From Broadway to the Small Screen

BGSU alumnus leads challenging career behind the stage

Christopher Moeller (third from the left) with the rest of the crew of NBC's 'Peter Pan.'

By Marie Dunn-Harris

You may not know his name, but you most likely will recognize some of the big productions that he has helped bring to your TV screen.

Theatre alumnus Christopher Moeller ’08 is a production electrician who works on major live television shows. Those shows include the NBC productions of “The Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan,” as well as the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square.

“I’m a kid from suburban Detroit. I always thought I’d do some fun things, but I never thought I’d be at this level,” Moeller said.

How he got there took a lot of hard work and networking skills. After graduation, he returned to his hometown and worked for a production company, where he learned all he could about working as a moving light technician.

“I was there for about four months and then the car industry went under. They were a major client of ours and as the newest employee, I was the first to go,” he said. “But it opened a lot of opportunities for me.”

Moeller went on to freelance in Ann Arbor and made sure that he kept in touch with two fellow alumni who were company managers for the Broadway show, “Mamma Mia.”

“It was a situation where they needed me to help with the show, so I spent a week with them, which turned into a couple weeks and then turned into a month,” he said.

That month turned into about a year, until the show took a break. That’s when Moeller made connections with people within the theatre industry.

“I had a database of people I knew. I wanted them to remember who I was,” he said.

Moeller went on to become the head electrician on the Broadway show, “Scottsboro Boys.” While he still freelances for a few theatre shows a year, he has moved on to live TV productions and events.

“The nice thing about working in New York is that it’s a very small industry. Everyone knows everyone else,” he said.

Moeller was given the opportunity to work on the “Sound of Music,” starring Carrie Underwood, through someone he met on another show.

“He was a gaffer and he wanted to take me on one of his shows to see how I worked. It was more like an interview,” he said. “It was through my relationship with him that I got to do ‘Peter Pan.’”

Moeller also did lighting for the NBA All Star game at Madison Square Garden and is currently working on the Broadway show, “Skylight” starring Carrey Mulligan and Bill Nighy.

While he got his start in theatre, it’s TV where he gets the most work. He credits his time at BGSU for helping to prepare him for this challenging career.

“I learned the most working with the professors,” he said. “They took me under their wing and gave me opportunities I never would have gotten anywhere else.”

Moeller fondly remembers three organizations that were pivotal in shaping him into who he is today. He was heavily involved in the Falcon Marching Band, Kappa Kappa Psi and Phi Kappa Psi where he was one of the founding members.

“Being involved in these organizations at the level where I was really taught me how to manage my time, communicate with others effectively and work towards a common goal with people who sometimes have different ideas on how to best move forward,“ he said.

Looking back at his time as a student, Moeller offers some advice for current theatre students who may want to follow in his same career path.

“Get out and get real experience off campus,” he said. “That’s where I really learned how to work.

Moeller also recommends students meet people in the industry who they’d want to work with and to keep in touch with them.

“Someone once told me that it is who you know that gets you in, it’s what you know that keeps you there,” he said.