Meet Our Staff
Sean Wright Executive Director
715.842.0988 ext. 227
Sean Wright came to the Performing Arts Foundation in January 2015 as the Executive Director of the organization. In a short time, he has continued to build on The Grand’s commitment to providing the best in the performing arts for the region, as well as expanding the venue’s community and patron engagement initiatives. Wright received his bachelor’s degree from Westminster College (MO), and has a MA from the University of North Carolina.
Merry Little General Manager
715.842.0988 ext. 233
Merry Little has been in the industry for 20 years with the past thirteen years at the Performing Arts Foundation. In her position as General Manager/Associate Director Merry plays a crucial role in areas of finance, administration, scheduling, personnel management, and oversight of the operation of the facilities at the Grand. A Chicago area native, Merry has an extensive business background as an art and antiques dealer, President of an economic development corporation, a member of city council in her previous community and is currently the Treasurer of the Wisconsin Presenters Network.
Gail Bayer Custodian
Gail has been with the Performing Arts Foundation since 2003. First as a part time staff member, Gail quickly became full time as a custodian. Gail enjoys working with volunteers and often helps out during matinee performances in the Arts in Education Series. In her spare time, Gail raises horses and runs a carriage and sleigh ride business.
Carly Caputa Marketing & Communications Coordinator
715.842.0988 ext. 232
A recent graduate of UW- Stevens Point, Carly has been a part of the Performing Arts Foundation since 2015. Serving as a content creator, she coordinates all media marketing including graphic design, social media and video. And tacos are the bomb diggity.
Valerie Charneski Assistant Technical Director
715.842.0988 ext. 228
Valerie started working at the Performing Arts Foundation part time in 2006, and full-time in 2007. Her responsibilities consist of maintaining and preparing all backstage areas and equipment as well as general building maintenance; during shows she commonly serves as the house electrician. Valerie volunteers with Central Wisconsin Children's Theatre, the local Penguin Project, Wausau Community Theatre, and various other performing arts projects at local schools.
Joel Freiberg Director of Ticketing & Analytics
715.842.0988 ext. 226
Joel started with the Performing Arts Foundation in 1996 as a stage hand and has moved through the organization now serving as the Director of Ticketing since 2005. Joel handles all aspects of ticketing and IT for the organization. As a musician, Joel directs and accompanies performing groups in the area.
Scott Fritsche Assistant Technical Director
715.842.0988 ext. 229
Scott worked as a part-time stage-hand for more than a decade before accepting a career move to Assistant Technical Director. He works with the team to provide and enhance technical support for incoming productions, as well as assists in facilitating the needs of the historic Grand Theater building. Scott has worked in a technical capacity for Wausau East High School, Wausau West High School, Wausau Community Theater, and was a co-founder of The Artista! Players. He is currently striving to earn a B.A. in English Composition.
Katy Lang Director of Community Engagement and Education
A Central Wisconsin native, Katy has just returned to the Wausau area after graduating from the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communications in 2017. She grew up in Marathon, WI, where she was involved in band, choir and musical theater, and discovered her passion for arts administration while working at the Wisconsin Union in college. In her new role at The Grand, she will be responsible for managing the Arts in Education Series, facilitating artist residency programs, and planning various community engagement programs and events.
Michael Loomis Director of Guest Services & Event Management
715.842.0988 ext. 224
Michael has long had a passion for the performing arts. He started working back stage at The Grand following High school in 1987. Taking time off to pursue other life options, he returned full time in 2004 as the Assistant Technical director. Michael continued to move through the company and is now the director of Guest Services and Event Management.
Paula Loomis Ticket Office
715.842.0988 ext. 221
Paula came to The Grand in 2009 working part time in the ticket office. Just recently, she has joined our staff full time. She comes to The Grand with over 32 years of customer service and prides herself on always giving our patrons the best experience she can while they are here with us. She is the friendly face who helps you pick out the best seats possible for each and every performance. When you call our office, her voice is usually the first one you will hear.
Misty Pfantz Custodian
Misty joined the Grand as a part time custodian in 2005, and after a few years became full time. As a custodian her duties include keeping the many different areas of the building clean and presentable. She also helps with maintenance when needed. If there is an evening event at the Grand, Misty is probably working it.
Vicky Rice-Bricko Wedding Coordinator
715.842.0988 ext. 230
Vicky had been working at The Grand since 2017 and added Wedding Coordinator to her job title in 2018. She came to The Grand with over 30 years of customer service experience, along with a background in space planning, merchandising and event planning. Vicky is responsible for organizing and supervising wedding and reception services for any of the five venue spaces available.
Melanie Ruby Director of Marketing & Development
715.842.0988 ext. 240
Melanie joined The Grand in 2015. She creates the advertising and promotion plans for all shows and oversees fundraising in the areas of the Annual Fund Drive, foundation grants, sponsorship, and program ad sales. Melanie's knowledge of marketing and fundraising comes from over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector. She has earned a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and a minor in Marketing.
Mark Weiss Technical Director
715.842.0988 ext. 225
Mark started working with the Performing Arts Foundation in 1993 transitioning to a full time Technical Assistant in 1995 and to his current position as Technical Director in 1999. He coordinates the technical aspects of performances and stewards the day to day maintenance of the Grand. Mark received his Associates of Arts and Sciences from UW-Marathon.