Growing up near Philadelphia in what he calls “the rural cultural wasteland known as southern New Jersey,” Dan couldn’t wait to escape to the big city … but he just bought a house not far from where he grew up—“so go figure!” he says. He studied theater at Rowan (formerly Glassboro) State College, and has worked at Playwrights Horizons and Actor’s Equity, as well as serving as an assistant to a television producer
How long have you worked at Juilliard, and what do you remember about your first day? Or what is one of your favorite memories from your years here?
I started the year that some of the freshmen here were probably born: 1991. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed by the number of Juilliard performances for which I would be responsible, but I also felt (and still do feel) a sense of pride about joining such a prestigious institution. Many talented performers have worked in my office over the years and I have enjoyed seeing them perform, grow, and succeed as artists.
What job at Juilliard would you like to try out for a day and why?
I would like to trade places with the chairman of the board, Bruce Kovner—just to experience the satisfaction and joy that comes with philanthropy.
What is the strangest or most memorable job you’ve ever had and what made it so?
I sold Kirby vacuum cleaners door-to-door in college. Lasted approximately two hours, if that. I also worked as a sideshow barker at the foot of the World Trade Center towers. Both positions provided valuable experience for my present position.
If out of the blue your boss said to take the day off, what would you do with your free time?
Sleep in, swim, bike ride, hit a museum, have dinner with friends (with wine), watch South Park, then back to bed.
Many Juilliard staff members are also artists. Are you, and if so, how do you balance your job and your artistic endeavors?
I was an actor in New York for a while, but chose a more dependable livelihood in arts administration—where I could support the arts, but not have to live job-to-job. I decided to focus more on writing as my creative outlet. I miss performing, but live vicariously through other friends working as actors, singers, or musicians.
What other pursuits are you passionate about?
Music, theater, antiques, cinema, cooking, travel. I’m passionate about many things—unfortunately, the hectic pace of Manhattan allows for little free time to pursue them. I also plan on doing whatever I can to change the current national political climate.
What was the best vacation you’ve had and what made that trip so special?
Probably my most memorable vacation would be my first visit to Europe, with one of my best and most well-traveled friends. He planned the itinerary—starting at the French Riviera, touring the castles of Mad Ludwig in Bavaria, driving through the Austrian Alps, with a brief stay in Milan, and winding up in Paris for the 200th Bastille Day celebration. A great introduction to the European lifestyle. My upcoming trips include Morocco and South America.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
I was in a terrible Woody Allen movie—the less said, the better. Also, I have a garden plot in the city. I grow herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and roses in a community garden in Hell’s Kitchen.
What is your favorite thing about New York City?
I have my love/hate days living in midtown. Sometimes I can’t wait to escape this insane town, and other times I can’t wait to return to it.
What book are you reading right now? Or what CD are you listening to? What’s your impression of it?
Just picked up the new Annie Lennox, Seal, and Joni Mitchell CDs. I keep up with my older favorites as well as an occasional newer artist such as Feist. I just started reading The Kite Runner. Saw the movie and loved it. I knew very little about the Afghani people and their culture and it opened up a new world to me.