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Matthew Schliesman



AUTHOR -- 2024: in the final stages of development of The Search for Gordon: And Other Family Ghosts This is a nonfiction genealogical adventure about our lost and forgotten ancestors.  Publication date: to be determined.

The Search For Gordon is a rollercoaster ride through time seeking the truth about a man long deceased, the author’s grandfather, who was a soldier under multiple flags, Great Lakes wheelman, carpenter, teacher, Chautauqua presenter, prospector, farmer, salesman (shoes, cars, oil wells, ideas…), author, serial husband, and always the proud son of a proud Scotsman.


Using as an anchor, Gordon’s story is fleshed out from old newspapers, personal letters, manuscripts, historical documents, and memories from the very few people remaining who knew him, as well as later generations who feel his impact in their lives, be it with warm sentiments or painful scars.


PLAYWRIGHT: Birch Hollow. The first production was presented by The Masquers in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, in November 2015  (For the tone of the play think "Green Acres" meets Walton's Mountain, with a touch of "The Twilight Zone.")

CREATIVE CONSULTANT:  Have engaged in a diverse range of freelance services spanning management and strategic planning; show and event creation, development, and operations; writing and directing commissioned projects; speechwriter; formation of custom training programs; company policy development; marketing and public relations support.  Clients have included Paramount Parks, Busch Entertainment Corporation, Thinkwell Design & Production, Heartbeat Productions, Legoland California, Thomas-Gregor Associates, and Mayor Justin Nickels, Manitowoc, Wisconsin. 

As Vice President of Entertainment for Knott's Berry Farm: EXECUTIVE PRODUCER & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR for America’s first theme park.  Directed creative, production, and operational teams over dozens of original stage productions, including those for the licensed Peanuts® characters; big-stage ice shows; musical revues; Wild West stunt shows; dolphin and sea lion shows; old-fashioned melodramas; and a wide range of street shows.  Led creative, production, and operational teams for special events including the world’s largest live Halloween spectacle—Knott’s Scary Farm Halloween Haunt®, Knott’s Merry Farm® (Christmas season), and others.

STAGE DIRECTOR:  As a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, directed-- Buried Child, Personals, Jesus Christ SuperstarMurder at the Howard Johnsons, and Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.

PERFORMANCE: Still occasionally taking the stage as a master of ceremonies, singer, or actor.  Representative stage roles include R. P. MacMurphy in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST; Michael in I DO, I DO; George in ALL MY SONS; Henry in THE REAL THING; King Herod in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. 

Final moments of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 1989. Director. 

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Manitowoc Public Library Fundraising show -- performing IRVING BERLIN MEDLEY with Kevin Sievert and Erin LaFond, 2015.

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