Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts Artistic Director, Scott Michaels, celebrates 25 years as a leader and legacy builder of the Wagon Wheel family.

Theatre = Family

The magic of theatre, the magic of Wagon Wheel, is its ability to create a family.  The family culture created at the Wagon Wheel started more than 65 years ago, but the legacy of this family has been honored and strengthened by our current Artistic Director, Scott Michaels.

Scott with Lakesha Green, Executive Director, and the cast of Rocky Horror, 2021.

For those who don’t know Scott’s history with our theatre, here is a snapshot of the past 25 years.

Scott first joined the Wagon Wheel as a performer and the choreographer for the 1996 Summer Season. At this time, the Wagon Wheel operated theatre programming only in the summer and December.

Scott would return each season for the next 15 years, working alongside Roy Hine as a performer, choreographer, and assistant director. Tragedy struck the Wagon Wheel family in December 2007 when Roy Hine passed away in the middle of production for Cinderella. Even while grieving the loss of a mentor and friend, Scott led the team through production. That holiday, Scott asked to remain on as Artistic Director in memory of Roy and because of his love for the Wagon Wheel family, becoming the Artistic Director in 2008.

A New Chapter, the Family Grows!

Around this time, community members began to formalize plans for the Wagon Wheel to become a nonprofit. The Wagon Wheel became a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 2010 and a vision was cast to expand programming. In 2011, Scott and Jen moved permanently to Warsaw. They lived with their gracious host family, The Howards, until their new build was finished.

Over the next 10 years, Scott would lead the Wagon Wheel to expand programming to include Wagon Wheel Jr, Wagon Wheel Professional Theatre’s Encore Show, and now the Wagon Wheel Conservatory. These additional programs and performances enable our Wagon Wheel family to grow, giving more than 200 youth a year the opportunity to perform and learn and employ more professional actors throughout the year.

Under Scott’s leadership, the Professional Theatre has seen tremendous advancement in artistic quality and national reputation. This is due to Scott’s relationship building with the top musical theatre programs in the nation and his natural ability to take hold of a vision and make it possible.

But most of all Scott brings to this team, to this family, dedication and artistic excellence that inspires us all.

As we celebrate the Wagon Wheel’s 65th Summer season, we also celebrate Scott’s 25th year as a member of this family. A family he has helped mold, grow, and inspire. On behalf of the board, donors, and our entire community, Thank you Scott for 25 years of Artistic Excellence to the Wagon Wheel, to your family.

From your family, Scott, thank you.