Michael, it's nice to get a chance to chat. Let's start off with the basics. How long have you been involved in the performing arts/theatre?
It has been a while. I have been involved in the performing arts, in one way or another, for over 20 years now.
Do you remember how you got started with it?
I had taken part in very small plays since I was little. Things changed though in my freshman year of high school when I participated in my first large scale production. That’s when I knew that the theatre world had a place for me.
I understand you're a teacher. Where do you teach and how long?
I teach 2nd grade for the Merrill Area Public School District (MAPS). I've been a teacher for about 10 years. Prior to teaching, I worked in 4-H Youth Development for a number of years. Teaching is my profession, theatre is my hobby.
So, as a teacher, what other sorts of hobbies do you have - other than theatre?
In my minutes of spare time (I see what you did there), I enjoy old movies and traveling. Of course, I also considered theatre as a hobby. Working with CWETA gave me great opportunities to develop my skills as a director and producer. Making connections within the community in central Wisconsin and resident artists brought in for productions from all over the country has been a great way to learn new things and provide support for other theatre organizations and school programs.
That is all very interesting. Can you tell me what led you to start volunteering with CWCT?
I was asked to be a stage manager for a show that Joelle Murray was directing (I believe it was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat). Ever since then, I have tried to maintain a relationship with CWCT - whether I was working on a specific show or not. I value CWCT as a strong component to a good, well-rounded community that provides a variety of opportunities for families. I’m happy to contribute in any way I’m able.
Is there a highlight you'd like to share from your time as a volunteer?
My favorite highlight from volunteering with CWCT (and it happens a lot) is when participants share that they feel comfortable and have found a place to belong. During one of the rehearsals for Matilda the Musical, one of the actors told me that they feel like they’ve finally found a place where they can show off their talents. I replied that my job, as a director, is not only to produce a show but also to create a place for actors to do just that. It's always a wonderful moment and is one of those things that makes children's theatre so important.
Is there anything you would like people to know about CWCT specifically?
CWCT has a long history of high-quality shows that have provided many local actors - beginning and veteran - opportunities to grow in their craft. The expectations for CWCT shows are often that success is measured simply by completion of a show. However, I’m proud of the fact that CWCT shows have continued to surpass the community’s expectations as they exhibit the great pool of talent that central Wisconsin has. Community support is the only way CWCT will continue to achieve its mission. Let’s keep it going for many years to come.
Our final question is always, "Do you have a good theatre joke/meme to share"? Do you?
Fair enough. Thank you for taking some time to help us get to know you a little better Michael.