musical theater, I get to sing!”

Posted by Evelynn Decker Thursday, November 7, 2013 7:52:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage

In the Spotlight Sheree Owens 

Plays Eponine in Les Misérables

 

Shreree Owens, a Concord, NH resident, makes her Actorsingers debut in  “Les Misérables” as Eponine.  She connects to her character in the following way, “I am fortunate enough to be with the love of my life, not caught in the ‘friend zone’ like poor Eponine, but I can draw on that love and imagine what it would be like if I were to lose it, or never have gotten to have it at all.”   When asked about bringing  Eponine to life she states “I want this Eponine to be set apart from others.  I have a clear idea of what motivates my Eponine and of her personality, and I'm hoping that comes through in my performance.  It's hard to follow up Lea Salonga and Samantha Barks and all the Eponines that people have seen and will see locally, but all I can do is be true to my Eponine and the context of this production and try my best."

Posted by Evelynn Decker Wednesday, November 6, 2013 12:17:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight

In the Spotlight Don Higgins  

Plays Thenardier in Les Misérables

Don originally from Vandalia, Ohio now lives in Derry New Hampshire.  Don Auditioned for Les Misérables because Thenardier  was on his bucket list of Character Roles he always wanted to play! What was Don’s reaction when he was cast as Thenardier?  “Amazement”  Don enjoys theatre he feels it is “A release of creativity through collaboration and experimentation that can’t be matched anywhere else.”

Don has performed with Actorsingers in the past in Guys and Dolls, and Sound of Music. He also was in Titanic and Pirates of Penzance with Stagecoach, 1776 with MaMu Productions and Bedford Off Broadway as well as in Weird Romance with Not Your Mom’s Musical Theater.

Don sees  his character Thenardier as a “survivor,  doing what he has to.  After all the best way to play a bad guy is to play them as heroes... of their story.”  What is the most challenging part of bringing his role to life?   “I play a bad guy.  But he also has to be funny.  Figuring out how to take a guy who does terrible things and make the audience love him for it.... that’s fun.”

What was Don’s earliest theatre memory?  “High school auditions.  Funny, audition anxiety hasn't changed much!”

Don is a freelance illustrator and his work can be seen at:  www.artwanted.com/dkhiggins

Posted by Evelynn Decker Tuesday, November 5, 2013 5:00:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage

In the Spotlight Ashley St. Martin 

Plays Cosette in Les Misérables

Ashley is from Candia, New Hampshire and as a young singer, she grew up listening to the Ashley St.Martin soundtrack (Original London Cast Recording), and it was one of the first professional theatre productions that she saw- either in Boston or New York. She has always wanted to play the role of Cosette!

Ashley recently performed in Chicago with the Actorsingers, and has performed with other area groups including Footlight Theatre, Manchester Choral Society, Plymouth State University, Majestic Theatre, and The Acting Loft.  Ashley enjoys expressing creativity through theatre, and has a love for music and performing.  She says “It's a unique environment where I get to share my passion with other artists. I'm fortunate to be part of such a talented community!”

How did Ashley react when she was cast? “I woke up very early in the morning and got the news... I was so excited that I couldn't fall back asleep!”

How does Ashley connect with her character Cosette?  “I connect with her by imagining myself in her situation. She grew up without her mother or father, and abused by the Thénardiers. Around age eight she enters into a privileged albeit sheltered life with her caretaker, Jean Valjean. To me, she has to represent hope--both to Valjean and the audience. She stands for light and goodness in the midst of a lot of tragedy.”  Ashley found the most challenging part in telling Cosette's story in the scenes where she has either very few lines or none at all.

Ashley’s earliest theatre memory was her first musical; she played the role of a dancing saucer in Beauty and the Beast. She was not happy when she found out.. she had wanted to be Chip (the teacup.) Years later, she performed in the same show as Belle!

When not on stage Ashley recently became a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, and will have three additional certificates by January 2014.

Posted by Evelynn Decker Monday, November 4, 2013 6:04:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage
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