About

Mission

Inspire. Create. Achieve. Entertain.”
for generations to come.

The Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts mission is alive and vibrant.

We’re serving the greater community by providing premier arts and cultural experiences that inspire and empower creativity, learning, and achievement for generations to come. Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts showcases some the best talent in the country, producing Broadway-quality shows—off Broadway in Warsaw, Indiana.

Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts is home to Symphony of the Lakes, Wagon Wheel Jr. and Center Street Community Theatre.

Board of Directors

President – John Hand
Vice President – Jill Serbousek
Secretary – Alyssa Lowe
Treasurer – Kristin Mason

Adam Turner
Jennifer Shepherd
Bruce Shaffner
Jeanne Phipps
Diane McGarvey
Martha Stouder
Carol Lyn Jansen
Cary Schlotterback
David Hoffert
Jim Griest
Deb Bishop
Terry White

Administrative Staff

Jay Michaels

Executive Director/Marketing Director

Bio

The Wagon Wheel has always been a special place for Jay because he met his wife at a Rascal Flatts concert here at the theatre!  Jay brings over 20 years of radio management and event planning to the Wagon Wheel!  He says, “I am excited to be a part of the team here at the Wagon Wheel!  There is so much history here and I hope I can do my part to add to the legacy!”

Holly Lantz

Chief Operations Officer

Bio

Coming from a Performing Arts background, Holly is thrilled to be working with Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts as Chief Operating Officer. She combines her creative, financial and operational skills to help guide the future of Wagon Wheel.

Julie Parke

Development Director

Bio

Julie is the Development Director and also oversees the Visual Arts program. She grew up in Warsaw and brings to the Wagon Wheel over 25 years of leadership experience in arts and culture.

Kris Underwood

Box Office Manager

Bio

Kris oversees the ticket office and manages the front of house and staff. Kris joined the Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts in 2016 and enjoys working with the season ticket holders and event attendees. He has enjoyed attending events at the Wagon Wheel since his youth.

Creative Staff

Tom Stirling

Music Director

Bio

Jennifer Dow

Creative Team

Bio

Scott Michaels

Artistic Director

Bio

Jacki Andersen

Technical Director

Bio

Chris Pollnow

Sound Designer

Bio

History

Herbert Petrie was well known in the Warsaw area, spending most of his life in both the educational and performance sides of show business. During World War II, Major Petrie attended performances at the Penthouse Theatre in Fort Lawton, Washington, the country’s first theatre-in-the-round. When he returned to Warsaw, he remained so interested in the idea that he was determined to recreate the experience here in his hometown.

It all came together in 1955. The actual facility was a tent with a gravel floor, canvas chairs, an old chicken coop that served as the shop where they would build the sets and costumes, and also an area for dressing rooms. The “orchestra” consisted of Vernon Rector playing the Hammond organ.

Around 1961 a theatre building was built on the property. With its wooden shuttered windows and steel roof, the occasional thunderstorm would compete with the onstage performance.

It was a brand new experience: theatre-in-the-round! Audiences so close to the action onstage that they were practically a part of the show. It was the magic of live theatre in Warsaw, Indiana, and somehow it all worked.

More than 60 years later, audiences continue raving about the unique and intimate theatre-in-the-round setting.