Gig&Tell: Fireside Dinner Theatre

  • Would Return In A Second    
    08/09/2012  10:14pm

    Everything about working for this theatre was amazing. The cast was off the wall talented, not to mention the director Ed Flesch has an amazing judge of character and really puts together a drama-free workplace. The stage manager is literally the perfect SM and the crew is always on it. The owners of the theatre are wonderful and warm people. The food is delicious and you get to eat it 3 times a week. The housing is pretty great too, and everything is in walking distance (or you can rent a car for a cheap flat fee for the time you're there). Eq and non eq are treated the same. 3 days off a WEEK! Fort Atkinson is a charming town and though it seems like there is nothing to do our cast always had a blast. I would (and plan to) return ASAP!!

    DO NOT work here if you have any standards of the quality of life of an Actor outside of the theater itself.

    Ed Flesch = #METOO

    He is a misogynist, he is a homophobe and a pig. He invited me to drinks several times alone and made me feel very uncomfortable.
    He wanted to discuss my future as a leading lady.

    He seemingly has a type, thin girls with long blonde hair especially curly.

    During auditions in NYC, he is very nice and complementary. As soon as you step off the plane, he greets you and you enter into his world which is the only world that matters in his view.

    For many years there have been rumors of Ed, but due to inconsistent reporting to AEA, it goes unchecked and continues to happen.

    Just because he is an old, lonely man does not make it "okay" as many have said, "he doesn't mean anything by it or he cant help it"

    Also, Quality of life in Fort Atkinson is reprehensible. It is a very depressing place to be.

    I strongly disagree with the positive posts below. Yes, every contract is what you make of it but not when you are involved in #METOO situations.

    For anyone who isn't aware, the shows are fully tracked. There is no live instrumentation.

    07/19/2018  3:25pm

    I worked at the Fireside within this past year and quite honestly, it was one of the most incredible experiences. I have never been treated so well by a theatre. We are shown so much kindness and care by the Ed, the Klopcics (the people who own the theatre), and the entire staff/creative team. And as a young woman, I have to say that I have never been treated with anything but respect and kindness from Ed.

    The shows that the theatre put up are truly beautiful, the pay is amazing, and the audiences love the shows! I've worked at many equity houses in my career so far, and the Fireside has been one of my favorites.

    The cast houses are super spacious and well kept, and close to the theatre. And Ed has a really good eye for putting together good groups of good, kind people. Sure, fort atkinson is a really small town and has the potential to be boring, but with a good cast, you can make anything fun!

    I'm sure a few people have had bad experiences at this theatre, as people do at most. But I would for sure go back to this place in a heartbeat.

    08/10/2018  10:57pm
  • 04/20/2013  9:59am

    Okay...here's the deal. While the Fireside pays pretty well for a regional gig, there are NO PERKS included. No company car, no gym membership, no per diem. Yes you get to eat the buffet a few times a week but the 'meals' provided on the days you aren't allowed to eat the buffet are a few cold cuts and white bread left in the green room. Plus, the buffet is a bunch of stuff laced with butter and not the healthiest of choices.

    I found it frustrating to be 'stuck' with nothing to do and no where to go. I was at the mercy of the once-a-week van rides to do grocery shopping and laundry - because there is no laundry in either cast house.

    Not the worst, but definitely have been treated better at other theaters. I was also disappointed with the production value of the shows. Surprised, actually. Consider these factors before accepting a gig there.

    DO NOT work here if you have any standards of the quality of life of an Actor outside of the theater itself.

    Ed Flesch = #METOO

    He is a misogynist, he is a homophobe and a pig. He invited me to drinks several times alone and made me feel very uncomfortable.
    He wanted to discuss my future as a leading lady.

    He seemingly has a type, thin girls with long blonde hair especially curly.

    During auditions in NYC, he is very nice and complementary. As soon as you step off the plane, he greets you and you enter into his world which is the only world that matters in his view.

    For many years there have been rumors of Ed, but due to inconsistent reporting to AEA, it goes unchecked and continues to happen.

    Just because he is an old, lonely man does not make it "okay" as many have said, "he doesn't mean anything by it or he cant help it"

    Also, Quality of life in Fort Atkinson is reprehensible. It is a very depressing place to be.

    I strongly disagree with the positive posts below. Yes, every contract is what you make of it but not when you are involved in #METOO situations.

    For anyone who isn't aware, the shows are fully tracked. There is no live instrumentation.

    07/19/2018  3:25pm
  • Amazing!!!    
    11/24/2015  10:39pm

    I LOOOVED working here so much, I would come back in a heartbeat. They put on seriously amazing shows, you get a really nice paycheck, and Wisconsin has a lot more to do than you would expect. The food is delicious... But beware of the "Fireside fifteen" the buffet food they give you is basically butter. Just butter everything. So make sure you get your ass to the gym on your days off ;)

    Hi guys. Don’t work here. The resident director Ed Flesch is on the #metoo list. And he’s also racist. Equity has been told many, many times for YEARS and has promised to look into it and never has. Much love to you all. If you’re a 20-30s girl, don’t work here.

