Hippo Manchester
December 15, 2005

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Theater: Rosemary Dann

Mad about MADCo.

By Robert Greene    rgreene@hippopress.com

Rosemary Dann loves to act and sing. It’s a passion she discovered in high school and college. In her earlier days, she was often brought in as a “ringer” for shows put on by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Gilbert & Sullivan Society. She was not a student there, she’s quick to add. The theater group just needed a pretty girl for the shows who could sing and dance.

Nowadays, after working as a lawyer and raising a family, Dann has returned to the stage and been thrust into a leadership role with MADCo (Music and Drama Company) out of Londonderry. Dann serves as the group’s vice president (Pam Bowen is president), works as a Spanish interpreter for the court system and spends as much time as possible onstage.

I think I just received an audition notice from you folks ... what was that about?

It was for Into the Woods, which is a musical. Traditionally, we do a musical in the spring and a straight show in the fall. We just finished doing Hot L Baltimore and Into the Woods is our next production. Our auditions are Jan. 10-11 with callbacks on the 12th of January.

Where are you based?

We are based in Londonderry and generally do our shows at the Opera House in Derry. It holds approximately 300.

Is it one of those deals where you rent the space but never get to rehearse there?

We rent the space and we rent it, generally, from the Sunday prior to the show going up. And then we clear out the Saturday after the show finishes.

Into the Woods is a pretty big show. Where do you put all those people for a rehearsal if you don’t have access to a stage?

We rehearse in spaces that are generous enough to let us do it for free. For the most part we rehearse at the Londonderry Middle School, although this year we’ll be bouncing from spot to spot. So, we’ll be in the middle school part of the time, we’ll be in the North School part of the time and then on Sundays the Church of the Transfiguration in Derry has graciously allowed us to rehearse there. So we bounce from spot to spot; it makes rehearsals a little bit difficult because you don’t have too much continuity. Obviously you are not going to be in the space where you are finally working.

That must make it difficult in terms of setting up the sets as well.

The sets get built the week before. It takes a lot of effort in that week, it really does. And we have to pray there won’t be rain or snow, in case we have to build the sets outside.

How long has MADCo. been around?

If I remember correctly, since 1983. I think I got the math right, this our 27th year.

Were you one of the founding members?

No. I moved to Londonderry in 2005. I’ve done theater in Portsmouth at the Seacoast Rep, I’ve done theater at the Palace and here and there and around. I really hadn’t done a lot of community theater here in New Hampshire. And then I joined MADCo because I knew there were going to be doing Cabaret, and I really wanted to do Cabaret. And I did it, and I was asked to join the board. So I said, “Well, I’ll join the board but I’m not going to be an officer, I’ll just be a member of the board.” Then the vice president resigned and they said, “Well, why don’t you be vice president. You live in Londonderry and you’re the one who goes and picks up the mail every day.”

Do you find working on the board limits the amount of time you can spend on stage?

No, but it limits how much time you sleep.

Do you act more or do you direct?

I act, I sing ... I have not directed. I have been producer for the last — well, this is the third show I will be coproducing.

Do you have a favorite role?

I really loved being Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret. I do have a few favorite roles, Yenta [Fiddler on the Roof]. One of my favorite shows, although it was a minor role, was Man of La Mancha. I played Maria in Man of La Mancha.

What is it about being on stage that you like? Is it about being someone else, are you just a born ham ...”

A little of both. I am a born ham — kosher ham. [Laughs] There is something about being on stage that is euphoric. I know when I was doing Cabaret there is a scene where Ernst yells at [me] and says essentially, “If you marry this Jew, you know what will happen.” Even now, just talking about it, I can feel a range of emotions swell up.