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Archives for : entertainment

Out of The Summer and Into The Woods

The 2015 summer flew by in the blink of an eye. My first season with Little Church Theater was phenomenal. The experience I gained just from a single season as the managing director of LCT will be with me for years to come. It was nice to experience a new region where I had not worked before and having a lot of responsibilities, while at the same time a lot of freedom. The administrative duties of the day-to-day operations of a small community theater were actually a lot more fun than anticipated. I truly felt like I was living the dream, working full-time in the arts. I look forward to helping Little Church grow and prosper over the next several years.

We are already a few weeks into rehearsals for Into The Woods and I could not be more excited to be working with this cast. We had an amazing turnout at auditions made this one of the most difficult casting sessions of my career, and I mean that in a good way. Too much talent is always a great problem to have. Going from the tiny, intimate stage of Little Church to the giant auditorium where we will be staging this production is a great change of pace. It is so wonderful that in one calendar year, I will have worked on a nice variety of shows, in both subject matter, actor experience, and performance space. I hope you will all check out this show, which opens Friday, November 6th. Tickets will soon be available on the Actorsingers’ web page:

One Full Trip Around The Sun As A Real Person

May 18th 2013, at about noon time I was handed something I had worked extremely hard for during the previous four years… well sort of. I was given my University of New Hampshire diploma…holder. The actual diploma would come in the mail about a month and a half later, but the symbolism was there. I was officially a owner of a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. I was now what I joking refereed to as “A Real Person.” I am an adult, with debt, a need for a career and a whole bunch of scary life choices sitting in front of me. One of my favorite teachers in college, Dan Raymond, usually made us write a “What I learned in this class” reflection paper to end every semester, which was always extremely insightful. Since today is sorta like my “first birthday” with respect to the diploma, I would like to reflect upon everything I have accomplished professionally and personally since graduation.

I guess my first major accomplishment was making my professional directing debut, which took place not long after graduation. The entire process that was “Bye Bye Birdie” was certainly an adventure. It was the first true test of my education while at the same time one of the most valuable learning experiences I ever had as a person. It tested my character. It tested my work ethic. It tested my ability to handle pressure, deal with many of the lesser than enjoyable parts of show biz, and made me realize a lot of things about myself. All things considered, we put on a damn good show. I’m very thankful for the opportunity I got, for the moments of self-discovery, and the continuous affirmation that the world of theatre is the world I belong in.

I also served as lighting designer on two very different productions. Both of these experiences involved me being a bit out of my comfort zone (for different reasons each time) which I find is one of the most important things when wanting to grow as an artist. Risks need to be taken, acceptance over the fact that you don’t always know 100% what you’re doing needs to be had, and you need to alway trust in yourself, and your fellow artists. I never want to accept easy tasks; challenges are where the real fun lies. My fulfillment in life comes from accomplishing, not necessarily the impossible, but the improbable. Now, is lighting design what I want to do forever? No, but it is something that pushes me artistically. Also during the two productions (as well as my time as “emergency technical director” for another production) I believe I earned the deep respect of a lot of people, which is something I value highly. I have nothing but respect for my craft, and I want to be respected for my craft and work ethic. When I lose either of these things, I will need to seriously reevaluate where I am in life.

Something I did not expect to be so life changing were the two major trips I took this year, first to NYC, then to Disney World. Both trips woke me up, allowing me to see there is so much more than just the world just outside my window. For a while I think I had set my goal as being a major player in the arts and entertainment scene in New England, but now I’m not so sure that’s the best thing for me. I think this guy has to go out and see the world as a whole, experience many different places, cultures and people. I can’t let my geography limit myself. So when the time comes, I’m going to explore all of my options across the country, and possibly even globally. I’ve said it for a while, but now I truly accept it: I’ll go wherever the road of life takes me.

