Beit Hillel Theater Workshop, Community spotlight, Starcatcher

Community Spotlight – Daniel Lewin

Daniel Lewin is an actor who has been part of Starcatcher, J-Town Playhouse, and the Beit Hillel Workshop over the course of around eight years. We asked Daniel a few questions and would like to share his answers with you. 

JET: Why did you get involved in acting?

DL: When I was 13, I saw my very first professional Broadway musical (but not on Broadway), which was The Lion King. Watching the actors bring characters to life, play around on the big stage, wear those amazing costumes, and work around that amazing set and scene changes inspired me to one day be a part of something like this. It looked like SO MUCH FUN!!! Once I left the show, I was never the same again. I wanted to be the person who can portray different characters and make an audience feel something that makes them connect with that character. 

JET: What is your favorite theater memory? 

DL: When we were doing Pippin, at the end of the show, we had to reach out our hands to the audience [to] try [to] get them to join us as a “player,” and usually no one gets up, but one particular performance we had a little boy (who must have been 3 [years old] at the time) who just walked up to us while reaching out his hands. One of the members in the cast handed him back to his mother. It was very funny in the moment, but it was so cool that we managed to make that look so believable that someone (even a 3 year old) would be lured into that. 

JET: What is the hardest part of being an actor? 

DL: Without a doubt, it has to be finding your character. Sometimes you may know a certain character from a certain show well, but that doesn’t always necessarily mean that you know how to portray it on the go. Most importantly is making that character your own. It take[s] week[s] or a month or 2 to fully develop the character you are playing correctly as an actor. 

JET: What is the most rewarding show you’ve ever done? 

DL: That’s a hard question. I can’t choose one so I’ll pick two. In The Heights and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. After each show of In The Heights, people came up to me telling me their experience of living in Washing[ton] Height[s]. Someone in particular told me she remembered the guy selling Piragua (shaved ice) on the streets in a cart and how refreshing it was. As Charlie Brown, all the kids wanted to take photos with us after the show. Someone’s mother told me that when her little daughter saw me (Charlie Brown) looking sad, she was trying to get up from her seat and come give me a hug. When I hear moments like these, it makes me happy to know I made something believable and it’s so rewarding.

JET: How do you prepare for different roles? 

DL: I like to read up on the character descriptions and understand the history behind that character. Sometimes if I feel like I need a bit of a boost to help me get started, I look for performances of them on YouTube (sorry to those who are against that), and try to figure out on my end what I can do similar, but differently to bring this role to life.

JET: What is your pre-show routine? 

DL: Before going on stage, I like to take 10 minutes of listening to 80’s rock music to get me hyped and excited to go on and perform. E.g. Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister, Foreigner, etc.

JET: What is your dream role and why? 

DL: Oh man, another hard question! Umm… if I had to pick it would be Javert in Les Miserables. He is one of my all time favorite characters and sings the beautiful song “Stars” which is my favorite from the show. I love playing a character who is determined to get what he wants and doesn’t rest until it’s his. It’s like chasing a dream, you can’t just let it get away.

Daniel Lewin was recently in Oliver! (Fagin) with Beit Hillel and will be in Into the Woods (Rapunzel’s Prince) with Starcatcher (March). 

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