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Archives for : NH

2015 New Hampshire Theatre Awards

I am very pleased to announce that Into The Woods and Legally Blonde are well represented at the upcoming New Hampshire Theatre Awards, with four nominations each! Thank you to everyone involved. Excited to see you all at the awards.

Into The Woods:
Best Production – Musical – Community – Into The Woods
Best Actor Joel Iwaskiewicz as The Baker
Best Actress Jessica Dee as The Witch
Best Supporting Actor Colin Malette as Rapunzel’s Prince

Legally Blonde
BEST ACTOR (YOUTH): Zachary Spiegel as Emmett

Thankful for 2015

I write this while still recovering from Thanksgiving dinner, so I figured it would be appropriate to talk about what I am thankful for in my professional life in 2015, as well as talk about what 2016 will hold for me.

I am thankful that 2015 was the most successful year of my theatrical life ever. I was fortunate to direct seven productions this year, each one teaching me valuable lessons about myself as an artist and as a person. I closed out the directing year with “Into The Woods” and I have never been more proud of myself, nor the cast and crew that I have worked with. To not only finally get to work on Sondheim, but to work with such wonderful people was a dream come true. I cannot wait for another opportunity to work with the Actorsingers, as well as work on more Sondheim.

I would like to thank everyone who gave me opportunities this year, everyone I collaborated with, and everyone who I learned from in 2015. The lessons from this year will stick with me for a life time, and I feel like I am finally coming into myself as an artist.

My 2016 is already quickly filling up. I will once again be working with the Maskers Drama Club of Central High School, first directing their winter drama, Antigone, which I have written an original adaption of which we will use. I will also be returning to the Windham Actors Guild to direct Fiddler On The Roof, which has been on my list of shows to direct for years. My 2016 will also include the spring comedy with Maskers, and I am hoping to self-produce at least two shows with Cue Zero in 2016.

I do have one final project for 2015, though not directorial. I will be returning to the place where I got my start in the theatre world: Manchester’s historic Palace Theatre, where I will be working backstage on their annual production of A Christmas Carol. I am overjoyed that I will get to be going “home for the holidays.”

Hope 2015 was as kind to you all as it was to me, enjoy your Christmas season, and have a happy new year!

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:

A November to Remember

It turns out that November has been a very important month over the past few years. Thanks to the iPhone app Timehop, I have discovered a pattern of life changing moments that take place during the eleventh month of the year, and 2014 is turning out to be no different. November 2010: I declare myself a theatre major at UNH, the best decision of my life. November 2012: UNH’s production of Avenue Q goes up, the best show I have ever performed in. November 2013: I get the idea in my head that I should self-produce some of my work, which leads me to start Cue Zero Theatre Company.

This year November has entailed two directing projects that I am extremely proud of. First, we had the 24 Hour Play Festival hosted by TheatreKapow, which was a life changing experience. Going through the entire artistic cycle in under 12 hours was mind blowing. We were given a very difficult challenge, a extremely complex play, and actors who had all never met each other before, and put on a very solid piece of theatre. The entire endeavor made me direct without fear, without second guessing myself, and without a lot of the comforts of a regular directing process, and I learned that I can still operate without all the luxuries that provides (not that I want to start skipping all my beloved research, script analysis and sleeping on projects going forward)

My second directing endeavor, which opens next weekend, is one I am extremely proud of. The Windham Actors’ Guild production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is quite possibly one of my best theatrical undertakings. This was the first full production I have directed where I had not previously directed at least one of the actors in something previously, as well as the first time my cast had such varied levels of experience. From decades of performances to first time ever in a real show, we assembled a diverse group of actors, and I could not be more proud of them. It has been a pleasure to direct them over the past two months. I cannot wait to share this show with the world next weekend, and I know the audiences will love it.

I am currently attempting to figure out what my next move will be career wise. I am exploring many options and look forward to whatever life brings.

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.

Bucketlist item checked off

This past week, I checked off both a goal for 2014 and a life goal. FIRST Robotics Competition Team 3467 took home both top honors at the UNH District event. Not only did the team win the tournament itself, but we were awarded the Chairman’s Award, FIRST’s highest honor. The Chairman’s award is given to the team that “that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST.” Since joining FIRST all the way back in 2003, it has been a goal of mine to be apart of one of those special teams that is recognized for all of its efforts. When I came out of “retirement” from FRC back in October, I semi-jokingly said “I’m here to win you guys a chairman’s award.” I saw what great things team 3467 had accomplished in such a short time and knew this was a team on the verge of achieving greatness. I hoped with my special set of skills, I could get the team over the hump. I do not want to take too much credit for the team’s win. If anything, I was the 1% extra the team needed to go from “almost” to “there.” The incredible foundation had been laid over the past four years by some amazing individuals and I hope they are as proud of themselves as I am of them. I’m not really certain where the road of life is taking me, but I hope it is a path that allows me to continue to be a part of such an amazing organization. A huge thank you to my dear friend Scott Kukshtel for letting be apart of this team, and having the faith in me to lead his students to greatness.

This week I also attended the New Hampshire Professional Theatre Association job fair. I met some very awesome individuals all involved with various theatrical organizations around the state. The prospect of getting to work with any of these great groups is very exciting and I am eagerly waiting to hear back from them in the coming weeks.

Well, this week’s post was short, simple, and to the point. Got a lot of Cue Zero stuff to be working on over the next few weeks, on top of things for WAG’s “Oliver” (which opens April 4th, buy tickets!) and getting ready for family time in Florida. We will be spending a week just outside of Orlando to watch my younger sister play softball for Keene State College (as well as part at the “House of Mouse.”) It’s going to be a very busy couple of weeks, nay busy couple of months coming up, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!