You all know her, you all love her. And now you’ll see a lot more of her at the Memorial Opera House because LuAnne Pezel was recently named as its new Business Director.
LuAnne is a Portage resident and since a very young age, she has been in love with music. Her mother was a vocalist and people would come from all over to her here sing.
“I asked my mom to teach me and she did,” LuAnne said. “It was something that she and I shared.”
Her mother passed when LuAnne was a teenager and her uncle and mentor, John, quickly took her under his wing.
“He took me to a theatre camp one summer and I never looked back and that was 40 years ago,” she said. “My uncle was a great actor; one of the funniest men I ever knew.”
LuAnne came upon the position of Business Director and will be filling the shoes of Trinidad Snider, former Business Director for the opera house. LuAnne worked in various companies and industries around the region like Luke Oil, the Chesterton Animal Hospital, and as a real estate agent. She has experience in management and accounting roles, and combining that with her extensive theatre experience makes her quite qualified for the role.
“Trinidad laid a great plan and I want to keep going with what she started,” LuAnne said. “The person who would do best in this position needs to be able to see both sides. They need to understand what all goes on in the theatre but then also understand the business and governmental side of things. I feel that I can see both sides.”
For those who know LuAnne, they can attest that she is a family woman. She said that family comes first, and then theatre second. She loves to bring her grandkids to shows and let them learn about the performing arts. LuAnne has performed at every theatre in the region, but she has special feelings for the Memorial Opera House.
“It’s my home theatre. There is something different when I get up on this stage. There is so much history and nostalgia here. It’s important to keep this theatre moving and preserve its history. It’s a place where people can use the arts the way they are supposed to be used,” LuAnne said. “Not only with singing and acting, but people can come and learn to direct, do carpentry and lighting. Some want to make that a career and this is a great place to learn a lot and we welcome people to come and volunteer so they can learn or put their skills to good use.”
The job that LuAnne will take on isn’t easy, but she has all the help that she could ask for. She named Scot MacDonald, Laura Blaney, Stretch Miller, Trinidad Snider, Stacey Ruiz, and Natalie Klobuchar as some of the many people who are helping her every step of the way.
“Everyone has been so helpful and made the transition very easy,” LuAnne said. “I’m very excited. I don’t know when I’ve been more excited!”