Dan Kreisman made his debut appearance at the Woodstock Opera House in 1995 with his role as Jacob, Potiphar and Guru in the WMTC production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This was also his first performance on stage in 8 years. He went on to perform in many other TSP and WMTC productions over the next 20+ years. In 2002, Dan played Cholet in the TSP production of Phantom. He had talked Lynne into doing this show and it was her first since high school. Dan's daughter, Kim Scharlow also performed in this show. Some other productions he performed in include: Damn Yankees (Mr. Applegate), Fiorello! (Ben Marino), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Dr. Spivey), The Pirates of Penzance (Major-General Stanley) and The Mikado (Ko-Ko). Besides acting on stage, Dan also served on the TSP Board for about a decade until it's dissolution in 2019. For many years, he also served on the TSP Play Reading Committee and helped with publicity, posters, etc. for many shows. His love and dedication to theatre was unquestionable.
We took some time to revisit his legacy with our members. We've heard so many loving stories about how much Dan meant to us. Here are a just a few:
What is your fondest memory of Dan Kreisman?
Gina Belt-Daniels: I had the pleasure of directing Dan, acting alongside him onstage, and serving on the TSP Board with him for many, many years. I always admired his intelligence, energy, wit, humor, (well maybe not all his puns) and ability to really listen to others. But most of all, I admired his strength in admitting when he was wrong. Years ago when he stage managed a show I directed, he really questioned an actor I had cast. He even wrote a letter to the Board about the actor. But after he saw how hard that actor worked and how dedicated he was, Dan apologized to me and went before the Board to say he was wrong. Takes a man of integrity to do that. Dan loved his family and especially Lynne....We lost two good hearts from our theater family with their deaths.
Lisa Czarny-Hyrkas: I first met Dan in 1995 when we both performed in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," his Woodstock Opera House debut. Over the years, I got to know him more with his humor and love and dedication to theatre. When Dan and Lynne started dating, I saw how happy he was. I had the pleasure of working with both of them on TSP's Play Reading Committee. Over the years, they had shown great support for me, especially when I ran for the Theatre 121 Board in 2019. They both have done so much and will be greatly missed.
Brendan Gaughan: I first met Dan Kreisman at a read through of TSP’s "The Mousetrap" back in 2006. Also his beautiful wife Lynne Kreisman came in the picture. I said to myself, “Lucky guy.”
My first conversation with Dan was my curiosity about the ghost Elvira (Which I learned later wasn’t a real ghost), but he told me all about it. He talked about some paranormal events that happened there. As I grew knowing Dan. He had a unique sense of humor. Not only that, he had incredible knowledge about history. I honestly wish we could talk about it more.
I worked with him in numerous shows and he also stage managed them. I’ve acted with him in "State Fair," "Into the Woods," "1776," "Pirates of Penzance" and the 50th TSP Anniversary.
I have plenty of hilarious moments with Dan but here’s my favorite, a vocal rehearsal for "State Fair." He sat next to me. While we all sang out, “Step Right Up!!!,” Dan did it with a Donald Duck impersonation. We had another rehearsal. During warm-ups, the choreographer recommended everyone to stand where we are and look at our friends. I looked at Dan. Out loud Dan points at me and said, “Well that’s easy for you because...you don’t have any friends.”
After all his hilarious jokes and joking insults he said, “Lynne is saying I’m joking around with you too much. I don’t mean any harm or feelings hurt. I just want to say that I love you like a son. You’re like a son that I never had.”
My favorite memory of Dan. He stage managed for "One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest." Dan was my stage partner for the audition. After a few scenes, he put his hand on my shoulder and said, “You’re doing great. I’m proud of you.” After the audition, Dan called me over. He stood up from his chair to say, "You came a long way. You’re getting better and better. I just want to say I’m so proud of you. You definitely got this role of Billy Bibbit.”
To end this story, I just want to say, Lynne and Dan, your love will still continue. While you two were living, you two were inseparable. You were meant to be together. To Lynne, you were so patient with Dan and took all of your husband's jokes because you love him. I wish we had more time together. What keeps you alive in my heart is your daughter, Kim. She supports my artwork. I’m lucky to witness her buying a print of my “46 Presidents” painting. I just wish we were able to discuss interesting facts about each President. After Dan passed, she bought a print of a painting of the first show that I worked with Dan and Lynne called, "The Mousetrap." In spirit, their friends Lou Czarny, Deb Spitzbart, and Guy Marsh are with them. Dan and Lynne, I love you. And I will miss you.
Paul Lockwood: Dan and I bonded right off with our shared sense of humor, especially puns, and our appreciation of the joy of acting. If we were in a show together - as we were with “Phantom,” “Arsenic and Old Lace,” “Harvey,” and “State Fair,” for example - we’d get into a back-and-forth “pun war” at some point in the dressing room. With all those groan-worthy jokes, other actors would be a bit faster than normal at applying their makeup and seeking refuge in the Green Room or elsewhere. If I was in a scene with Dan, I felt lucky to be playing with a pro who brought characters to life with humor and realism. His friendship was one of the best parts of being involved with community theatre; I miss him as an actor, theatre board member, and great friend.
Jordan Rakittke: I think my favorite Dan memory is how he'd look at Lynne whenever she talked. He loved her so much and you could tell without him ever having to say a word (although he was more than happy to tell the story of how their love was meant to be). His eyes and his smile gave it away.