The 20-year veteran of the Milwaukee Rep talks about his theater origins and time in Wisconsin regional theater.
When you think of the Milwaukee Rep, one of the names that springs immediately to mind is Lee Ernst, who joined the company as an actor 20 seasons ago after a long residency at American Players Theater, where he spent the majority of two decades as an inaugural company member. In his time there, the Wisconsin native has played roles as diverse and memorable as Richard III, John Proctor, Vince Lombardi, Sherlock Holmes, Willie Loman, the Emcee in Cabaret, and Ebenezer Scrooge, among many, many more.
Lee’s currently on his way to Arizona, to reprise his roles as Russ and Dan in Clybourne Park at Arizona Theatre Company, but he stopped in to talk to Mark about getting his start in the industry, the experience of working in regional theater and his role in the Rep’s new Associate Artists program.
“Backstage with Mark Metcalf,” a 2011 Milwaukee Press Club award-winner, is engineered and produced by Sahan Jayasuriya. The weekly series, focusing on many of Milwaukee’s behind-the-scenes personalities, alternates between short (10-15 min.) and long (25-30 min.) segments. For the full archive of these podcasts, check out TCD’s Podcasts page.
Cover image: Lee Ernst as blue-collar construction worker Dan in Clybourne Park. Photo credit Michael Brosilow.