The Wagon Wheel has had a philosophy since our beginning in 1955, “we’re a family.” No matter if you call the Wagon Wheel your permanent professional home or have only been in one show, once you are a part of this family you remain a part of it.
No matter the distance. No matter the time.
Mickey Fisher is one of our many Wagon Wheel family members that has stayed in touch over the years. Mickey first became involved with the Wagon Wheel is 1995 when Tom Roland, Artistic Director at the time, came to The University of Cincinnati – College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) to audition actors for the summer season. Mickey was cast for his first summer that year, along with current Artistic Director, Scott Michaels. “I fell in love with the town and the people at the theatre, and every summer after that I just kept hoping Tom (and then Roy Hine) would hire me back.”
You may remember Mickey from any number of roles he held at the Wagon Wheel including Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat (1996), God in Children of Eden (1999), Teen Angel in Grease (1999), Marcellus in Music Man (2001), and Daddy Warbucks in Annie (2003).
But for Mickey, his most memorable season at the Wagon Wheel was the summer of 1998. After being cast by Roy Hine for the season he asked who else was in the cast. Roy told him about these twins that Mickey was sure to love. “I fell in love with one of them and Julie Cardia and I are still together twenty years later!” Mickey and Julie are now full time residents in California where Mickey continues his writing career.
Many of our actors have hidden talents we don’t see on stage. Mickey’s was his writing. Even before coming to the Wagon Wheel, Mickey wrote scripts, short plays, and screenplays. After the summer of 95′, he moved to Chicago where he finished his first full length screenplay. “Eventually, I realized I was a better writer than an actor and I made the journey to Los Angeles to try to break in as a writer.” In 2013 Mickey sold his first television show, EXTANT, which starred Halle Berry and had Steven Spielberg as the executive producer. He’s been working as a writer ever since on shows produced by Ron Howard and Guillermo Del Toro among others.
Though Mickey is now miles from Warsaw, IN he still finds his own way of staying connected to the Wagon Wheel family. Mickey was the first major donor and sponsor to the Wagon Wheel Jr. program when it officially launched in 2012. When asked why he gives to this program, Mickey said, “I love that Scott and company are passing on their love (of performing arts) to this whole new generation and wanted to help support that as much as possible.” Mickey is inspired to give to the Wagon Wheel Jr. program because he knows how big of an impact being a part of a professionally run show makes on kids’ lives. “It affects so much, from fostering creativity to building self-esteem, to working as part of a group.” Without family members like Mickey, the impact youth receive from the Wagon Wheel Jr. programming wouldn’t be possible.
No matter the distance, no matter the time, every actor, musician, stage hand, patron, and donor that comes to the Wagon Wheel becomes family and leaves a little of themselves behind when they go. “Unfortunately, I don’t make it back to Warsaw all that often, but I think of that place and the people I met there all the time. It’s such a special place and I’m so thankful for the people who are continuing that great tradition. They have been, and will always be, family.”