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Actorsingers News

In the Spotlight Max McGrath 

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

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.

In the Spotlight Mark Schwartzberg 

Plays Javert in Les Misérables
Posted by Evelynn Decker Thursday, November 7, 2013 7:52:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage

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!”

In the Spotlight Sheree Owens 

Plays Eponine in Les Misérables
Posted by Evelynn Decker Wednesday, November 6, 2013 12:17:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight

 

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."

In the Spotlight Don Higgins  

Plays Thenardier in Les Misérables
Posted by Evelynn Decker Tuesday, November 5, 2013 5:00:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage

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

In the Spotlight Ashley St. Martin 

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

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.

In the Spotlight Debra Buckley 

Playes Madame Thenardier in Les Misérables
Posted by Evelynn Decker Sunday, November 3, 2013 9:50:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage

Debra Buckley makes her Actorsingers debut in “Les Misérables.”  She has performed in shows with New London Barn Playhouse, Newport Opera House, Community Players of Concord, SKIT (Sunapee Kearsarge Intercommunity Theatre and Majestic Theatre.  She plays Madame Thenardier and stated she has had some true struggles in her life and that struggles tend to either harden the heart, or foster empathy for others.  She went on to say Madame Thenardier and I responded differently.  There has to be something human about her, something to which people can relate on some level.  Maybe it's the fact that she stands by her husband despite his shortcomings, or maybe it's that she's a survivor, but there has to be something that allows the audience to like or understand something about her.”

In the Spotlight Ruth Pack 

Plays in the female ensemble in Les Misérables
Posted by Evelynn Decker Saturday, November 2, 2013 3:44:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage

Ruth Pack

Ruth resides in Hollis, New Hampshire and auditioned for Les Misérables as she loves the music and wanted the opportunity to sing it!

Ruth has sung with Actorsingers Holiday Stroll and this is her first main-stage production with Actorsingers, in fact this is her first community theatre performance in the area as all her prior performances have been in Tennessee and New Jersey.

When Ruth first found out she was cast she was both surprised and humbled!  She was looking for challenging singing opportunities, and the chance to become someone different for a few hours!

Ruth is part of the ensemble and plays several parts, all of whom are poor and desperate to survive. She tries to imagine how she would feel and react if she could not feed her children and had no hope of things getting better until the students unveil their plan. What is her most challenging part of bringing her role to life?  Not just trying to look poor and desperate but BEING poor and desperate!

Ruth’s earliest theatre memory was going to see The Barber of Seville, Carmen, and The Mikado with her mother and grandmother when she was very young.

What does Ruth do for fun and work when she isn’t working in the theater?  She is a worship leader, vocalist, and bassist for the worship team at Trinity Baptist Church in Nashua, and also a recovery room nurse at Elliot Hospital.  

In the Spotlight Kate Gaudet 

Plays in the female ensemble in Les Misérables
Posted by Evelynn Decker Friday, November 1, 2013 5:14:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage

Kate originally from Portland, Oregon and most recently Clearwater, Florida, was an Air Force brat and also married someone in the Air Force. Kate and her husband like to say they are from pretty much everywhere, you name it and they have probably lived there.

Kate’s “FAVORITE SHOW EVER” has seen it 5 times - once on Broadway in the early 90's, the rest were touring companies throughout the years.  The music is so stirring - gets her every time!  Still brings tears to her eyes.

This is Kate’s first production with Actorsingers and when she found out she was cast as Old Woman #2 she jumped up and screamed “YES!!!!!” Her favorite characters have always been the "not so beautiful" ones.  Crazy, blacked-out teeth, wild hair, a hunchback, Kate says “BRING IT ON!!” with this role.

Kate’s earliest theatre memory was when she played "Susie Snowflake" in the Christmas Pageant in 6th grade but then went the sports route in high school. She came back to the theatre game much later - did her first community theatre show when she was 28.  She loved it so much she went back to school to get her Theatre (Acting) degree, than she decided her senior year in college she would like to direct so went back to school in the BFA program for Directing.  Kate has been at it ever since!

  When you ask Kate what she does for fun and work when she isn’t working in the theater?  She’s likely to respond “There's something besides theatre??”

What does Kate get from theater?  It’s the friendship and the bonding that develops through working on a show.  There is no other collaboration like it.  Whenever, or wherever she has moved over the years, all she had to do was audition for a show and BAM! Instant friendship!  She looks forward to all the new friendships she will make in this cast!

Article about our upcoming production of Les Misérables 

in the Nashua Telegraph
Posted by Evelynn Decker Thursday, October 31, 2013 8:49:00 AM Categories: Main Stage

 

 

Article about our upcoming production of Les Misérables in the 10/31/2013 Nashua Telegraph can be read here .

Tickets still available ticket info.

 

 

In the Spotlight Matt Kaiser 

Plays Feuilly in Les Misérables
Posted by Evelynn Decker Wednesday, October 30, 2013 5:03:00 PM Categories: In the Spotlight Main Stage

Matt Kaiser

 

Matt Kaiser is from Merrimack, NH.  “Les Misérables” is his first theatre production out of college.  He plays Feuilly, one of the student revolutionaries, and the hardest part of playing this role has been trying to imagine having such a devotion to a cause that you are willing to die for it. All of that pride, anger and hope has to come out in the songs that we sing.

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