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Outside SHS, with Phillip Steenbekkers

posted Apr 17, 2018, 4:53 AM by Jeffrey Wolf

By: Abbie Schmidt, Co Editor-in-Chief

Posted April 17th, 2018

Define your activity?

The Kettle Moraine Playhouse is a old church turned theater that is run by the Kettle Moraine Players. It opened at the beginning of this school year and has since put on 3 different shows, with the 4th currently in production. Not only is it used as a theater, but they also have community events and recently began hosting open mic nights. I myself am a performer at the playhouse, having been in one production and asked to be in another. My mother is one of the House managers who helps organize events. There are also directors, bartenders, ushers and lighting and tech supervisors.

When did you start this activity?

The first show I performed in at the playhouse was around Christmas time. It was the second show and first musical they put on, “The Gifts of the Magi.” The Gifts of the Magi was my first musical production outside of Slinger High School. To the layman, this might seem like not a very big deal, but there is a surprisingly big difference between high school and community theater. I got the opportunity to work alongside many older and more experienced actors who taught me a great deal about theater. One of them, the one I worked with the most, is a retired high school theater teacher. He inspired me to look into a similar career path.

How did you learn about this activity?

I was told about this show (“The Gifts of the Magi”) by Allison Koerner, who was helping with the music for the show. She made an announcement in choir one day about auditions, which I then attended and was given a lead role.

Do you feel you’ve learned any valuable lessons from this activity? If so, describe.

Theater is a huge part of my life. I plan to continue doing many shows after high school and after college. I believe that the work I've done at the Kettle Moraine Playhouse has better prepared me for a future as an actor and potentially a director.

Does this activity have something connected to what you would like to do after high school? Do you find this activity satisfying?

There is nothing better than seeing a show come together, even shows I'm not personally involved in. All shows start from absolute scratch. Actors, directors and everyone have to work together to build a show from the ground up. My experiences at the playhouse have let me see multiple plays and musicals grow into spectacular shows that I feel privileged to be a part of, or even to just have had the opportunity to see.

What is the greatest misconception about your activity?

Not many people think there is much work involved in the behind-the-scenes work for a theatrical production. I never thought it was that difficult myself until I was a part of it. There are many intricate, small parts that individuals have to play to make a show run smoothly. Even when the curtains close, there are ushers, lighting guys, sound guys, stage managers, concessions sellers, all working hard until the actors return. Also, not just anyone can do these tasks. You'd think that it wouldn't be hard to show people to their seats, but if you aren't careful and know exactly where everything is, you'll end up with a lot of problems and just as many unhappy theater goers.

Why should other people take up your activity?

Anyone in performance arts knows that there's something magical about a theater. Similarly, ask any pastor, church choir or SHS choir member and they'll say there's something magical about a church when it comes to performing, especially vocally. The KMP combines both of these venues! If you aren't a performer, the close quarters of the playhouse make for a personal and unique theater going experience.

Is there anything else you want to say?

There is one final show in the Kettle Moraine Playhouse's 2017-2018 season. Arsenic and Old Lace will be performing May 11th, 12th, 17, 18, 19 at 7:30pm, May 12, 19 at 3:00pm, May 13, 20 at 2:00pm. Their next season begins with an undetermined show, auditions in late June and the show opening September 7th.