Had I not made a pit-stop on an impulse, I would have missed out on an extremely important experience this year, and that was my joining of FRC Team 3467. FIRST shaped a major part of who I am, and I am always in favor of giving back to the community, so the partnership just made sense. What I originally envisioned as a minor amount of helping out burst into a full on mentorship of the team. I really feel like my year with the Windham Windup was very much like Kevin Garnett leaving the Minnesota Timberwolves for the Boston Celtics. I love (the now no longer active) FRC Team 241 of Pinkerton Academy with all my heart, but 3467 was just the right place for me. Everyone on this team has a great mindset, understand the culture, and wants to achieve big things. I don’t want to take more credit than I deserve, but I really did enjoy coaching the team to some major awards, as well as being along for the ride when it came to the robot’s successful season. I hope all of the students learned as much from me as I did from them. I’m not certain that my career path will allow me to continue being as active with the team in the future, but I will give them everything I can for as long as they will have me.

On a purely personal level, it has been a very crazy year when it comes to friends and family. Going back to slightly before graduation, I’ve spent the last 14 months solidifying some amazing bonds with people from all parts of my life. I have surrounded myself with the right people, cutout those hurting me or holding me back, and I love all of them deeply. My friends and family always go above and beyond for me, and for that I will always be forever thankful.

I’ve also put in another year as a mobile entertainer/master of ceremonies/DJ with Sowa Entertainment. The wedding industry is always an interesting place to work, and I have met some wonderful individuals. It’s kinda strange, I never wanted a job where wearing a tie was a requirement, but I never thought there were jobs this fun that require formal wear. I’ve had a very good eight years in the DJ biz. I take pride in the fact that I have had such a successful run since starting to do my own events. I hope the remainder of my events this year are all memorable and exciting for my clients and myself.

So the last thing item to reflect up is the fact that in little over a month and a half, I’ll be making my debut as an independent theatre producer. Creating Cue Zero Theatre Company has been a tremendous undertaking, and against all logical judgement, I knew this was the next step for me. I’ll go into longer detail later as to what exactly sparked this need to produce, but I’m really excited for this, in every sense of the word. I’ve gotten all the encouragement and support of some great people, and I cannot wait for July. There’s so much to do between now and then, but I am not afraid. I say “Bring. It. On!”

So, that’s where I am one year later. Where do I go from here? I honestly have no idea. As I said in a text message to Dani Pancoast the other day: “I feel our entire existence right now is ‘Well, I have several sets of plans for the next six months that may or may not happen… and beyond that I’ve just got some hopes and dreams.” It’s kinda nice knowing most of my friends are in the same boat, unsure if they have under or over achieved, and uncertain of the what the future holds.

I’ve got my goals. I want to be a successful theatre artist/director. I’ve got some ideas on how to accomplish that. I’m never going to stop working until I’m the best. How do I define “successful” or “best?” I don’t know. I don’t think I ever will, but I’ll know it when I reach it.

Thanks for reading.

Recapping a Super Busy March and April

So it’s been a long while since my last update. I really want to get back to making this a weekly (or at least bi-weekly) update on all things me, so I’ll just need to make it a priority.

Theatre related happenings:

April started off with the great experience that was light designing for the Windham Actors’ Guild production of “Oliver.” I had never lit a show quite as big, nor in this big of a space, so it was an exciting challenge and grand learning opportunity. Sticking with my commitment to always challenging myself, I tried a few new things, used bold colors, and experimented a bit with what I could do with the lights. The two parts that made the entire tech process extra “fun” were having less instruments that I thought I had, and the “Murphy’s Law” moment when I spent six hours getting my Act One cues perfect only to mistype a few commands and erase all my work. Despite all of these mishaps, the show still went up with the lights being a hit. I would like to thank WAG for the opportunity to work with them, and hope we can continue to have a good working relationship in the future.

Cue Zero is rolling right along. Being an independent producer has proven to be a little bit more difficult than I had anticipated, but we are still in great shape to open our inaugural show in July. Auditions are this Wednesday night, and I can’t wait to get to share my beloved script with some wonderfully talented actors and actresses.

Non-Theatre related happenings:

My vacation to Orlando was wonderful. It was great to spend time with my family, watch my sister play softball, and hangout with some very good friends of mine at Disney. I was really inspired by the trip, with the countless things to do. Before the trip, I had never really entertained the thought of working down there like many of my fellow theatre friends, but after the trip, I finally understood the appeal and have added it to my list of possibilities for future paths, although I know there is very stiff competition to be apart of any major attraction in the Sunshine State.

