Others will admit it for her, but she'll deflect and talk about how she couldn't do it with out Kelly Zerbe who does the choreography, Jess Rodriguez handling tech with Angie Carothers, Andrea Penske and youth theater alums Alex Webster and Jim Amero.
They all wear many hats during the intensive five day camp.
Pulling off the camp is only a small part of the remarkableness.
There are so many in area high school musicals, performances at the Barrow-Civic and other community theaters that have benefitted from the experience of those who have come through the Summer Youth Theater Camp and other youth theater productions Heist et al have put together.
"To build up the theater you need to start young so they kind of learn the ropes," said Zerbe, the youth theater's choreographer for the last 18 years. "Here, they learn all the different aspects (of putting on a show.)
This is not only important for keeping youth theater going, but community theater as well. Youth shows fill seats. "We only had a bout 60 seats left last I checked," said Heise.
Filling seats keeps the lights on for even more shows.
"I think there have been more shows with children (in recent years), and I think it’s because we have this base here with the youth theater," Zerbe added.
And alums are getting major parts in other productions. Webster, who is helping out with this year's summer camp, also recently played the lead in Cinderella at the Barrow..
Both Heise and Zerbe know the importance of having kids grow up with the youth theater program. They engage the older kids to help the younger kids on things like stage presence and what is expected of them. This helps them build communication and teaching skills. "There are a lot of teachable moments," Zerbe explained.
August 4,5 and 6, 2023
"Things in our lives are always changing," Heise said Tuesday as she was directing her 23rd season. "I couldn't do this without Kelly, really, it's the dance that makes the show."
Besides just the actors, young people will be in charge of the set, props, lighting and sound.