Augie K. Mericola, 68, an Equity stage manager and IATSE member whose long career included work in regional theatres, on national tours, and on Broadway, died Jan. 9 following a heart attack in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Born in Akron, Ohio, and raised in South Florida near Miami, Mericola worked in stage management and other production roles for more than 35 years. Before moving to Utah with his wife, Karen Azenberg, artistic director of Pioneer Theatre Company, he worked in the props department for the Broadway company of Wicked.
Mericola began his LORT career as an intern at Indiana Repertory Theatre in 1980 under artistic director Tom Haas, working on the team of production stage manager Joel Grynheim. On staff at IRT, Mericola was an assistant stage manager and later mainstage stage manager, working there until 1989 on such productions as Dracula, Heartbreak House, Home, A Streetcar Named Desire, and many more. He briefly held positions as stage electrician and production supervisor in his decade with IRT.
“I felt a kinship with Augie from the moment we began to work together,” IRT’s retired veteran PSM Grynheim said. “He had a great ability to combine a sincere caring for the actors and the production but at the same time hold onto his amazing sense of humor. Even as an intern, Augie was able to visualize there was real life, and then there was the theatre. In the ’80s, we were generally late in getting the production up. On one show I was quite concerned and frustrated. Augie came up to me backstage, stage right—where all the great conversations occur—and said, ‘Joel, relax, it’s a play.’ I will miss his spirit, his ability to tell a joke, his smile and laugh.”
Prior to his time in Indianapolis, Mericola earned an associate’s degree at Michigan’s Lansing Community College, where he was a stage manager and production manager in the department of dance 1979-80.
Mericola’s regional stage management credits also included work at Starlight Musicals in Indianapolis (1989 and 1990) and the MUNY in St. Louis (1993). He was production manager at Weathervane Theatre in New Hampshire in 1982. His New York City stage management credits include Broadway’s Rent, Proposals, and Off-Broadway’s London Suite and Molly Sweeney for Roundabout Theatre Company. He was also on the stage management teams for national tours of Rent, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, The Sisters Rosensweig, Lost in Yonkers, Driving Miss Daisy, Those Were the Days, and Grease. Before working as head of props on Wicked on Broadway, he was assistant or head of props on Broadway’s Movin’ Out, Avenue Q, La Bohème, The Odd Couple, and The Drowsy Chaperone.
Since 2012, Mericola was a stage manager on a handful of productions at Pioneer Theatre Company, including Deathtrap, Sweeney Todd, and Fiddler on the Roof, and concert productions of In the Heights, Chess, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
In addition to his wife, Karen Azenberg, survivors include their children, Alexander, 24, and Emelia, 21, and siblings Francis Mericola and Carla Jean Tourjee.
An endowment in Augie Mericola’s name has been established at Pioneer Theatre Company to support production personnel. If you would like to contribute, go to http://www.pioneertheatre.org/augie.
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