Lights, Sound, Action! Tech Guru Makes Mr. NDA Memorable


Jake Gerlikovski, center, discusses stage plans with fellow alum Nate VandenHuevel. Also pictured are crew members Caragan Olles and Jack Chovan.

Tori Gantz, Staff Writer, Journalism I

“I can’t describe the feeling. Thirty seconds before the show there’s a countdown. It’s the biggest adrenaline rush you can ever get. I usually start shaking,” said Jake Gerlikovski, head of production for Mr. NDA.

Gerlikovski graduated from NDA in 2014 and is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin- Green Bay. He is a theatre major with an emphasis in production and lighting.

Gerlikovski started working with the lighting and sound system as a sophomore in high school. He was the techie behind the production of school plays, musicals, Mr. NDA and all school-wide assemblies

Although he is a college student, Gerlikovski works 60-70 hours a week. ”It’s cool to work with a bunch of different clients,” he said.

He works at the Meyer Theatre of downtown Green Bay as a lighting tech, even getting college credit for it.

In addition to NDA, Gerlikovski has several year-round production jobs in the area, including the Green Bay Packers, Meyer Theatre and Lighthouse Productions. He also runs his own DJ company.

As a middle schooler Gerlikovski had an increasing interest in special effects. “I’d get Target lights for Christmas and those little smoke machines for Halloween,” he said.

Although the light show at Mr. NDA may look like it takes only the click of a button, it is very complicated.

Gerlikovski said, “There is so much work and logistics that go into a show like Mr. NDA.”

Each year he is a key component in the production of the show.

“We have been so reliant here on Jake and his crew because he’s so efficient and understands how important the show is to us,” said Mrs. Carolyn Brown,  English teacher and one of the Mr. NDA coordinators.

In essence, he works as a stage artist for the show. Gerlikovski meets with each contestant during rehearsal to get a taste of their stage ideas for Mr. NDA.

“We take one idea,” he explained.  “We develop it and build on it, and then I blow it up into a reality.”

Because the stage crew plays such a crucial role in the show’s execution. Gerlikovski warned that “the last people you want to upset are the ones who make sure your mike is on and those who ensure that you can be seen on the stage.”

Without all of his equipment, Gerlikovski and this tech team could not make the show happen.

“I have to have a list of seasonal gear made by October or it gets booked up and sold out,” he said.

Similar to the Mr. NDA contestants, Gerlikovski also tries to outdo his performance in the show each year. And he predicts this year’s Mr. NDA will be the best light show yet.  

Showtime is 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2.