FRC Team 3467 had an extremely adventurous end to our season. After being ranked number one in New England going into the event, the team had a solid showing at the New England Championship event, making it to the quarter finals of the event, and taking home the Engineering Inspiration award. Between the award, and the robot’s performance, the team qualified to compete at the world championship event in St. Louis, Missouri. Getting to St. Louis as pure insanity, as we had our coach bus breakdown on us with no replacement available. We were informed of this shortly after midnight the night before we were scheduled to leave. The team somehow managed to find three twelve person vans to carry our team, another team that agreed to transport all our equipment on their bus, and extra funds to cover any additional costs in eleven very stressful hours. Once the team completed the two day journey to the event, our bad luck continued for our first few matches. Luckily our students are very resilient, and never let any of our misfortunes get them down. We came back from some bad losses to still qualify for the playoffs in our division (which had one hundred teams competing, compared to the 40-60 teams we saw at all our other events). Our alliance played brilliantly and we upset the division favorite to take home the team’s sixth medal on the year. We were eventually defeated in the final four by the eventual world championship alliance, but that didn’t take away from how much we enjoyed the entire weekend. I am extremely proud of all our students, and I am very happy I decided to come out of “retirement” from FIRST to be a part of this very special team.

That’s the super brief version of March and April. My life doesn’t get any less busy, between Cue Zero rehearsals and funding finding, wedding and prom season, and figuring out what I’m doing with my life beyond the month of August, the adventure never stops! Thanks for reading.

It’s The Holiday Season

Christmas is right around the corner, and all I want this year is for Cue Zero Theatre Company to have a prosperous first year. While this isn’t really something I’ll know until the end of the summer of 2014, we are already making more progress than I had imagined. The number of people looking to get involved has been overwhelming and I am very moved by the amount of people that believe in the project. The plans for our first show are just about finished, and I will unveil them in January in full detail. On top of that, I’ve already accepted a proposal for our second show, and will be working on the information for that over the next month or two as well.

Quick hits on my other projects:

  • The FIRST robotics build season starts on January 5th, and we have been busy preparing the kids for this undertaking over the past few months. At yesterday’s meeting, I was given the opportunity to help with team bonding, as well gage each member’s public speaking skills. I simply asked each student to talk in front of the rest of the team about something they are passionate about for at least one minute, and it had to be in a positive light. They were not allowed to have written anything down, but they were asked to put a little bit of thought into what they were going to say before they had their turn. I was very impressed with all of the students, and it was a great teaching moment on top of my other pieces of agenda. I was able to point out examples of good things each student did, as well as things they should be aware of and need to improve upon. Everyone enjoyed getting to know their team  mates a little better, and I hope we can do more activities like this in the future.
  • This past weekend, my family attended the Granite Statesmen Christmas Cabaret in Nashua. The Granite Statesmen are an all male barbershop chorus, of which my grandfather was a founding member of all the way back in 1955. While he has since retired from singing due to his age (I believe he is 92 or 93 years old), we still enjoy taking in the show every year, as the performances are always top notch. Some of my favorite childhood Christmas memories are from the Granite Statesmen shows, and I am sure these shows impacted my love for performing. If you are ever in need of some good clean family fun, I highly suggest seeking out these wonderful singers performances. You will not be disappointed.
  • I don’t think I remembered to bring this up in my last post, but I just wanted to take a moment to say that my trivia team finally won the monthly contest at Double Midnight Comics in Manchester. Trivia games has always been something I really enjoy doing, (I’ve often joked my means of making my fortune is going to be winning on Jeopardy) and to win the game after six attempts was very satisfying, especially since the game went to triple overtime.

Well, I think I’ve said everything I need to say. If you haven’t done so already, please like “Cue Zero Theatre Company” on facebook, as well as follow us on twitter @CZTheatre.

Merry Christmas to all!

