Who We Are

Staff


David Cecsarini, Producing Artistic Director

This year marks David’s 40th year as a theatre professional, having debuted as a journeyman actor with the Guthrie Theatre in 1978. He returned to the state of his later upbringing in 1980 by way of the American Players Theatre in Spring Green. After seven seasons as an APT acting company member and fight choreographer, he made his way east, where he has acted with many of Milwaukee’s professional companies over the years.

David has proudly served as Artistic Director and Producer for Milwaukee’s Next Act Theatre for 28 seasons, where he has directed over 40 productions and acted in as many others. Behind the scenes, he has created sound effects and scores for most of Next Act’s work, and for many other professional productions. David holds a BA in Theatre, received upon graduation from the University of Minnesota in 1977.

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Anne Lehmer, Development Director

A nonprofit fundraising professional since 2005, Anne came to Next Act in January of 2016. In Seattle, she raised millions for the Nordic Heritage Museum, United Indians for All Tribes Foundation and the YWCA Seattle|King|Snohomish, was active in the Northwest Development Officers Association and the WA Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFPWA), served on the Board of Directors of AFPWA and as Board Chair for teen mentoring organization, the Service Board.

Anne holds a Masters in Museum Studies: Fundraising and Administration, from San Francisco State University and loves to enjoy Milwaukee’s museums, historic architecture, green spaces, performing arts, festivals and ethnic/cultural events. That is, when she’s not puttering in her vegetable garden or playing in the snow.

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Rebecca Moder, Marketing Director

Becky came to Next Act Theatre in 2012 after spending five years with the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center. She holds a BA in Arts Management with a Business minor from UW-Stevens Point.

When not at Next Act, Becky is spending time with family up north in Three Lakes, WI, working on home renovation projects with her husband, Tim, or sleeping on the couch with their dog, Tank.

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Mike Van Dreser, Technical Director/Rental Coordinator

Mike has served as Next Act Theatre’s Technical Director since 2011, taking on the additional roles of Facility Manager and Rental Coordinator in 2014. Previously, Mike was the resident Master Electrician and Light Board Operator. Mike studied with renowned Lighting Designer Jason Fassl.

Some of Mike’s designs include I AND YOU; UnSILENT NIGHT; BRAVO, CARUSO!; IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE LIVE RADIO SHOW; NO CHILD…; PERFECT MENDACITY; and ONE TIME with Next Act Theatre and HEDWIG & THE ANGRY INCH, NEXT TO NORMAL, THE WILD PARTY and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS with All In Productions.

When Mike is not working for Next Act he is working on building his own production company that services technical theatre needs for high schools, colleges and other area theatre organizations. Mike looks forward to many more years with Next Act and the Greater Milwaukee theatre arts.

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Veronica Zahn, Administrative Assistant

Veronica Zahn has been the Administrative Assistant for Next Act since May 2017, focusing on marketing and development projects. Veronica has also stage managed at Next Act for THE OTHER PLACE and HEAR WHAT’S IN THE HEART. She has a BA in Theatre Arts from Bethel College and an MFA in Stage Management from Wayne State University. A part of the theatre community in Milwaukee since the 2014-15 season, Veronica has also stage managed at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, Skylight Music Theatre and Theatre Gigante, in addition to teaching stage management at Carthage College. She enjoys exploring all that Milwaukee has to offer with her husband, Matt Norby.

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Grace DeWolff, Education Manager

Grace is a Milwaukee born-and-raised theatre-maker with experience as a professional actor and as an auxiliary theatre teacher in a multitude of MPS schools. Before working at Next Act, she taught in educational outreach programs at First Stage, Skylight, Arts@Large, and The Rep, and continues to bring professional theatre experiences to classrooms and students in and around Milwaukee. When not at Next Act, Grace can be found traveling to the Edinburgh, Scotland Fringe Festival or rehearsing a staged sword fight (someday maybe both at once).

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Board of Directors

President
Cathy Jakicic, Healthcare Facilities Today

Vice President
David Anderson, Johnson Controls (retired)

Secretary
Joyce Mielke, Briggs & Stratton Corporation (retired)

Treasurer
Tom Gauthier, Adonai Employment

Directors

Terri Alioto, Community Volunteer
Michael Burzynski, CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP
Mohammad ElBsat, Johnson Controls
David Hertel, Husch Blackwell, LLP
Kelsey Lawler, Rev Pop
Steve Marcus*, Marcus Promotions/Footlights
Donna Martynski, Community Volunteer
John McGivern, Actor, Writer, Comedian
Daniel P. Murray, Broadway Law Offices
Sean Rierdon, Johnson Controls
Susan Schoenfeld, Community Volunteer
Sandra Zingler, Community Volunteer

*past President