The Rise and and Rise of Daniel Rocket first presented at Playwrights Horizon in New York City in 1982, was only the second play by Peter Parnell to be produced in New York, but one could sense the playwright's vision. He regarded the trauma of growing up with a sweet disposition and a childlike innocence. The hero is a propulsive romantic figure driven to outrageous acts by his love for a young woman and by his need to prove himself.
Daniel Rocket simply takes off. flying into the air. It's Birdy, it's Superman, it's Peter Pan-it's Daniel Rocket. This is a dream-of-glory play, and until it brushes sentimentality with a Don Quixote conclusion, it sheds a small shaft of sunlight.
Daniel Rocket is the outsider in his sixth-grade class, shunned by his schoolmates except for his friend Richard who listens to, and encourages, his experiments. For years, Daniel has been a secret flier, and, strapping on wings-for effect, not out of necessity-he soars off Hatch's Cliff.
Before he flies away from his childhood, he visits Alice, the girl he loves who, confronted with Daniel's destiny, finds herself glowing with excitement.
The author is clearly observant about the peer pressures of youngsters in packs. Boys and girls are like warring armies, with occasional desertions as one discovers a crush, falling quickly in and out of love.
The director, Peter Marsh of Rutland, has directed over 130 productions in 40 years. He spent many years as a local high school theatre director at West Rutland and then at Mill River. He has directed "A Christmas Carol", "Cinderella Waltz", "White Liars/Black Comedy", "Twelve Angry Men (Jurors)", and "Almost, Maine". He is also one of the company's producing directors.
Cast in the local show are Frank Wright as Daniel Rocket, Wheaton Squier as Richard, Laura Steere as Alice, Ken Holmes as Roger, Mark Zelis as Steven, Adam Desautels as Jeffrey, Jenel Ronn as Penny, Bridget Scott as Judy, Wendy Savery as Claudia, and Ilene Blackman as Mrs. Rice.