Time is a Funny Thing

The other day I realized I had really lost track of time. Not just for that day, but for a few weeks. I had no idea we were so close to the end of November, with Thanksgiving next week, and Christmas being little over a month away. 2013 is almost over, which is a bit of a scary notion.  As of today, I’ve been a graduate of UNH for 186 days, and I’m still attempting to get my footing in the world. I’m not worried that I won’t get everything figured out, I just thought I’d have a clearer idea of what I was doing at this point. I mean, a lot of people tell me I seem to have a better plan than most, but I don’t know, I guess everything is relative.

Anyways, back to what I did this week. Thursday night, Sam and I went to see “Spamalot” at the Palace Theatre, and both throughly enjoyed the performance. It was a very warm and charming production with the highest of quality when it came to sets, lights and the like. On Sunday, I took my mother to see “It’s A Wonderful Life” at Pinkerton Academy, which was a nice little student production. Pinkerton always puts on a solid production when it comes both to their fall drama and their spring musical. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Mrs. West was still directing the productions, as she has been working at the Academy since 1959! Good for her, I hope my career is as long and fruitful as hers. So with these two shows, I am now one away from my goal of seeing ten different productions in the second half of the year, and there are at least two more shows on my calendar for this coming week, so I’ll probably reflect upon all these shows in next weeks post. Also this weekend I’ll be attending WWE “Survivor Series” in Boston. Not sure if most people would count this, but I do, as I have always argued that professional wrestling is the love child of musical theatre and comic books.

Last week I announced that I hope to self-produce an original piece for public consumption before my next birthday. I’ve set a target performance weekend of July 11th and 12th. I have also settled on exactly what I hope to produce. My idea is to do a night of two one-act plays both written and directed by myself. One play will be my play “Cheap Heat” with some re-writes and modifications, and the second will be a new play that I have begun writing this week. Ideally, I’ll have both scripts “finished” by the end of December. During January and February, I’ll get the script for the second play into the hands of very capable actors so we can “workshop” it, work out the kinks, and re-write it into a piece of compelling drama. Working on both pieces will continue into the spring, with a troupe of 4-6 actors recruited no later than mid-May, and formal rehearsals during the month of June. I’ll obviously have to bring in at least one other person to help out behind the scenes, and maybe even a business manager. Of course during these period I’ll be fund raising and advertising the hell out of the show.  I have a few ideas for a performance space, and I hope to nail it down sometime in the near future. I also need to find out a few more details about the business/legal/management end of producing, which I shall be investigating this weekend. I’m being really ambitious with this project, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

This past weekend I attended my first open training session with TheatreKapow, and I LOVED it. It was a great little workshop that crammed so much useful exercises into two hours. We started with a great relaxation exercise, which I am a huge fan of. I am always stressing to both my Sowa Entertainment colleagues as well as my robotics kids that the number one key to a good performance/presentation is being relaxed. After a group body exercise we did a short little active listening scene work, and in that moment I realized since I had been so consumed with directing and writing, I haven’t done any acting since April. Doing this thirty-second, on book cut from “The Seagull” was a great reminder of what I have been missing, and I really should seek out an acting project every once in a while, instead of purely focusing my efforts on directing like I have been over the past few months. While DJing is still partly a performance art, it still doesn’t capture the magic and rush of acting. The TheatreKapow monthly open training session is now marked down on my calender and I will be attending regularly

Speaking of acting, I’m about halfway through “Respect for Acting” and am still in love with the book. It’s been nice focusing on something that’s a bit more foundation level rather than the higher level acting/directing theory things I’ve been looking at over the past few months, as I am sure many of my actors in the near future won’t have as much, or the same type of actor training that I’ve had, and I need to be ready to deal with actors of all experience levels. Uta also discusses a few concepts I hadn’t given thought to before, as well as looking at ones I have but from a different angle, and having this widened perspective will be very helpful as both an actor and director. I am looking forward to applying some of her techniques in the near future.  I’m am also about twenty pages into “Laughter, Pain, and Wonder”  by my former professor David Richman. Since I know David personally, I really can hear his voice in the text, and his seemingly endless insight on Shakespeare, theater history, and directing is always a pleasure to hear. I’ll never forget taking one of his classes and feeling that this man knew everything worth knowing about theater. If asked him a question about theater history, and David didn’t know, I assumed it wasn’t a fact worth knowing, and no longer wondered about it. The last item in the subject of “What is Dan Reading,” I finished “Superman: Birthright” last night, which is a brilliant modernization of Superman’s early exploits. One thing I really love about these hardcover DC collections is occasionally they will include the writers original pitch for the story, which as a writer myself, I love to see thought process, especially when it comes to the Man of Steel. Mark Waid goes over every detail and justification for his choices for the novel, and it really shows his dedication and love for both the character and the history of behind him.

