"To educate, impassion and inspire young theater artists and their communities through musical theater classes, workshops and productions."

Origin! Theater is not-for-profit theater company focused on children's theater education, founded by Spring Green natives Michael Stanek and Chris Giese. Both grew up performing in theatrical productions at River Valley High School and as part of Spring Green’s community theater organization, River Valley Players. After graduating in 1986 and 2005 respectively, each went on to pursue professional careers in New York City and Los Angeles before returning to Wisconsin and starting Origin! Theater with the desire to give back to the community that helped shape their careers.

Together, they believe in creating an open, accepting environment where all children can experience the joy of theater, build confidence, embrace individuality and learn skills that will serve them throughout their lives.




Michael Stanek

(Co-Founder/ Artistic Director)
Michael spent 25 years as a performer, director, choreographer and teaching artist in NYC.  He was the resident choreographer for The RIDE!(Drama Desk Nomineeand Artistic Director/Choreographer for Broadway Kids With Heart, (Rosie O’Donnell Show). In 2006, he assisted Tony-Award winner Kathleen Marshall on 70, Girls, 70, starring Olympia Dukakis (City Center Encores!) Michael toured with 42nd Street, Ellington Sing and Swing and was the original Prince in Beauty and the Beast (Disney Hollywood Studios). He has directed/ choreographed over 100 theatrical productions and is 25-year member of Actors’ Equity Association and 10-year associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. You can reach him at:



Chris Giese

(Co-Founder/ Artistic Associate)
Chris has worked on the stage and behind the scenes for several arts organizations throughout Wisconsin and beyond. After studying theatre at Viterbo University and Graphic Design and Video Production at MATC, he founded Capital City Theatre, a professional musical theatre company based in Madison. He is the Marketing Assistant at American Players Theatre, and was also a member of their 2010 Apprentice Acting Company before moving to Los Angeles and doing commercial and television work. Chris is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA, the professional film, radio and television union and wears many hats for Origin! You can reach him at: Chris@OriginTheater.com