By Bob Evans
UPDATE: See Daniel in “Something Rotten” this week at Starlight Theatre. You can miss him–he’s the tallest member of the men’s dance ensemble and get to display his tapping expertise.
Daniel Beeman built a strong resume in the early stages of his career with performances in local productions while still a student at UMKC. Upon graduation, his star continued to rise with local productions which demonstrated his status as a triple threat…singer/dancer/actor. Local theater audiences have seen him in several strong productions prior to his move to NYC to bigger and better opportunities. Once there, his talents helped secure him a part in the first national tour of a Broadway hit, “Something’s Rotten,” which returns him to his professional roots, Kansas City and Starlight Theatre.
When and how did the acting bug possess you?
“I’ve been singing and dancing most of my life, but my decision to go into theatre specifically happened in college.”
What led to your theatrical pursuits?
“My college roommate saw an audition notice for a production of ‘Next to Normal’ happening in Kansas City and persuaded me to audition because he knew I sang. I played Gabe and, after that, I knew theatre was what I wanted to do.”
Where/how did you begin your performance journey?
“I started tap dancing and singing in choirs back home in Nebraska. I then transitioned to Irish dancing and competed in that for about 10 years before discovering theatre.”
Who influenced you and how?
“My parents because they always supported me in whatever I wanted to do, and I think they always knew I’d be in this business before I did.”
.I reviewed you in shows in the Kansas City area. In what shows did you preform here and at what venues? Which were the most challenging and why?
“I performed at the KC Rep, Starlight Theatre, Spinning Tree Theatre, and Egads. The most challenging for me was ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ at the Rep because it was my first straight play. Having to use language alone versus language and music was an exciting challenge for me.”
I believe your last production in Kansas City that I reviewed was “Hair-Retrospective” at the KC Rep. At that time you told me you had moved to Chicago and come back for “Hair.” Can you fill me in on your success in Chicago? What shows did you preform there?
“I actually had just graduated from UMKC before ‘Hair: Retrospection.’ After that, I did ‘Mary Poppins’ at Starlight and then ‘Sunday in the Park with George’ at the Rep. Then, I moved to New York, came back to Kansas City for ‘The Diary of Anne Frank,’ and then worked at the Ogunquit Playhouse in the summer before I found out I would be doing this tour of ‘Something Rotten.’ It’s been an exciting couple of years!
I know your singing is very strong, as is your acting. As I am writing the questions, I think I recall you tapping in the ensemble of “Mary Poppins” at Starlight. Am I correct? I think you did other Starlight productions as well. Can you help bring my mature mind into focus on those?
“Yes, I was in the ensemble for that show.”
“Right now I’m focused on keeping my body healthy and able to continue doing this show every week. After the tour ends, I’ll head back to New York and start taking classes and auditioning again.”
You have secured a role in the national tour of “Something Rotten.” How did you do that? What did it entail?
“I initially auditioned last September and after two rounds of callbacks with singing, reading scenes and dancing for our directors, producer and composers, I was offered the role! The whole process was about three weeks long.”
When did rehearsals begin? When did the tour begin?
“Rehearsals started in December 2016, and we left on tour in January.”
I see “Something Rotten” is scheduled for Starlight this summer. Will you be here? How many touring companies are traveling this summer?
“Yes, I’ll be back at Starlight Theatre this summer with this tour on July 25-30! I’m excited to be back and to dance on that stage again.”
I do not know the show. Can you give me a brief synopsis for your fans?
“‘Something Rotten’ is a brand new musical comedy about Nick and Nigel Bottom, two brothers who are desperate to write a hit play but are stuck in the shadow of the Renaissance rockstar William Shakespeare. A soothsayer tells Nick that the future of theatre involves singing and dancing, so the brothers set out to write the world’s first musical.”
What part do you play? Will you use all your talents for this show? How big is your part?
“I’m in the ensemble and I understudy Shakespeare. Throughout the show, I’m a member of Nick and Nigel’s acting troupe, one of Shakespeare’s backup dancers, Shakespeare’s valet, and a handful of other quirky characters.”
Have you seen the original production? What can we expect?
“Yes, I saw the original Broadway cast and then saw the show again during rehearsals. Expect to laugh until your sides hurt! It is a hilarious love letter to Broadway. It’s for everyone, both musical theatre lovers and Shakespeare-haters alike.”
What challenges do you face in this show?
“The hardest thing about the show is the stamina it requires of the actors. I’m rarely offstage so it requires us to keep our bodies and minds in great shape.”
Do you have a schedule of the show’s tour cities and dates? If so can you enlighten your fans?
“Head over to http://rottenbroadway.com/tickets for the full tour route and ticket information. For tickets to see me and the show at Starlight in Kansas City, go to www.kcstarlight.com/somethingrotten.”
You obviously have friends and colleagues in KC. Do you have family here as well? Who?
“My brother recently relocated to Kansas City and I have a couple cousins there as well. I’m excited that they’ll be able to see the show!”
Kansas City can be steamy in July, and Starlight can be oppressive when in the audience. I remember the days long before the a/c stage. How do you cope with the summer heat?
“Lots and lots and lots of water and staying in the A/C as much as you can!”
What is the length of the tour? Will you be with the show for the entirety of the tour?
“Our show is currently booked through May of 2018.”
Are there other aspects of your life, your career, your family that you want us to share with your KC fans and friends?
“I’m just thrilled to be doing what I love and getting to travel the country at the same time. It’s been a whirlwind, and I’m just loving riding on this wave!”