Well, this is certainly the longest post to date. Hope I didn’t bore you. See you all next week!

New Goal Set

Well, “Shrew” has come and gone, and I must say it was a smashing success. We pulled a strong audience every night, both in numbers and in their reception to the piece. More importantly, I believe every person involved with the production grew as a person, and became better performers, designers, theater organizers, etc. because of their work on the show, which is the most important factor when working on a project with Mask and Dagger. I know I personally learned about lighting design, what goes into producing a show, the director-designer relationship, effective leadership, and so many more minor things that will help me become a more effective theatre artist. I hope everyone involved takes time to reflect upon how being apart of this production has changed them, and will use this reflection to not only make them better actors/designers/directors/etc, but also better people. Once again, thank you to Samantha Smith for giving me this great opportunity.

Moving on to my next big project (I have a series of small projects I’m attempting to get going), I have set my next big career goal. As of right now, I am twenty three years old. Before I turn twenty four, I am going to self-produce a performance of an original play, at least one hour in length. This gives me approximately 250 days to go from concept to performance, which I believe is plenty of time, if I put my mind to it. After some examination, I have determined the bare minimum things needed for producing a piece of theatre are actors, an idea, a performance space, and an audience.  Hopefully by this time next week I will put together a schedule of hard deadlines for the various milestones on the project. The place I believe is best to start is to put together a small “brain trust” of a few individuals whom I trust dearly for me to bounce ideas off of, and produce a starting script as soon as possible. Expect a weekly update on the progress of the project, as well as information on how you can get involved along the way.

In other Dan Pelletier news, the more I go to Windham Windup robotics team meetings, the more I am in love with this team. Team 3467 is exactly what a FIRST robotics team is supposed to be, is loaded with bright, young individuals who are all going to achieve great things in life, and this team is primed for a successful FRC season.

I’ve got the ball rolling on a few other projects I’m attempting to get involved with, but until things are official, I shan’t say what they are.  I’m currently gearing up for the holiday season, as many of my friends know, I am a “Christmas Enthusiast.” I cannot wait for the first real snow fall, decorations, FOOD, tv and music specials, and all the other things that go along with this time of the year. Really just Halloween through New Years is wonderful in my eyes. Also, I still have a ton of reading I’m attempting to get done, both for intellectual simulation, as well as for pleasure, although I am on the verge of giving up on one piece of text that I thought would be very insightful, but has turned out to be boring and lacking substance. Since I hate ending on a negative note like that, I will also add that I am finally seeing some great progress at the gym. While I am still technically no where near my target weight, I am feeling in better shape, have gained strength and flexibility, and several people have commented on my physique looking slimmer. With any luck, I’ll be back to “game shape” by the time we are ringing in the New Year!

Thanks for reading!

Due Dates and Insomnia

So in case you didn’t know, is now 100% live! The website came out better than I could have imagined, and I would like to once again thank my life long friend Tommy McCarthy for helping me put it together. It still needs a few updates, but nothing major. Thing that made me kinda chuckle was the day after we go live, I’m scrolling facebook between reps at the gym, and I see an article on “” entitled: “7 Items for a Successful Actor Website.” I open the article, look over the check list, and I already met every one of their criteria for a good site! With a few minor tweaks, this page will be the ideal model for an actor’s website. Yay us!

