Wagon Wheel Theatre Alum Now Writer, Executive Producer of CBS' EXTANT
Where are they now? Summer after summer, the Wagon Wheel Theatre hosts some of the brightest, rising stars in the country. The question is more aptly asked, "Where aren't they now"? After nearly sixty years, Wagon Wheel Theatre alum boast multiple Tony Awards, film credits, starring roles in television and on Broadway, and now one of Wagon Wheel Theatre's own teams with Steven Spielberg in the 2014 sci-fi, drama EXTANT.
Mickey Fisher, Writer and Executive Producer of the show airing this summer on CBS, made his Wagon Wheel Theatre debut in 1995 as "Old Joe" in Damn Yankees. That year, the Wagon Wheel held theatrical auditions at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, where Fisher was finishing up his senior year in the Fine Arts program. Former Wagon Wheel Theatre Artistic Director, Tom Roland cast Mickey for the summer and over the course of sixteen years he made appearances as an actor and director. While there was no denying Fisher's talent on the stage, his passion for writing would supersede his prowess as a performer.
"When I was at CCM I would write monologues for audition pieces that other people would use to perform," says Fisher. "Watching someone perform a piece that you have written is a unique experience and really altogether different from acting. There's something really fulfilling about it."
EXTANT begins its thirteen week run in July of 2014 and stars Halle Berry. While the show plot is shrouded in mystery, Berry's character is an astronaut returning to Earth, whose experience in space "will change the course of human history," much different material than Fisher's days at the Wagon Wheel.
In 2012, The Wagon Wheel Theatre launched the Wagon Wheel Junior program based on the success of the summer theatre workshops. That idea began back in 1996, when Fisher approached then Artistic Director, Roy Hine. Fisher says, "I saw that there really wasn't anything going on like that at the time and I pitched the idea to Roy as a way to make a little bit of extra money, but it was bigger than I expected it to be. The kids were really talented!"
Now, a star in his own right, Fisher's desire is to give back to the theatre which he says gave him so much. "The Wagon Wheel is such a special place. It gave me my girlfriend of 16 years, I got my first equity card there, my first professional directing job, I got to do the kids program...So many of my closest friends today were made there. Warsaw is a second home. I love the town so much. It really became half my heart."
Fisher donated $5,000 to sponsor the upcoming Wagon Wheel Junior show, "Princess Whatsername", taking place at the Wagon Wheel Theatre February 1st and 2nd at 2pm. The show is directed and Staged by Wagon Wheel Theatre Artistic Director, Scott Michaels who worked with Fisher over the course of nearly 20 years.
"We are so happy for Mickey and not surprised in the least. Mickey is incredibly talented and we are just thankful to him for sponsoring this show and the program that really, he started. I would encourage everyone to come out and see how talented these students are and who knows, maybe one of them is the next Mickey Fisher."
About the show: Princess Whatsername begins in the Misty Forest, where a girl is sleeping all alone. But when she wakes, nothing looks familiar to her. She can't remember anything - not where she's from, how she got here or even her own name! She embarks on a journey to discover her identity and meets several fairy-tale characters along the way - Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Cinderella and Rapunzel to name a few. Some are helpful, some are dangerous and some are just plain weird, but all have information to help our young girl eventually realize her true identity as a princess. As with any good fairy tale, there's also a prince! He's desperate to find the princess, but he's always one step behind and inadvertently rescues and wins the hearts of all the wrong princesses! A rocking musical score adds even more fun to new takes on the stories everyone loves.