Catching up with Dan Levine

Artistic wonder graces our cover

Tell us about your theater background. Where did you grow up and why did you choose to come to Ridgefield?

I grew up in Framingham, Massachusetts. I feel lucky the arts were introduced to me at an early age. My grandfather was a well-known cantor and he sparked my interest in all things singing, and my father’s father was an accomplished pianist. Music was a big part of my childhood. 

I had always been told to major in something I love. And I loved theater AND science – so I majored in both. Fast forward a bit...I read in the newspaper that the Broadway show Les Miserable was holding an "open call." Out of the 2,000 people trying out, I didn’t think I would be selected, but as fate would have it, I was offered the role and was cast in Les Miz. This one decision completely changed the course of my life. Just like that, I became a professional Broadway actor. I moved to NYC and had a terrific career working on Broadway and subsequently performed in many musicals like Les Miserable, Chicago, Mamma Mia, Little Shop of Horrors, The Rocky Horror Show, and Jesus Christ Superstar.

ACT of CT has brought such color and liveliness to Ridgefield. How did you get to dominate the theater space here? What keeps you motivated to keep creating?

After moving to Ridgefield, I was astounded that such a thriving artistic community existed here. I got involved with The Ridgefield Playhouse and served as Artistic Advisor for the Broadway and Cabaret Series. From that experience, I learned there was a real appetite for theater in town. But there was not a venue here which produced and presented long running theatrical productions.

My friend Katie Diamond and I started to think about creating our own theater company. She, along with my husband Bryan Perri and I were introduced to our town’s First Selectman Rudy Marconi and we pitched the idea of ACT of Connecticut. After a lot of town meetings and votes, we were given a lease to a building, and it was up to us to raise money to make the building a state-of-the-art theater. One year to the day that we signed the lease, we opened ACT of CT with Mamma Mia! This amazing community of ours completely showed up for ACT of CT. From day one, we had an audience base. 

You received a Grammy Nomination for Best Musical Theater Album. Explain!

When our Snapshots film was released, audiences really loved it. A few months later, I got a call that the cast album had been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album of the Year! We were among many other artists in the running for the Grammy. It really was unbelievably exciting. Our film of Snapshots can be viewed on Broadway HD, and the cast album is available on most music streaming platforms.

What will you be working on this summer with ACT? Or anything!

The Secret Garden runs until June 11th. The summers at ACT of CT are all about the kids! We have our fun Summer Camp and Summer Teen Conservatory which I will be directing — all happening in July. In August, I leave for Alaska for two weeks to board a Princess Cruise Line ship to install a production that I wrote and directed for Princess before the pandemic. It ran on several ships for a few years, but closed when the pandemic began. Princess is now bringing my production back to the high seas, and so I am jumping on the ship for a couple of weeks to direct the show.

What do you love most about Ridgefield?

Ridgefield is a truly remarkable town. I have never felt like an outsider here. From the moment I moved to town, I felt welcomed. Bryan and I love living here and are constantly reminded what a terrific community this is. The fact that Ridgefield has embraced ACT of CT is never lost on me. I love living and working here.

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