My “The Taming of the Shrew” light plot is due tomorrow, and after a few hours of sketching it out, I’m very pleased with how it turned out. The space the show is taking place in is not the easiest to light, and we will be cramming 28 lights on a 30 foot truss, with a few other lights on off stage booms, but the plot is actually very clean and I didn’t have to sacrifice any lights due to physical limitations. My ambitious color usage should look beautiful on Sam’s set, and I’m eager to start the next phase: making all the cues. This one is a little nerve racking, as everything I’ve designed to this point has been manual cues with sliders, and we will be using programmed cues. I signed on to this project to get experience creating much more complicated designs than anything I’ve done before, so I can’t wait to get started.

Last night, for no apparent reason, I really couldn’t sleep, and I didn’t feel like reading either of the books I’ve been working on (Taking Stock or Superman:Birthright) but did want to read something, so I grabbed off my shelf the famous Uta Hagen text Respect for Acting. I purchased it back in May, but had not gotten around to reading this quintessential theatre text, and now I regret it. I plowed through the first fifty pages of this book without blinking. Every thing she had to say about her passion and respect for the craft of acting and the broader world of theater spoke to me on so many levels. I think between innings of tonight’s Red Sox’s game, I’ll look to read even more, and hopefully finish it before the weekend.

I hate to drag on longer than three paragraphs, so I’ll wrap up with a teaser for my next big announcement. I have currently signed on for a project like I haven’t worked on in many years. All I’ll say for now is that I will be getting to share my craft with those who would most likely never consider themselves theater people.  To find out who, you’ll have to check back next week!


Getting You Up To Speed


My name is Dan Pelletier. I am a twenty three year old holder of a B.A. in Theatre looking to be the next big thing in arts and entertainment. I hope to use this blog to keep everyone updated on all of my ongoing projects, life experiences, and general happenings. For more info on my background, I hope you’ll explore my website:

As for what I am doing right now:

My biggest project at the moment is designing lights for “The Taming of The Shrew” directed by my good friend, Samantha Smith. This is probably the biggest production I have lit to date, and I’m excited to push the limits of my knowledge and skills as a designer. Today I’ll be finalizing my color selection, and tomorrow I will be venturing to Durham to watch the first stumble through of the show. Sam has a brilliantly talented cast, and I can’t wait to see what they’ve put together in the two short weeks they’ve been in rehearsal.

On the entertainment side of things, wedding season is winding down, and it as been a wonderfully adventurous year at Sowa Entertainment. Each wedding I MC’d this year was very unique, and I love that I’ve gotten the honor and privilege of making people happy on the most important day of their lives. 2014 is already looking to be just as fruitful as 2013, as my calendar is filling up very quickly. This weekend I’ll be at the Strafford School Friday night for a K-5 and a middle school dance, and then Saturday we will be providing the entertainment at the Bow High School Homecoming Dance. Swapping from weddings to school dances is a fun change of pace and mindset.

Towards the end of the summer, I set a series of goals for self-improvement on a personal and professional level. These goals include getting in better shape, getting my website up and running, writing a new play, revising an old play, reading five text/theory books, seeing ten shows, and reading twenty plays. I’m making good progress on all of them, but still have a long way to go to achieve them before the end of the year.

So far I’ve read:

The Odd Couple
The Taming of The Shrew
The importance of being earnest

I’ve seen:

Annie – Prescott Park
The Burial at Thebes – TheatreKapow
Our Town – UNH

And the books I’ve finished:

Backwards and Forwards – David Ball
Solving Your Script – Jeffrey Sweet

Solving Your Script was amazing, and I already want to read it again. Sweet’s ability to analyze and (more importantly) teach the craft of playwriting, as well as breaking down what makes a good play,  a good scene, and a well written character, has been immensely useful for both writing and directing. I’m currently reading Taking Stock: The Theatre of Max Stafford-Clark. I read a brief passage in another book about Stafford-Clark’s directorial process, and was intrigued by the amount of table work and discussion he does with his actors before ever getting them on their feet. My hope is this text will dive further into the explanation of how and why he does this, which I plan on utilizing in my own productions.

Well, I think that’s enough for now. There is much work to be done after I return from the gym and the comic book store, so I best get going!