Spotlight Series: Meet Actor Bill Wolski on the Ever-So-Fleeting Magic of Live Theatre


This morning as I was compiling my Spotlight Series on Bill Wolski and his equally talented wife Holly Baker Kreiswirth of Little Fish Theatre in San Pedro, Bill shared an amazingly wonderful description of the ever-so-fleeting magic of performing live theatre which brings a playwright’s scripts to life and often unites a cast as life-long friends.

His post centers on his first-hand experience in the Little Fish production of The Country House by Donald Margulies, which was directed by Holly and featured a talented cast of six, including Belinda Howell, Frannie Morrison, Richard Perloff, Maire-Rose Pike, Patrick Vest, and Bill Wolski. His post spoke so clearly to me that I immediately reached out to him, and have been given permission to share his words as a Spotlight Series today.


Bill Wolski: “As a younger, newer actor, closing night was a victory lap. I treated my final performance the way an athlete might treat the waning moments of a lopsided win, where the only thing between them and certain victory were the seconds ticking off the clock. I indulged in pranks, I luxuriated in the final utterance of a favorite line, I let my foot off the gas, I celebrated prematurely.

But as I matured, I learned that the best way to savor a final performance is to go out on top. Stay focused, do what you were trained to do, don’t bask in the spotlight. Don’t let up.

My thoughts take me back to The Country House, which closed one year ago today (in April 2019). I consider it to be my favorite role and my best work. Everyone did everything right in that show. Our director’s vision was bold and gentle, deep and clear. Our cast was talented and cohesive, both onstage and off. Our performances crackled with humor, sizzled with sexual tension, and hummed with vibrant life. Characters picked fights with each other. Deep feelings and long held grudges boiled to the surface and spilled over in full view as these beings struggled and pleaded for acknowledgment of their pain. Real tears of grief and heartache fell on the stage and in the audience alike. We were all-in, every night, and on the day we closed, I was melancholy that our time had come to an end.

The cast of The Country House at Little Fish Theatre: Back row, left to right: Richard Perloff, Patrick Vest, Bill Wolski. Front row, left to right, Maire-Rose Pike, Frannie Morrison, Belinda Howell. Photo credit: Mickey Elliot

But those emotions did not alter my performance. As much as I may have wanted to savor every line, beat, and look as I performed them for the last time, we still had an obligation to an audience full of people who were seeing the show for the first time. We also had an obligation to the script and its playwright, our director, each other, and frankly, ourselves. We had all put in so much work, and we had to see it through one last time. It had been such a beautiful experience; it would be criminal to diminish it now.

Every actor develops an ability to seemingly detach and step out of one’s body to take stock of a moment onstage and make objective evaluations. I relied on that gift to take in and bear witness to these final moments of The Country House as they were acted out. No line was hammed, no moment onstage languid, no scenery chewed. Like a driver winning his last race, I watched each urgent moment whiz by, wishing I could capture them forever, but hellbent on keeping the pedal to the floor and doing what I had come here to do.

And that was it. We crossed the finish line, and when the show ended, it disappeared. It wasn’t recorded for posterity or archival purposes, wasn’t preserved or immortalized in any way. It just...ceased to exist. As one of the characters in the show put it, it went “the way of all ephemera.”

But it was here. It existed. And it was our little band, our village, who brought it into being. And I loved it. And every single time we touched it, from the beginning of the first rehearsal to the end of the final performance, we did it justice.”

Holly Baker Kreiswirth

Holly Baker Kreiswirth: "Everything aligned in this show: words, actors, designers. I was incredibly lucky to have found the script while browsing through Samuel French, lucky again to have had it chosen for production by LFT, and then won the lottery with this cast and team that put their all into this love letter of a show. Thank you for all of your thoughtful talent — you make my heart happy."

Holly and Bill also want to share the latest news from Little Fish Theatre on their online Virtual Stage series:

Little Fish Theatre (LFT) is hosting a Virtual Stage where company members are posting various forms of content. Including musicals, songwriting, comedy bits, shorts films and more. There's even an ongoing web series happening with material from legendary television writer Ken Levine (M*A*S*H, Cheers, Frasier), prolific playwright Rich Orloff, best-selling author Syrie James (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen). Holly and Bill invite you to join LFT Company Members and enjoy a full slate of live stream readings, an original web series, classes, and interviews which are now available on Little Fish Theatre’s Virtual Stage website:   LittleFishTheatre.org/pond/virtual


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



JOAN OF ART: Luminario Ballet, John Legend, Dinner With Friends and Pop Up Art - Equals Major Fun

This weekend, June 14th, 15th, 16th Luminario Ballet presents: "Choose Your Identity", modern dance legend Bella Lewitzky's TURF, 'LedZAerial and the world choreography award nominated 'Lift Ticket.' by Luminario artistic director Judith FLEX Helle.

I've seen them many times and they are absolutely fantastic. This is ballet like you've never seen it. Their aerial work alone will blow you away.

Special guest stars: Dreya Weber (PINK) will perform and Tawny Ellis and her band will play with Luminario Ballet dancers dancing.

The show will take place at the ultra cool Cafe Club Fais Do-Do located at 5253 West Adams Blvd, in LA. This is a club that offers a gumbo of eclectic music and diverse people coming together to build a stronger community by offering exposure to new cultures, sounds and philosophies.

To purchase tickets for LUMINARIO BALLET go to LuminarioBallet.org. or call 818-235-6588.

Another great event happening this weekend is the opening of the Hollywood Bowl on June 15h with the great John Legend performing. He'll be accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and a sky full of fireworks. Now it doesn't get more romantic than that.

John is an incomparable talent, a charming presence on stage who brings great depth of emotion to his work as a pianist and songwriter. He'll kick off their season with style and a performance you won't forget.

To purchase tickets go to HollywoodBowl.com. or call (323) 850-2000. John goes on at 8pm.

Now for a different kind of theatre...Dinner With Friends, a play written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Donald Margulies.

Married couple Karen and Gabe live an idyllic life in Connecticut. They regularly have their best friends Beth and Tom over for double-date dinner party But of course dinner is not just about food. At least not in Margulies' play.

As the evening goes on Beth tearfully reveals that she is getting a divorce from Tom who has been unfaithful and from there it only get better and better. I've seen this play twice and it's one not to be missed.

'Dinner With Friends' opens at the Beverly Hills Playhouse 254 South Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills CA 90211. To purchase tickets or for more information go to CrimsonSquare.org. The play runs Fridays and Saturdays 8m and Sunday at 2:00pm and 7:00pm, until June 30th.

If art is what you desire starting Friday June 14th at 7pm the Pop Up Arts & Music Festival will be at the Fred Kavli Theatre for the Performing Arts at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

As the name suggest, the festival will feature pop up public performances and activities at a variety of locations throughout Thousand Oaks.

The primary goal of the festival is to provide residents and visitors with an opportunity to actively participate in and enjoy the arts in unexpected and distinctive locations throughout the community.

The festival will feature seven free events over three weekends, June 14 and 15, June 21, 22, 23 and June 28 and 29. In partnership with local arts organizations, the festival will include local and regional artistic talent, in addition to nationally recognized performing artists.

For more information, visit CivicArtsPlaza.com.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend people, make it a fun one.