1. WHERE ARE YOU FROM? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN MILWAUKEE?
I was born and raised in Milwaukee on the Northwest side. I’ve been here all my life other than my college years spent at the University of Illinois in Champaign. I came back in 1966, landed a job here and spent my professional career working in architecture. My wife and I currently live in Whitefish Bay.
|Board Member Keith Anderson|
My first connection to MCT was actually through my job in the 1980’s. I was working with Clair Richardson. He was the founder of Skylight and a prominent member of the Milwaukee theatre community at the time. I helped him redesign a theatre space across from Cathedral Square where MCT was also performing shows in its early days, and that’s how I first became acquainted with the company. I have been an MCT subscriber ever since.
3. FAVORITE PLAY OR PLAYS?
I loved THE TRAIN DRIVER last season. I also loved LEND ME A TENOR. As a board member, I really enjoy when Michael Wright, our Artistic Director, brings in models of the show sets; that appeals to my mindset as an architect. I remember when he came in with the set for LEND ME A TENOR and his line was, “This is not shtick but is has six doors.” I loved that line! Anyone who knows comedy knows there are usually a lot of doors involved, people coming and going.
4. FAVORITE ACTOR?
I love James Ridge. He’s a marvelous actor. I remember seeing him playing a librarian in a one-man show. It was called UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL back in 2013. I’m also a fan of Jim Pickering, who was in LOVE STORIES this past fall. He is one of those actors in play after play after play, and I don’t remember a clinker. He’s just a good actor.
5. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN THE BOARD?
The first reason was George Mosher. He’s a former MCT board member and someone I worked with professionally. When I met George, we hit it off immediately and not too long afterwards, he asked me to join the board. I then had the chance to meet with MCT’s Artistic Director Michael Wright and Managing Director Kirsten Mulvey. When we met in a sort of interview process for the board, that just fanned the fire. I knew I really wanted to be involved in this theatre. I so appreciate Michael’s vision of promoting “quality literature” in theatre; it appeals to me. I think one of the advantages we’ve had at MCT is that we really do good plays all the time.
I also joined as a way to give back to my hometown. Many people feel very fortunate in where they are in life and what they’ve accomplished and I am one of those people. I never thought that I’d run an architecture firm for 25 years. For me internally, that makes it imperative to look at the community of which I’m a part and see what I can do to give back. It can be something that you truly enjoy at a gut level and MCT has been that for me. I’ve been on the board since 2008.
6. YOU ARE A FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE MCT BOARD. ANY ACCOMPLISHMENTS YOU’RE ESPECIALLY PROUD OF UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP?
The thing that I’m most proud of is that we were able to maintain a high quality of literary plays, while also enhancing the budget. Theatre can be a tough business, especially when people don’t have as much discretionary income. But I do think we’re in a decent financial place and it’s getting better.
7. WHAT DO YOU DO PROFESSIONALLY?
I spent my career as an architect and ran a firm in Milwaukee for 25 years called Engberg Anderson Architects. I retired in 2013.
8. WHAT YOU DO FOR FUN? ANY HOBBIES?
When I was young, I was into all kinds of sports, like golf and basketball. I still play a lot of golf but no more basketball. At one time, I was known as the city’s leading authority on croquet because I founded the Milwaukee Croquet Club in the mid-90s. I still play today. Since I retired, I love spending time outdoors doing almost anything you can possibly think of, biking, cross-country skiing in the winter, taking hikes, anywhere you can get out in nature. My wife and I have also started to travel more in retirement. We’ve been to the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu. I’ve been to Churchill Manitoba on Tundra Buggies to observe the polar bear fall migration. This spring we went on a Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona around the boot of Italy and back up to Venice. This fall, we’re planning a bicycle tour overseas in Slovenia, Austria and Italy.
One of my favorite places in the world is Alaska. I just think it’s exquisitely beautiful. I drove out there 37 years ago with my eight-year-old son and spent a month camping in the back country. I remember coming across a black bear cub and then the mother appeared and started running after us. Luckily, our van wasn’t too far away. I don’t think the slide door of a Volkswagen Camper Van has ever been opened and closed so quickly!
9. FAVORITE WISCONSIN SPOT THAT NEVER GETS OLD?
Anything along the water. I used to spend time in my single days at places like Harrington Beach and Lyons Den Park near Grafton. I’m fortunate enough to own a lake cottage on Upper Lake Nashotah near Oconomowoc. On weekends in the summer, we just send a message out to our friends to join us for a float boat tour and cook out. We call it “Open Sunday” at the lake.
10. FAVORITE SUMMER FESTIVAL IN MILWAUKEE?
Summerfest. My son and his family, who live in Portland, Oregon, are coming this summer to visit that week and see the festival.
11. ANY OTHER ORGANIZATIONS THAT YOU’RE A PART OF THAT YOU ENJOY AND WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT?
I am President of the Board at “Impact” in Milwaukee. They run the “211 program.” People can call that number when they are “down and out” and don’t know where to turn. The counselors recommend places to go and appropriate services. They work with everyone from the homeless to a family worried about their child’s addiction problem. The testimonials that we get back are enough to tear your heart out.
12. BACK TO MCT: WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE PEOPLE IN THE AREA TO KNOW ABOUT THIS THEATRE COMPANY WHO MAY NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH IT?
Come and see us, because I believe if you do, you will come again. You will almost assuredly enjoy yourself and realize on the way home that it was worth your time to come and see a Chamber Theatre performance. It’s entertainment, for sure; sometimes it’s humorous and just for some fun and sometimes it’s a more serious production. I know from personal experience that people my wife and I have invited to a show have returned on a regular basis, even some folks who were hesitant at first. I think that’s a big part of our success, inviting friends and colleagues who eventually get hooked!