Kristin Wilke Detailleur, veteran Twin Cities stage manager and props designer from St. Paul, dies
Kristin Wilke Detailleur had show business in her blood. She also had multiple recipes for fake blood.
Detailleur was a longtime stage manager and prop master for theaters throughout the Twin Cities, a theater veteran who loved working behind the scenes on local productions of shows ranging from “God of Carnage” to “Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding.”
“She worked at many, many theaters in the Twin Cities,” said friend and colleague Wendi Arndt. “Everybody knew her. Everybody trusted her.”
Detailleur, of St. Paul, died Aug. 1 after rectal cancer that seemed to have been successfully treated was later found to have spread to other parts of her body. She was 47.
Detailleur grew up in New Brighton and went to Irondale High School, where she caught the theater bug, working on productions of shows like “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “The Man who Came to Dinner,” first as a set crew and later as a stage manager.
“She was my right hand and I’ll never forget her humor, smarts, sass and ability to be calm under pressure,” said Janet Paone, director of theater at Irondale. “I could tell then that if she wanted to make a career doing theater that nothing would stop her — and it didn’t.”
Detailleur studied at the University of Minnesota and later did much of her theater work for the Lakeshore Players Theatre in White Bear Lake, where she was a stage manager for several shows and was an office administrator.
Colleagues said as a stage manager, Detailleur was detailed oriented and could crack the whip to get things done but also knew how to relate to actors, directors, technicians, audiences and theater board members.
“Every show kind of became her family,” said Paul Reyburn, production manager for Lakeshore Players Theatre.
“She had a way to make everyone feel valued,” said Arndt. “Nobody ever felt slighted.”
Shanan Custer, an actor, director and writer, recruited Detailleur as stage manager when she and Carolyn Pool created the Ivey Award-winning “2 Sugars, Room for Cream,” which started as a hit 2009 Minnesota Fringe show and was restaged multiple times.
Custer tapped Detailleur again when she directed “God of Carnage” at the Bloomington Theatre and Art Center in 2015.
“She just had this calming influence on me. She was a great stage manager for that reason,” Custer said. “Once you worked with her, you were trying to figure out how to get her back.”
As much as she loved theater, Detailleur never wanted to be on stage herself.
“She just never wanted to be the center of attention,” said her husband, Greg Detailleur.
But her work on props could sometimes steal the scene. She employed her recipes for fake blood for “Evil Dead: The Musical” in 2010 for Minneapolis Musical Theatre, which had a splash zone for flying fluids.
A Pioneer Press review of “Deer Camp the Musical” said the best part of the 2009 Lowry Theater show was how Detailleur’s props created an atmosphere of masculine squalor: “And hanging in one corner is an old Brad Johnson No. 14 Vikings jersey with the ‘1’ crossed out and the name ‘Favre’ hand lettered above it.”
Detailleur also helped direct a final show, a memorial for her at the Lakeshore Players Theatre that was held after she died. She asked for some favorite songs to be sung, including tunes from “Wicked” and “Rent” and a song from the movie, “Monty Python’s Life of Brian”: “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”
Detailleur is survived by her husband Greg, daughters Tara and Caitlin Detailleur, father Steve Wilke and brother Ross Wilke of New Brighton. Services have been held.