    01/23/2018  3:11pm

    DO NOT work here if you have any standards of the quality of life of an Actor outside of the theater itself.

    Ed Flesch = #METOO

    He is a misogynist, he is a homophobe and a pig. He invited me to drinks several times alone and made me feel very uncomfortable.
    He wanted to discuss my future as a leading lady.

    He seemingly has a type, thin girls with long blonde hair especially curly.

    During auditions in NYC, he is very nice and complementary. As soon as you step off the plane, he greets you and you enter into his world which is the only world that matters in his view.

    For many years there have been rumors of Ed, but due to inconsistent reporting to AEA, it goes unchecked and continues to happen.

    Just because he is an old, lonely man does not make it "okay" as many have said, "he doesn't mean anything by it or he cant help it"

    Also, Quality of life in Fort Atkinson is reprehensible. It is a very depressing place to be.

    I strongly disagree with the positive posts below. Yes, every contract is what you make of it but not when you are involved in #METOO situations.

    For anyone who isn't aware, the shows are fully tracked. There is no live instrumentation.

    07/19/2018  3:25pm
  •    
    02/19/2018  3:21pm

    I had a fantastic experience at the Fireside and would highly recommend working here if you get the chance.

    The owners, staff, and creative team are all incredibly nice, very professional, and easy to work with. Additionally, Ed (the artistic director) promptly and professionally responded to an issue with a cast member who had been harassing the rest of the cast and crew.

    The performance schedule is a little odd but good. You end up with a lot of two show days, but as a result you get more dark days. It’s a seven show week with the possibility of one or two additional shows if the show is popular (which the Christmas show always seems to be).

    The restaurant feeds you three times a week: the dinner buffet on Thursday, cold cuts on Saturday (which tend to last through Sunday), and the brunch buffet on Sunday. There’s a lot of fried and buttery food on the buffet, but at the end of the day, free is free. The houses have great kitchens to cook in anyway.

    Fort Atkinson is a nice little town with a few interesting spots to explore (and the drinks are small-town CHEAP). You tend to be pretty recognizable as one of the Fireside actors, which means a tiny bit of local celebrity. There’s a great grocery store, a 24-hour gym, a CrossFit gym, and two cute coffee shops within a 10-15 minute walk from the housing. There’s a coin-op laundromat 10 minutes in the other direction. Twice a week, the company van does grocery and laundry runs, but they’re easily walkable any time. The van also takes you to the theater and back, or you can take the easy 15-20 minute walk there instead if the weather is nice.

    That said, it’s easy to fall into the “there’s nothing to do here” trap. If you have a contract goal or a long book you’ve been meaning to read, bring it along to pass the hours. Otherwise, the gym is a great time killer.

    There is no company car, so bring one if you can or make friends with the local hires. Milwaukee and Madison are about an hour away, and Chicago is two hours away. Cast members frequently went out of town to audition and adventure on their days off. There’s a Ford dealership in town that occasionally has cars to rent, and there are a few car rental places in Janesville (20-30 minutes away, if you can hitch a ride). Ubers are nearly non-existent, but there is a Brown Cab service that can take you certain places.

    The only somewhat rough patch might be the first two weeks of rehearsal. You cross over with the previous cast, so you’ll be living out of the Holiday Inn Express until they close their show and move out of the cast housing. There’s a free hotel breakfast in the mornings, but otherwise you’re left to the microwave and fridge in your hotel room plus a few walkable fast food joints (and a surprisingly good Chinese place). There is a grocery store a short walk away. The hotel staff are very accommodating to the Fireside actors. There used to be a gym near the hotel as well, but it recently closed. There are still a few treadmills and a swimming pool in the hotel itself.

    Overall, I would go back again in a heartbeat. :)

    DO NOT work here if you have any standards of the quality of life of an Actor outside of the theater itself.

    Ed Flesch = #METOO

    He is a misogynist, he is a homophobe and a pig. He invited me to drinks several times alone and made me feel very uncomfortable.
    He wanted to discuss my future as a leading lady.

    He seemingly has a type, thin girls with long blonde hair especially curly.

    During auditions in NYC, he is very nice and complementary. As soon as you step off the plane, he greets you and you enter into his world which is the only world that matters in his view.

    For many years there have been rumors of Ed, but due to inconsistent reporting to AEA, it goes unchecked and continues to happen.

    Just because he is an old, lonely man does not make it "okay" as many have said, "he doesn't mean anything by it or he cant help it"

    Also, Quality of life in Fort Atkinson is reprehensible. It is a very depressing place to be.

    I strongly disagree with the positive posts below. Yes, every contract is what you make of it but not when you are involved in #METOO situations.

    For anyone who isn't aware, the shows are fully tracked. There is no live instrumentation.

