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Volunteer, Actor &
Board Member
Dale Burgess

Dale, I've seen you a lot of different places. When did you get involved in theatre?

I have been doing shows since I knew what they were - and putting on costumes and singing since I can remember, but the first community show I did was when I was in 6th grade and my church choir director, Sterling Anderson, told me I should audition for Wausau Community Theatre's production of Music Man. It turned out I was too big to be a "Winthrop", but I sat in rehearsals every night and memorized as much as I could.

So you've been a theatre kid for a long time?

Even before I knew. My parents had a 45 set of the songs from "Oklahoma". I didn't even realize I was listening to a cast album (not sure that would be the term) only that I really liked listening and singing.

That is an interesting story - So how did you get connected to CWCT?

I started getting connected through my kids. As a father of 4, my oldest decided on his own to try out for the WEHS musical his 6th grade year (Music Man). Besides the odd connection, it was clear that all of my kids going through loved to sing and be on stage. So between CWCT, WCT, and schools they spent a lot of time in theatre. As my kids were growing, I was getting to know Joelle and others from CWCT and then I started doing some roles for them when they used a blended cast (all ages). 

So you've done shows for them as well as volunteered. Can you name them?

I think so (or can come close). I was in Seussical the Musical, A Christmas Story, White Christmas, Elf JR, Joesph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Newsies (didn't sing a note) and I had the honor of playing Father in the 2019 production of Children of Eden with my youngest, Lily. 

Quite a few. I won't ask you about your kids shows, but do you have any highlight of CWCT that you could share?

One that sticks out goes back again to being "Father" in Children of Eden. That show says a lot about parents and children and about fathers specifically. I found so much of it spoke to me and there were times when I had to really work to make sure it didn't get too "real". 

In the final number I walked through the cast saying goodbye and sharing a brief moment. When I got to my own kid, Lily, the emotions caught me in the throat and I had a hard time

continuing. So, when we got to the actual show, I had to not look at her at all to finish up the song. I am so glad that the musical happened before COVID. Life seems so different right now, but that was a magical moment in my life that I got to share.

Thank you for sharing that. So, other than CWCT, can you tell me shows and groups you've worked with?

That list would be pretty long. Lets just say that when I have the time I'm doing something. I have been a longtime member of Centerstage, a sometimes actor for WCT, a volunteer usher at the Grand when I have the time and an audience member whenever I get the chance. I love the performing arts and Central Wisconsin is a great place for it.

Alright, you've been with and done a lot around Central Wisconsin for performing arts. So, why CWCT?

That is easy. This is where it all starts. Had CWCT been around when I was a kid, it would've been my place (it began in 1978 so that tells you how old I am). We are blessed here in Central Wisconsin with a level of activity that many larger communities only wish they had. We have a community that grows up believing that the arts are just a part of what you do. CWCT is a big part of that and the reason why even though I'm now an "empty nester" that I am still excited about this organization. After all, I have kids, nieces and nephews - and they have kids. This is where I want them to grow up. 

Thank you for taking the time for the interview this month Dale. One last question - do you have any favorite joke or meme you could share?

To be honest? I don't really. They all ring true to me and I've gotten a chuckle out of the other ones, but I don't have any Go-To. Can I just say instead that I hope everyone who can comes out and sees, supports and if they can, participates in an activity. The organization thrives on volunteers and I couldn't think of a better place to spend your energy. 

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