Meet the Team of FOLLIES – Phil Kreisel is the Stage Manager!

Phil Kreisel Profile pictureWhat is your role on this production? I am the stage manager for this production. There are multiple tasks associated with this role, but there are 2 main ones that I’ll touch on here. The first is to call all the sound and light cues associated with helping to make the show the spectacle that it will be. The second is to ensure that everyone onstage (and backstage) is accounted for prior to the start of the show.

What is your background in theatre? At Walterdale? I have been involved with theatre since 2000, when my son (who was acting regularly at the time) dared me to perform. Since then, I’ve primarily done sound design (almost 80 shows and counting so far), but I’ve also written plays, directed, stage managed, and occasionally acted as well. My involvement at Walterdale started in 2004, and is an ongoing adventure.

What brought you out for this production? Why did you want to be involved in this show? I was approached by both the director and production manager to stage manage this show. Barb and I go way back (12 years), and while I’d never stage-managed for her before, I do love musicals, so I thought it would be fun to do.

This show is about theatre and nostalgia – got any good theatre stories? I have tons of theatre stories, as each show has its own funny moments or quirks, which is one of the great joys I love about doing theatre. One of the great theatre stories I have is associated with Walterdale’s production of Sweet Charity back in 2005. I thought that it would be a good visual joke for Gerald Mason’s character (as a dirty old man) to open up a Playboy centerfold during the subway scene in the show, whereby one of the female actors would get offended and hit him over the head with her purse. I ended up changing the centerfold every night, so Gerald would always be surprised when he did the gag. The centerfolds were primarily weird pictures of cast members (usually the men in drag). We did 12 shows, hence a year’s worth of centerfolds, which I later turned into a souvenir calendar.

What has been the most challenging part of doing the show? It’s coming up, when I’ll be calling the show. It’s live theatre, so anything unexpected can happen, so I may have to get creative in a hurry. More importantly, a pleasurable challenge is to ensure that everyone involved is both being professional as well as having a good time being part of the show.

What has been the best thing about doing the show? Two things actually: First, having the privilege to watch the wonderful cast performing during every rehearsal (and of course, nightly once the show is officially mounted). Second: renewing old friendships as well as establishing new ones through the evolution of the show. If one can’t have a good time doing the show (including all the prep work), what’s the point of being there (but that’s just my opinion).

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