Memorial Opera House (MOH) offers the finest quality theatre in northwest Indiana…often compared to Chicago level production quality. In large part, it is due to a world-class staff that has worked together for years. The more time they spend together, the better quality of the productions that are offered.
“We all have various backgrounds in the theater, design and education,” said Scot MacDonald, MOH Executive Director “Myself, along with Scott ‘Stretch’ Miller (Technical Director) and Natalie Klobuchar (Administrative Coordinator), all came from part-time staff about 10 years ago.”
The longevity of the team demonstrates their dedication to the Opera House and the performing arts.
“I started out as the Box Office Manager, became the Artistic Director in 2013, and then the Executive Director in 2016,” said MacDonald. “Stretch and Natalie also started out as part-time employees only working events or a couple of hours a week as needed. As the need grew, we got busier and they both became full-time employees.”
Supplementing the full-time leadership team are four part-time staff members including Bobbie Sue Kvachkoff (Artistic Director), Vicki Zimmerman (Production Manager), Christina Pals (Costume Shop Manager) and Rae Smedley (Box Office Manager).
“I would call them essential part-time,” said MacDonald. “Our core group works very closely together. We try to make it as easy as possible for someone who is directing a show to come in and pick up and be able to provide a consistent product across the board.”
The real magic happens the day of the show.
“The work really kind of begins that morning,” MacDonald said. “If Christina is costuming a show or helping a designer, she'll be in early to make sure that costumes are all pressed and mended. Some shows are rougher on costumes and wigs so Christina and her team of volunteers will come in early to make sure they ready to go.”
While the backstage process always feels stressful, the directors and actors love working at the Memorial Opera House.
The shows require intricate work from all the staff including Klobuchar coordinating administrative activities, Stretch doing sound checks, Zimmerman-Gleason monitoring for safety or Smedley responding to last minute questions and ticketing requests from patrons.
“Bobbie and I just kind of oversee all the other moving parts throughout the day,” said MacDonald. “If there's something that needs to be resolved with an actor or director, we will call them in and say hey, let's talk this through.”
“And so that's really during the day so that at night, when we do have the performance, it's a really well-oiled machine and we can all step back and say this is how the magic works,” MacDonald said. “Work is enjoyable when everyone knows what they are doing but being aware of your coworker’s needs is where a job becomes truly fun.”
“The Memorial Opera House was built in 1893 as a living memorial to our civil war veterans and a dedicated public gathering space,” said Blaney. “Scot has assembled an incredible team of talented individuals that have brought new life into the Opera House and continues to keep our forefathers' vision viable now and into the future.”
To learn more about the Memorial Opera House and its upcoming events visit: https://memorialoperahouse.com/