Next Story in this issue
News & Notices
Enter Now for Awards
News From:
Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

Michael Mehler, new USITT Vice-President for Programming, takes a moment out from helping shepherd sessions through the approval process to enjoy the fountain made famous by WRKP in Cincinnati. Fountain Square is just steps from the Conference hotels which will be used when USITT visits the Queen City in March of 2009.

Photo/Barbara E.R. Lucas


Officer Profile:
Michael Mehler

Barbara E.R. Lucas
Sightlines Editor

While Michael Mehler may be USITT's new Vice President for Programming, Mr. Mehler has a long history with the organization and the Conference Committee, on which he has served for more than 10 years.

Mr. Mehler, who took office July 1, says that part of the reason he may be perceived as being young for the job is that one of his first major assignments was as the Conference Student Volunteer Coordinator in 1997 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when he was at times mistaken for a student.

Since then, Mr. Mehler has assisted in producing the Conference as a troubleshooter, assistant Programming Coordinator and then, for the past three years, as Programming Coordinator. It seemed a logical step to the officer position, he said, and proves that hard and consistent work as a volunteer lead, almost inevitably, to a job in leadership.

As VP Programming, Mr. Mehler is responsible for the tracking and scheduling of Conference sessions, including special session presenters and the various needs and issues which can arise from presenting more than 200 individual events that require everything from Visqueen to animal wranglers. Mr. Mehler also serves on the USITT Executive Committee and has been a member of the Board of Directors, and the Southeast and Ohio Valley sections.

When he is not volunteering for USITT, Mr. Mehler is settling into his new position with Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania which has a new theatre and video production facility, the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts, coming online in January. Mr. Mehler became Allegheny's faculty designer in August.

Previously, he was on the faculty of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and before that was a teaching fellow at the University of Pittsburgh while studying for his doctorate in theatre history. He plans to defend his dissertation this fall.

Mr. Mehler said that one of the things he enjoys most about USITT is the camaraderie and the networking, how it allows members to meet new people and find out what is new or interesting. "That's especially important for people that work in small or isolated communities," he noted.

He also finds connections at ATHE, where he is USITT liaison. and a former Focus Group Representative (equivalent to a USITT Commissioner) for design and technology. For ATHE's 2008 Conference he presented a session about assessment of student production work.

There is a strong family connection to performance as well. Mr. Mehler's brother Jack is a freelance lighting and scenic designer and his sister-in-law Marquerite is stage manager for New York City Ballet.

Mr. Mehler and his wife, Sara (a pediatric intensive care nurse) have a two-year-old son, Joshua, who keeps them extremely busy as well.

With all that fills his life, some people wonder how Mr. Mehler can seem to remain so calm. One asset may be his practice of yoga. "I'm not stellar, but I'm persistent," he says.

That calm demeanor has proved an asset to all the organizations he has been affiliated with, and will carry forward into his enlarged role with USITT.


To Top