From US Bank Stadium to Huss, videographer helps SPA amid pandemic

Wickre+shoots+with+two+MS+students+for+Fame+Jr.++MS+Theater+Director+Ed+Williams+was+Wickre%27s+second+grade+teacher.+%22He+heard+that+I+was+in+town+a+few+months+ago.+He+was+like+%E2%80%98I+didn%E2%80%99t+know+you+were+in+town%2C+can+you+help+us+do+this+Alice+in+Wonderland+production%3F%E2%80%99+I%E2%80%99m+like+%E2%80%98uh+ok.+I%E2%80%99m+not+touring+right+now%2C+but+yeah+sure%2C+that%E2%80%99d+be+cool%2C%27%22+Wickre+said.

Image submitted by Micah Wickre

Wickre shoots with two MS students for Fame Jr. MS Theater Director Ed Williams was Wickre’s second grade teacher. “He heard that I was in town a few months ago. He was like ‘I didn’t know you were in town, can you help us do this Alice in Wonderland production?’ I’m like ‘uh ok. I’m not touring right now, but yeah sure, that’d be cool,'” Wickre said.

Liv Larsen, RubicOnline

It’s not everyday that you have someone who has worked for Beyoncé in your midst. SPA got lucky when freelance videographer and artist Micah Wickre who has been a videographer for two of Beyoncé’s tours in addition to artists like The Rolling Stones, agreed to film several of SPA’s theater productions this year.
Wickre said he discovered his passion for film in college at Tennessee State University. Growing up, he always had a passion for art. He planned to get a degree in art in college and then figure out what he wanted to do from there. Wickre has loved movies since he was a kid and regularly went to the cinema with his dad and brothers. But it wasn’t until one of his professors at Tennessee State brought the 48-hour film competition to their campus, something she had done at her alma mater, Ohio University, that Wickre discovered his love for filmmaking.
“It was the first 48-hour film competition that we had. That’s just how I got into it. I was operating boom mics, got behind the camera a little bit, and I acted as well in it… That was my opening gateway to the world of filmmaking,” Wickre said.
From there, Wickre decided to pursue a degree in visual storytelling. He spent his time outside of school working at internships and being a production assistant on sets.
“The whole time in college I’m just building my resume up, building my reel up, and just trying to make the art and make myself more knowledgeable of the art. My whole goal was to be on film sets, big Marvel movies or whatever,” Wickre said. “My mom, her ex actually, that she used to date when I was a baby, James E. McGregor Jr. used to tour for Prince, Sierra, and all these artists. My mom reached out to him like ‘Micahs in this rut. He’s trying to get these production assistant gigs, trying to work on sets, and do something with film.’ He was like ‘I ain’t got nothing much for the way of film, but I know some touring guys.’”
McGregor introduced Wickre to John Wiseman who worked at Production Resource Group. Wiseman noticed the hard work and hours that Wickre had been putting in and decided to give him a chance. To Wickre’s surprise, his first touring gig would be for Beyoncé’s Formation Tour.

“They were already in rehearsals. So, I flew down to Tampa, Florida, and was just kind of thrown in it and started working on the video side of touring which is building big video displays and operating cameras during the show. That was just my introduction to the touring world, but in a way that was with probably one of the greatest artists out right now. A lot of pressure, really scary, but that was kind of how I got into it,” Wickre said.

Wickre and the rest of the crew for Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s On The Run II Tour in Nice, France in 2018.

While touring wasn’t Wickre’s initial goal, he had imagined working on film sets for big Hollywood movies and the like, he was happily surprised.
“There’s a certain energy with doing live events that’s really electrifying… I look around at all these people like man, whatever their week was, how tough it may have been, whatever issues people had, they come to these shows and for a couple hours they’re elated and happy and electrified and joyous. It brings a tear to your eye sometimes, like dang I helped do this,” Wickre said.
When touring was suspended as a result of COVID-19, Wickre moved back to Minnesota, his home state. MS Theater Director Ed Williams heard he was back in town, and reached out to see whether Wickre would be willing to film Alice in Wonderland, the MS play. Williams had been Wickre’s second grade teacher at Linwood Monroe Arts Plus.
I just kind of connected with [Williams], and he connected with myself and my mother. My mother also works in theater with his partner, David. So, we just kind of had this family connection. He slowly over the years became not ‘Mr. Williams’ but ‘Uncle Ed.’ That’s my uncle. He heard that I was in town a few months ago,” Wickre said. “He was like ‘I didn’t know you were in town, can you help us do this Alice in Wonderland production?’ I’m like ‘uh ok. I’m not touring right now, but yeah sure, that’d be cool.’ Then, I kinda just worked with him, and he knew of my past and my work and just kind of trusted me. I trusted him, and we came together and made Alice. It was just a fun experience”
From there, US Theater Director Eric Severson reached out asking if Wickre could film the US musical Under Milkwood. A few weeks ago he finished filming the MS musical Fame Jr. and he will potentially be working with Severson again on the US’s spring production. For Wickre, working on these school productions has managed to bring some of the electricity that the live shows did.
“It’s a little bit different because I’ve never shot a theatrical productions like this before. The electricity in this realm is being able to work with the kids and bring a sense of normalcy at a time when it’s all wonky. It’s all cattywampus,” Wickre said.
With all of the craziness that has been caused by the pandemic including losing all the touring jobs that he had lined up, Wickre has managed to find things to be grateful for. For one thing, it has brought him back home for a longer stretch than any time in the past nine years when Wickre was always at college or touring. Despite the hardships that he has endured this year, Wickre choses to look at the pandemic with a glass half full mentality.

Wickre shooting during the On The Run II Tour in 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX.

“I go in and out of these depressive waves. Me and my friends call it the ‘pit of darkness.’ We see it as, through life there’s a road and sometimes there’s a big pothole, a big pit you’re going to fall into, but it’s about finding your way out, finding the light, finding the good. A lot of people have been hurt so much more than my family during this. I’m just so thankful that the pandemic has taught us resilience and strength and patience with people,” Wickre said.
Wickre will spend the next few weeks editing the MS production of Fame Jr. It is set to be streamed sometime in early April. At some point, the pandemic will be over and Wickre will go back to filming the stars. In the meantime, SPA theater students get the privilege of being his subject before he returns to Beyoncé.