Bye, Bye Birdie Sparked Singing Career of Paul Micksch


Adison Karbon, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

In anticipation of the musical’s Alumni Night, members of the Tritonian staff have interviewed alums who participated in earlier productions of the show.  Read how the ’95 musical sparked the career of musician Paul Micksch, brother of librarian Katie Gelb.

Final preparations for this year’s musical are in full swing, but this is not the first time Bye Bye Birdie was performed at Notre Dame Academy.

Paul Micksch, now an audio engineer, composer, and producer, participated in the 1995 production of Bye Bye Birdie as a freshman. The ‘98 alum went on to graduate from UW-Madison.

Micksch, brother of librarian Katie Gelb, auditioned “on a whim during a break from jazz ensemble because it looked like fun.”

“Turns out, it was a lot more formative than that,” said Micksch.

His roles were the “guitar guy,” a chorus member, and one of the Shriners.

“It was my first time acting in a musical of any kind,” said Micksch.

Before the musical, he didn’t think of himself as a singer at all, but rather an instrumental musician.

But being in the musical “was really eye opening” and brought him to the point today where singing is such a big part of how he defines himself–as a musician–that “it’s hard to imagine it without that experience.”

Some of his favorite memories in the musical happened when he was “waiting around” since “there are so many things that happen when you’re not on stage.”

He made many new friends, including upperclassmen, which was a first for Micksch.

After his experience in Bye Bye Birdie, he went on to perform in Guys and Dolls, Kiss Me Kate and Godspell throughout his years at NDA.

His love for music has brought him to where he is today, working for  a software company outside of Madison, WI.

His job includes creating, recording and producing audio/visual media and managing a team who designs, installs and maintains “state of the art audio/visual systems.”

In his free time, he mixes records for “artists and bands all over the country,” writes, records and performs music.

Outside of his music career, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two little girls.

What he looks forward to most in his life is watching his kids grow up and finding out what they’re passionate about.

In ten years, he hopes to continue what he’s doing: “Writing recording, performing, and raising my kids.”