Dennis Schneider plays several roles in the Les Misérables production including Technical Director and co-production designer, co-set designer, co-lighting designer, co-video designer, stage weapons, master carpenter and truck driver. He has been part of Actorsingers Tech since 1983 – this is his 53rd show!
Dennis teamed up with Will (our director) on the Actorsingers production of Chicago and thoroughly enjoyed that collaboration. They joined forces once again and worked on the Les Misérables production concept for most of the summer.
“Les Misérables is a very difficult work to bring to life. It requires an amazing cast and the production design has to enable it to be staged so that the story is told well. For me, the biggest challenge was organizing the design teams to bring the needed combination of art, craft, and engineering required to take our very original and very aggressive production concept through the detailed design process -- and make it all work so the audience never knows how complex it is! This production is the first time we have divided up the set design and build into several teams – each one working independently. Making all those elements match up – to the inch! – was no small challenge. “
“The first set drawing was created on August 9 – and the full design team updated and revised the drawings nearly 40 times. All of our specialties – Stage Management, Lighting, Sound, Sets, Costumes, Makeup, Video, Special Effects/rigging, and atmospherics – have to come together! The full tech team’s largest challenge is making all of these moving parts and technology work seamlessly to combine with the director’s staging, and our terrific actors and musicians so each audience experiences the best we can all deliver.”
Another interesting aspect of the show is “It cannot stop! The music drives everything– as it should.”
This production’s very challenging design required the Les Misérables technical team to install:
- over 34 wireless microphones
- a concert-class sound mixing system,
- a professional moving light control console,
- 100 stage lights, 4 intelligent lights, a 10,000 lumen video projector,
- 1 600 lb bridge, and 1 155-lb “surprise”
- The video system alone required nearly 1,000 feet of cabling.
- Nearly a mile of cable was installed for the lighting design.
- The set is 22’ tall – and lot of it moves!”
Now that’s a lot of technology!
Dennis is proudest of his work on Actorsingers’ Ragtime (sets, lights, flying), Cats (sets, lights, flying), Jesus Christ Superstar (lights), A Chorus Line (Actorsingers and professionally, the Palace Theater.) He also has been TD and Stage Manager for the NH Theatre Awards I and II, lights for Stagecoach Productions Parade and Wit, and Manchester Community Theatre Players’ production of Fiddler on the Room. He is a 6-time recipient of NH Theater Awards (lighting, sets, and technical excellence) in both professional and community categories. He also chairs Nashua’s Auditorium Commission – which oversees the Keefe Auditorium.
What does Dennis get from theater that he doesn’t get from anything else he does? “The joy that most performers get from audiences – and time with my wife! Kerry’s an actress and since we met (in college) she was on stage and I was “backstage” (I did her lighting lab work since she’s afraid of heights).”
Dennis grew up in Forest Hills (a neighborhood in Queens/New York City) and he remembers his family saw “everything” on Broadway for decades. His earliest theatre memory was seeing the original production of Peter Pan on Broadway. “I was nearly 4. I was hooked. (pun intended)”
When Dennis is not volunteering on shows he works in the healthcare technology industry with a focus on infused medication safety and hospital pharmacy operations. He enjoys making patients safer! Outside work, Dennis and his wife Kerry try to spend as much time with their children and grandchildren as they can. He is also a pilot.