When the lights come up on stage and a performance begins, the audience sees what has taken months to achieve. From the decision to produce a play to the final curtain call, it takes a small army of professionals to bring a show to fruition. But there is also a cadre of people whose work you don’t necessarily see on stage but is vital to the final product. In addition to staff, many front-of-house volunteers, and our amazing patrons and donors, a group of dedicated volunteers make up our Board of Directors. These individuals commit their time and resources to the fiscal well-being and management of Next Act Theatre. Board members support its mission by spreading the word about our work to family, friends and colleagues, and they provide oversight of the organization. We would like to introduce you now to two of our amazing board members!
I was born in Milwaukee and have spent all of my adult life here. I’ve liked theater since a second grade field trip to a play. I don’t remember the play but I recall seeing real people in bright costumes — so much better than television in 1954! My professional background is in 40 years of designing computer systems which is pretty analytical. I’m not personally artistic but I get real enjoyment from attending live theatre.
My wife and I were introduced to Next Act back in the 1990’s. Some friends invited us to meet them for dinner and a show. We started attending individual productions but soon had season tickets. I’ve particularly enjoyed the fact that most of Next Act’s shows are new to me; Ibsen is ok, but I don’t need to see A DOLL’S HOUSE again.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I joined the board in 2012. Next Act was looking for new members when a then current member suggested me after seeing my name on a subscriber list. I love [Next Act’s] space and the shows David [Cecsarini, Producing Artistic Director] chooses to present: timely, intimate and powerful. These days, we bring guests to the Saturday matinees and then go to dinner for a great discussion about the play.
I feel that an important part of being a board member is to be an advocate for the theatre, to support it by talking to others, encouraging them to come and sense the intimacy of our space – to feel the emotions and the experience of our productions.
A lifelong resident of Milwaukee, I live with my sister in our family home in Bay View. I hold a Master’s degree in Statistics from Western Michigan University which led me to a teaching career in mathematics at Shorewood High School. Following work in the computer industry, I went to work for Briggs & Stratton, from where I am now retired.
My manager at Briggs & Stratton was a big fan of Next Act Theatre and in 2006, he suggested that I attend a show which I did and voila, I’m still here! I always loved the theatre though I never acted in a play or worked behind the scenes (though I suspect I would be much better working behind the scenes!) I was asked by the Briggs & Stratton Foundation if I would be interested in serving on Next Act’s Board as a representative of the company. I said, “Yes!” and still serve to this day.
I have appreciated gaining “behind the scenes” insight into what it takes to produce quality theatre and manage its financial aspects with the dedication and attention to detail that David [Cecsarini, Producing Artistic Director] and former Managing Director Charles Kakuk, who sadly passed six years ago, have done for so many years.
I believe in contributing to our community. My work with Next Act as well as years of service on the board of Literacy Services allows me to contribute to creating a strong community and a thriving economy, which is very important to me.