Gig&Tell: Fireside Dinner Theatre

  • 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 ;)

  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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!!