Quick Chats: Mike Humke

Posted October 3, 2022

Mike Quick Chat

For many, a show at American Players Theatre would not be complete without the fabulous concessions staff who are ready to supply over a thousand guests with everything from brownies to beers - and yes, gummi bears, too. This week in Quick Chats, meet Mike Humke, the concessions manager, as we talk about his favorite moments of the season, his amazing team, and what snacks he'd bring to space for a year. Read on for more!

APT: Hello, Mike! How has this season been going for you over in Concessions?
Mike Humke: The season has been going very well. Customers are elated to be back at shows, in person, and in large numbers. Those numbers translate into nice sales! The concession crew has been doing a great job and I appreciate all of the work they do to get the snacks and beverages into the patrons' hands.

APT: That's awesome! How did you first become involved with APT?
Mike Humke: Prior to getting involved, my wife and I were season ticket holders for many years. Then I signed up for a weed pull and Dundee McNair began asking me if I could help with Donor/Development Events. That blossomed into years of volunteering for numerous events and activities.

APT: Cool! Can you walk us through some of your many responsibilities as Concessions Manager? What’s your favorite thing about the position?
Mike Humke: A typical day will be checking show counts and guessing what the patrons may be interested in eating or drinking. I also check the weather and cross my fingers that we do not have shows canceled due to weather. The cookies and brownies are only good for so long. I work with 15 vendors to supply all of our snacks and beverages. Two of the best are Ray Seltzer out of Hartford, Wisconsin. He sends me notes asking what I need from the roasted nut world. He and his wife will turn around an order and ship it the same day I catch them at the best time. Second is Matt Snow at Brewhaha. Matt will send me a note asking about supplies while I am checking inventory. He will bring out 10-14 pails of coffee plus cups, sleeves, and covers at a moment's notice. All of the other vendors are good too, but Ray and Matt stand out.

As for my favorite part of the position, definitely the customers and hearing their stories or experience at the theater. We had a couple the other night, that celebrated their 10th anniversary, enjoying a 7-show week at APT. How can we not celebrate?? So I offered them anything on the beverage menu. I jokingly said, “no water”. The wife ordered Earl Gray Tea and the husband asked for an Unsweet Tea. They sat and chatted with us for a few minutes about their history with APT shows. That is the kind of experience I want all patrons to experience or feel when they come to the windows.

APT: What’s been the number one selling item this season in Concessions?
Mike Humke: Gummy Bears are the number one item for most shows and that puts them at the top for the season. We have bagged 5 boxes (160 pounds) for student shows and sold over 120 bags. Those kids like their sweets! Over half of our storage shelving is Gummy Bears… it crazy!

APT: When you're not working, what do you like to do in your free time?
Mike Humke: When I am not at APT, I take part in other organizations. I am the president of the Dodgeville Scholl Board, Chairman of the Cooperative Education Service Agency #3 (CESA3) board of control out of Fennimore, I am the 2nd Vice President of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB), I am on the Wisconsin Athletic Association (WIAA) board of control, the Dodgeville Chamber of Commerce, Dodgeville Plan Commission, Dodgeville Police and Fire Commission and currently building the set for the Dodgeville High School Musical production of Little Shop of Horrors (Anyone have a large Audrey II?). I have 7 weekends of Fall high school sports tournaments coming up from mid-October through late November.

APT: Wild Card Question! We have it from an inside source that you're a big aviation and rocket fan. If you had the option to go to space for a year, would you do it? And if so, what are three snacks from Concessions you’re bringing with you?
Mike Humke: I do enjoy travel and rocketry (models and NASA-sized rockets). Space for a year? Definitely! In a heartbeat. As for snacks, I’d take along Chocolate Almonds, Roasted Cashews, and Sprecher Root Beer.

APT: Anything else you'd like to add?
Mike Humke: Finally, I’d like to thank the concession crew for all they do getting ready for the crazy 20 minutes we call intermission. As calmly as possible, we try to get snacks, sodas, beers, and that dang hot chocolate to the patrons, as quickly as we can. And it goes go without saying, the house staff that steps in and helps us each evening at intermission, are rockstars! Thank you everyone for doing such great work to make the patron experience great, if not memorable.

Also, a big shout out to Bri and Lisa. I see Bri almost every day and having the ability to watch her practice that which she dreams of making her career (stage management) has been nothing short of special. And to Lisa, I'll be home on November 21st. We pass each other like ships in the night. We've barely seen each other all summer and fall, but I know she is doing amazing things for the art and theater students in Dodgeville!! Love you both.