A Deeper Look: Daniel Denenberg

Turning down a rarely-offered spot at Interlochen, a famous camp for the performing arts, in order to be in Omaha Community Playhouse’s performance of Les Misérables is just a taste of Daniel Denenberg’s commitment to and love of one of his favorite musicals.

At only age 10, Daniel has become a very talented performer, having been in many theatre performances as well as receiving one of the 30 spots at Interlochen over 470 other applicants. His mother, Tippi, remembers how, as a baby, Daniel sang all the time, “The babysitters would be amazed that he basically put himself to bed singing.” Daniel felt that taking the role of an Urchin and understudy of Gavroche would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Currently a fifth-grader at Friedel Jewish Academy, Daniel is very excited about the fact that his entire class (the fifth- and sixth-graders) are coming to see the show. He first began acting at the age of four with dance recitals and musical theatre at the Jewish Community Center on 132nd Street. He remembers that his first class was technically at OCP, "but I could barely participate unless my parents stayed the entire length of the class because I was young and shy. Now I can't wait to get there!"

The eldest of five, there is always something to do at the Denenberg house. “We are constantly putting on shows for our family and friends - mysteries, comedies, musicals," said Daniel. "I usually direct and compose everything.” Daniel says that growing up with four siblings is a blessing and that he likes to help his mom with the baby. His hobbies include collecting foreign money and acting like Jim Carrey (which he says makes his mom cringe).

Daniel’s favorite characters to perform have been Nicely Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls and Winthrop in Music Man, saying that the music in both of those shows is outstanding. Concerning his other theatre interests, Daniel enjoys “the olden stuff” like black and white movies and old radio shows. Truly much more mature and wordly than the average 10-year-old, Daniel seems to be able to fit theatre and family together quite well, always appreciating both.

When asked why he wanted to audition for Les Mis, Daniel said that he just couldn’t resist the story and the music. He also talked about how the Omaha Community Playhouse was a draw for him, saying that just being there makes him feel special.

You can see Daniel Denenberg in his role as an Urchin and Gavroche Understudy at the Omaha Community Playhouse’s Les Misérables, running Sept. 20-Oct. 27, 2013; Wednesday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $40 for adults and $24 for students. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call (402) 553-0800 or click here.

Story by Shannon Kern

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