Spring musical is Krebs’ Lakeland farewell
“Forever, and forever, farewell, Cassius! If we do meet again, why, we shall smile; If not, why then this parting was well made.” – From Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”
Charlie Krebs has been a big, bright presence during his 15 years at Lakeland University. What better way to finish his tenure as a faculty member and theatre director than to stage a big, bright musical like “Once Upon a Mattress.”
“It’s a big show,” said Krebs, who is retiring from his role at Lakeland following this school year. “The music is lively and contagious; the dancing is dramatic and fun; and the costumes are historic and fancy. The cast brings incredible talent to the stage, and our pit is bold and enthusiastic.”
“Once Upon a Mattress” is based on the fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea” with a comical twist. Queen Agravain does everything she can to sabotage all the potential princesses who hope to marry Prince Dauntless, but she didn’t count on Winnifred, the princess of the swamp, taking the kingdom by such storm.
Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday March 31, April 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 3, at 2 p.m. Purchase tickets online at Lakeland.edu/tickets.
Krebs, who is closing out a distinguished 40-plus year career in theatre, came to Lakeland in 2007 after serving a similar role at UW-Sheboygan. In his 15 years at Lakeland, he has directed almost 30 productions from classic plays to expansive musicals to dramas he wrote himself.
“This is bittersweet for me,” Krebs said. “I ‘m happy to see that my theatre career will have a great finale. I’m happy I’ve had so many incredible students to teach and direct over the years. I’m happy about my next career as a motivational speaker in Pittsburgh and living closer to my family, but I am quite sad to say goodbye.
“Truthfully, I’m glad I’m sad because it speaks to how important Lakeland is to me. It has been my home and the greatest chapter of my life. I’m glad I will cry when I drive over the bridge for the last time.”
The “Once Upon a Mattress” cast includes current Lakeland students and several Lakeland graduates who were asked to return to celebrate Krebs’ finale. Among them are Becky Charbonneau ’00, Brian Charbonneau ’03, Shqipron Qunaj ’11, Elizabeth Plotka-Heinen ’15, Holly Green ’12, Dylan Zastrow ’21 and Zach Mock ’19.
The set is an elaborate castle being built by an expanded Stagecraft class, a course that has been a favorite of students during Krebs’ Lakeland tenure.
Krebs earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in directing from Southern Illinois University in 2000 after completing his master’s in acting from the University of New Orleans in 1983 and his bachelor's in scenic and lighting design from the State University of New York in 1977.
During his time at Lakeland, he has taught acting, public speaking, interpersonal communication and set construction and he managed The Bradley Theatre. He plans to move to Pittsburgh where he will continue his work as a motivational speaker.