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Santa murderess? Interview with Elizabeth Shipe


Elizabeth Shipe 

Happy Homicide, everyone!

Still looking for the perfect gift for that someone special? Give the gift of guilty laughter. (Even if that someone special is yourself) What better way to spend the holidays than at an anti-holiday show?

Who Killed Santa? by Neil Haven, runs December 4th through the 27th at Bay View Brew Haus 2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 7pm. Call 414- 839-7801 or email  to make reservations. Don’t delay, do it today...before Santa goes down to that great big melting pit below. As Frosty the Snowman says “You’ll laugh yourself into liquid.”

And, if you’re in a quandary about what to do for the next 18 days until opening night, the answer is right here. Visit this site for semi-daily updates about the insanely funny production of Who Killed Santa? Today, Milwaukee Theatre Examiner talks to actor Elizabeth Shipe. New to the cast of Santa? this year, Shipe is playing Chastity, the only original character created especially for the play. Chastity finds herself at the North Pole fiesta by way of Mr. Claus himself, who has invited her there because of, as he says, “a lack of female Christmas characters”. Something tells me that’s not the only reason Santa has invited her.

Below, Elizabeth tells us more about the character of Chastity, her life as an actress, and a strange story about an accident with a pistol backstage.

How long have you been working in Milwaukee?

About three and a half years. I moved here from Fond du Lac to go to school at University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.

What might we have just seen you in? What was your role? What was the experience like?

I did some really fun things at Alchemist Theatre, like Ripper, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, as well as all of the Sketch 22 performances to date. The experience was amazing. Alchemist has been really good to me in terms of work. In my opinion [it is] one of the best places to go as a young actor. They took a shot on me when they really didn't need to. I played Belle in Beauty and the Beast this last summer with West Allis Players and Wauwatosa Playhouse which was also amazing. Great cast. Awesome director. Most recently, I did Three Irish One acts in Lapham Peak State Park for Summerstage and What I Did Last Summer at UWM.

CHASTITY The Little Drummer Girl

Tell us a little bit about your role in Who Killed Santa?

I play Chastity, the Little Drummer Girl. She's the newest holiday character. She's very sweet, but just happens to be extremely hot as well and she's kind of unconscious about it. I like to think that it's type casting, but I had to give up on that theory.

How did you get started in acting/theatre in the first place?

My dad is a band director and my mom is very much into the arts and old movie musicals. I loved the idea of pretend from a young age. When I was 14 I had a great teacher in Fond du Lac named Steve Wilson, who was so amazingly encouraging. I can't describe how much he influenced me, just one of those teachers you remember your whole life. I'm pretty sure my parents and him are the two biggest reasons I took this path.

What's been one your favorite roles/shows?

I've loved something about almost every character I've played, but to date it would have to be Belle in Beauty and the Beast. I'd wanted to be a princess since I was a kid and then when I got the shot it was so cool to get to live in a fairy tale for two months. The cast was so amazing, a good chunk of us still hang out. They're like my family.

Do you have any sort of pre-show routine?

It changes from show to show. Most recently, I have taken to drinking first a chocolate soy milk and then a diet coke. Then the basic acting warm up articulators and such. It's weird I know, but it works.

What do you do when you're not performing?

Go to school, and that's about it.

What's the weirdest / funniest / most awful thing that's ever happened to you on stage?

When I was in my high school production of Oklahoma, I was playing Aunt Eller, and the pistol we had was just awful. One night backstage it backfired into my hand. There was blood. I missed an entrance. Oh it was terrible.

What is it that excites you about Milwaukee Theatre?

Everything. I love the all the different opportunities and the new companies popping up. There's so many different kinds of shows to do as well. It's such a great melting pot.

What show/performance/project is next for you?

Not sure at the moment. I've been on a few auditions and I'm waiting to hear back. UWM is doing Jerry Herman's Showtune next semester, which I'm in, so that's coming up.

What else would you like us to know about yourself or Who Killed Santa?

Come and see it. It's a great show with some super talented people. We'd love to see you there.

W h o K i l l e d S a n t a? runs December 4th through December 27th 2009 at the Bay View Brew Haus. 2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. The show is co-directed by Laurie Birmingham and Dan Katula and features Amy Geyser, Bo Johnson, Rick Pendzich, Sophia Petropoulos, Nate Press, and Liz Shipe. Curtain times are 8:00pm Fridays, 4:00pm and 8:00pm Saturdays, and 7:00pm Sundays. No performance on December 25th.

To reserve tickets call 414-839-7801 or email Due to limited seating reservations are highly recommended.

For more useful (useless) information and an eclectic hodgepodge of stuff including more photos, discussions, and silly posts visit the Who Killed Santa? Facebook Fan Page: Santa Slayers Inc.


  • Jessica Olson - Mke Relationship Angst examiner 5 years ago

    I am a huge fan of all things Bay View. I'm so looking forward to this show. Thanks for the article!