    07/19/2018  3:24pm
  • #MeToo    
    01/23/2018  3:16pm

    Hi guys. Don’t work here. The resident director Ed Flesch is on the #metoo list. And he’s also racist. Equity has been told many, many times for YEARS and has promised to look into it and never has. Much love to you all. If you’re a 20-30s girl, don’t work here.

    Where can we find the #metoo list?

    02/21/2018  5:17pm

    Does anyone have contact info for the creative team of this theater?

    03/10/2018  1:53pm

    Ed Flesch is attuned to the fact that his audience of numerous elderly patrons appreciates triple-talents with pretty faces - be they male or female and he will consider looks when casting his actors while integrating all races and backgrounds in his productions. This response sounds like it is from someone that has perhaps never worked here nor been a part of the appreciative and well-paying company that provides what they can in a small town on site as well as a wonderful, family atmosphere created at "Broadway in a Wisconsin cornfield". Oftentimes cast and crew have their own vehicles and quickly decide with others to organize outings on days off to the big cities nearby like Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago without being cliquey.

    03/19/2018  6:21pm

    DO NOT work here if you have any standards of the quality of life of an Actor outside of the theater itself.

    Ed Flesch = #METOO

    He is a misogynist, he is a homophobe and a pig. He invited me to drinks several times alone and made me feel very uncomfortable.
    He wanted to discuss my future as a leading lady.

    He seemingly has a type, thin girls with long blonde hair especially curly.

    During auditions in NYC, he is very nice and complementary. As soon as you step off the plane, he greets you and you enter into his world which is the only world that matters in his view.

    For many years there have been rumors of Ed, but due to inconsistent reporting to AEA, it goes unchecked and continues to happen.

    Just because he is an old, lonely man does not make it "okay" as many have said, "he doesn't mean anything by it or he cant help it"

    Also, Quality of life in Fort Atkinson is reprehensible. It is a very depressing place to be.

    I strongly disagree with the positive posts below. Yes, every contract is what you make of it but not when you are involved in #METOO situations.

    For anyone who isn't aware, the shows are fully tracked. There is no live instrumentation.

    07/19/2018  3:23pm
  • yesyesyes. 08/01/2012  10:18am

    i spent a splendid ten weeks at the fireside!

    some bullet points:

    - 40 minute drive to madison, 1 hour to milwaukee
    - meals provided three days of the week (and all the cupcakes and sweets you could ever want, lovingly made by the most awesome crew ever, lol)
    - put up in a holiday inn express for most of the rehearsal period (if there is a crossover)
    - you get your own room in one of two cast houses
    - no cast car, but if you so choose, you can go to the local rent-a-wreck; $750 for two months
    - van shuttles to the theatre, but on days with nice weather, it's a rather pleasant walk to work
    - fort atkinson is quite charming. :]

    if you get an opportunity to work here, take it!

    I've worked here several times, and am about to go back soon. The Fireside is a very good theater, so audition for it whenever they're in town (and you're right for one of the shows). This place truly has a family atmosphere.

    Other pro's:
    1) The crew here is small, but mighty! The resident stage manager is a professional and personal delight. The diligent crew really makes the shows possible in this intimate space.
    2) The audiences love the shows; most of them have been coming faithfully for years.
    3) Good production values
    4) The AD rehires people rather frequently. If you get a contract and show that you are reliable, professional and an all-around good/sane person, he will very likely rehire you.
    5) As an actor, you definitely feel appreciated. The audiences will tell you that they enjoyed the show, and even the owners (the Klopcics, a sweet family) make you feel welcome and appreciated.
    6) Although you're away from NY for a couple months, there are other audition opportunities nearby. Milwaukee (an hour east) has some great theaters that you can audition for. Chicago is three hours south, so it's still close enough to go audition on your days off.


    Cons:
    1) There isn't much to do in Fort Atkinson. A library, some coffee shops, a gym, some cute shops, several restaurants & bars are the main offerings. The town is charming, but it's in the middle of farming country. The closest movie theaters are at least 15 minutes away in another town.

    08/04/2012  3:54am

    I hate to ask, but what's the pay like? Can you give a range for non-eq players? Their casting notices say "professional pay" which we know could mean anything =P

    10/14/2012  9:33am

    I would also love to know the pay rate for non-equity, if anyone can shed some light on that!

    11/07/2012  7:14pm

    Non-eq pay in the region of $600 a week for performances, around $400 for rehearsals but might depend on roles

    11/15/2012  6:47pm

    Question. With no cast car, how do you run errands and get groceries etc??

    12/09/2012  10:47am

    Where did you find the cheap rental car? I will be there Feb-April and need a car. The cheapest I've found is over $2000.
    I hope you can help.
    Thanks

    11/30/2013  3:56pm

    Only did 1 show at fireside but it was an unforgettable experience. Wonderfuly supportive cast and the crew made you job so easy. Ed has built a great reputation for putting on top-notch shows and if you are creative and inventive enough there is plenty to keep you occupied on your down time. I hope to work there again soon. So should you

    12/02/2013  12:58pm