A Woman of Class – Next Act Theatre

A Woman of Class

A Woman of Class

By Jane Flieller, Development Director

Next Act patrons Werner and Susan Krause have always been strong supporters of arts education. They have supported Next Act’s educational programming for many years and have been particularly generous with our Next Actors: Summer Theatre for Teens program. Several Bravo Next Act fundraisers have seen Werner standing up to challenge the other attendees to match funding for Next Act’s education initiatives – always a great success.

Sadly, we lost our patron, donor and friend, Sue, this summer. Born June 17, 1937 in Milwaukee, Sue graduated from Milwaukee Washington High School in 1955 and later attended Wisconsin State College. During her time in college, she served on the Student Interest and Life Committee that was part of the formation of UW-Milwaukee. She was also the City Desk Editor of the UWM Post and was a member of the UWM Student Government. It was there Sue met Werner, whom she married in 1958. They lived in Brookfield for a while until they settled in Sheboygan.

Werner and Sue had three children. Their mother taught them the nuances of caring for various live critters (snakes, crabs, dogs, etc.), accepting many as pets, and they fondly remember her ringing the cow bells to call everyone home for dinner. She was Werner’s loving, supportive, collaborative life partner and wife for more than 63 years.

Sue leveraged her leadership skills to develop a local neighborhood park, a teenager-managed teen center. She made her stage acting debut with the Brookfield Players. Once the children were in school, she returned to UWM and graduated in 1972 with a BA in English/Mass Communications.

Sue had many interests and hobbies. Her interest in boating and sailing led to being accepted as one of the first female members of the Sheboygan Yacht Club, where she became a certified boat lift crane operator. She held the position of Executive Secretary of the Lake Michigan Sail Racing Association for more than ten years. In collaboration with Windway Capital, Sue was instrumental in developing major portions of the Ice Age Trail. She also served as a Board member for the Sheboygan Historical Society. Her interest in theater continued with the Sheboygan Theater Company as playbill editor for more than 15 years, actor, backstage support and a member of the Board of Directors. Her dedication was rewarded with a Lifetime Membership.

After retirement and a move to Door County and Florida in the mid-90s, she was an active member of the Platinum Point Yacht Club (Florida) Olympic Qualification Committee for Soling class competitors. In Door County, she was a member of Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church and was involved with the Ellison Bay Women’s Club, which inspired the establishment of the Susan M. Krause Women’s Scholarship Fund. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Sister Bay Historical Society.

Throughout her life, Sue enjoyed a myriad of hobbies: world travel, gardening, reading, theater, Sheepshead and crossword puzzles (always doing the New York Times puzzles in ink). In addition to Next Act Theatre, Sue and Werner supported organizations such as Secure Futures, Door Shakespeare, Northern Sky Theatre and the Marshfield Clinic Foundation Pediatric Oncology Angel Fund as well as a variety of other worthy local non-profits.

In honor of his late wife, Werner was inspired to create the Sue Krause Next Actors Scholarship Fund. Two students each year, either graduating seniors of Next Actors or alumni, who study a theatre discipline in a Wisconsin-based college or university, can submit an application to be considered for a $1,500 scholarship.

We hope to initiate this program by the end of this year and announce the inaugural scholarship winners at next spring’s Bravo Next Act fundraising gala. We thank Werner for this generous act on behalf of Sue, whom we will miss very much. We are grateful to have an opportunity to encourage careers in the performing arts with a way to also honor and remember a woman who lived life to the fullest, loved the theatre and held a strong belief in the power of education.