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Volunteer Spotlight: Gretchen Wolfmeyer

Gretchen Wolfmeyer is an Office Administrator and cantor at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church who moved to Quincy in 2011 with her husband, Randy, and her children, Thalia & Conall. Originally from Mayville, WI, Gretchen grew up doing shows with Beaver Dam Community Theatre and the Marais Players in her hometown. After her Kindergarten debut as the Mean Old Troll in The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Gretchen went on to play another great villain role as Mrs. Lovett in QCT’s Sweeney Todd for which she won a QUILTA. She was recently awarded The Executive Director’s Award for her many years of volunteerism on stage and backstage at QCT and for her contributions to the QCT community in 2023. When not at the theatre, you can find her drinking coffee, snuggling her cats, or dressing up as wild Shakespearean characters with the Square Peg Group Troupe.

How did you first get involved with QCT? 

In July 2013, my daughter, Thalia took a week-long class with (then Education Director) Brandon which culminated in a performance in the Lab. She was cast as Sheep #1 in The Boy Who Cried Wolf . It was a great experience and we enjoyed the class production.

Gretchen’s daughter Thalia second from the left

What was your first show? Describe the experience.

My first QCT show wasn’t until three years later when my family, work, and volunteer schedules (along with my courage) opened up enough for me to audition. Sister Act in 2016 was an incredible first-show experience. We had a wonderful, diverse cast and I made friends of all ages, from 16 to 79! We worked with two guest artists, Nina Waters and Nik Whitcomb, and I’ve been lucky enough to follow their careers ever since.

What is your favorite memory working on a QCT production? 

After 11 shows onstage and even more behind the scenes, it would be hard to pick just one. I have seen so many community members band together against all odds to create great theatre! 

I am forever thankful to percussionist, Steve Atchison for pre-setting Sweeney Todd’s razors for me when a delay meant that I couldn’t do it. He saved that final performance!

I am grateful that I’ve been involved in six shows with my entire family — Harriet the Spy, Witches, Bye Bye Birdie, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Beauty and the Beast, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Each time it happens, it feels like a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. I’ll continue to “Count my Blessings Instead of Sheep”!

Two actors performing in Sweeny Todd. A woman stands holding a tray of baked goods, while a man sits with a cup of tea in his hands.
Gretchen Wolfmeyer as Mrs. Lovett in QCT’s 2017 production of SWEENEY TODD alongside J. E. Frohn as Sweeney Todd
A child looks over the shoulder of a young woman, both reading from from the same book. An older woman stands behind them
Gretchen Wolfmeyer as The Cook in QCT’s 2017 production of HARRIET THE SPY with Natalie Clark as Ole Golly and Lily Twaddle as Harriet

This is your second show stage managing in six months. What do you like about stage managing?

I love theatre and creating theatre. As a stage manager, you get to help make a show great each step of the way from casting the show to rehearsals to the performances to striking the set. If you do your job well, the general public doesn’t even know you exist. And yet your workload is immense! You are the communication hub, safety manager, and showrunner. You are everyone’s Stage Momager, cheerleader, and problem solver. It is hard work and a very rewarding way to volunteer your time. 

Do you prefer performing on stage or working behind the scenes? Why?

I love performing, but working behind the scenes balances out my life and keeps me humble. I believe that God puts me where he wants and needs me. And I’m always able to learn from the experience.

What are you looking forward to in the 2024 season?

First, I’m looking forward to audiences seeing QCT’s production of Matilda. It is one of my favorite musicals of all time and has a wonderful message for all ages. I hope that what we’ve created will resonate with audiences.

After that, I’m looking forward to using my season tickets for Shakespeare in Love and auditioning for Newsies.

What would you say to encourage someone else to get involved at QCT?

If you are looking for a fulfilling volunteer experience, please come and volunteer at QCT. If you can spare 30 minutes or a few hours, there is a job for you! Would you like to work alongside your kids and teach them how to give back to their community? Teamwork, leadership, and communication are the skills you can learn at QCT for free. Are you newly retired and unsure how to fill your time? Stop by or call the QCT office to find out more. There is a job for you that will keep you active and young at heart. 

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