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 – Deb Bishop
Vice President – Adam Turner
Secretary – Alyssa Lowe
Treasurer – Kristin Mason

Jennifer Shepherd
Jeanne Phipps
Martha Stouder
Cary Schlotterback
David Hoffert
Jim Griest
Terry White
Joni Truex
Emily Kosnik
John Hand

Administrative Staff

Jay Michaels

Executive Director


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 Operating Officer


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.

Elisa Wise

Development Director

Kris Underwood

Director of Marketing


Kris joined the Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts in 2016 and enjoys working with our marketing partners to get the word out on the great events we are able to have each year at the theatre. He has enjoyed attending events at the Wagon Wheel since his youth.

Steffanie Hupp

Box Office Manager


Creative Staff

Tom Stirling

Music Director


Jennifer Dow

Creative Team


Scott Michaels

Artistic Director


Jacki Andersen

Technical Director


Chris Pollnow

Sound Designer



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.