S. Warren Krebs Obituary
The son of Samuel Romberger Krebs and Helen Laudermilch Krebs, he was born in Lancaster, PA. His parents started taking him to plays at a very early age, and for his seventh birthday took him to the New York opening of Oklahoma! In 1987 he directed the same musical with Barbara Elder and Giovanna La Paglia for the Theatre Workshop of Nantucket. At an early age he showed a talent for drawing, and he spent his Saturdays taking the train to Philadelphia for art lessons at the Academy of Fine Arts. He also served as an apprentice with several regional theatres. After graduating from Manheim Township High School, he attended Franklin and Marshall College where he majored in Fine Arts and Art History. There he was given the opportunity to help design and build the stage sets for The Green Room. He graduated from F&M in 1958.
In 1959 he joined the faculty of Westtown Friends School in Westtown, PA, where he taught Studio Art and Art History for 18 years. There he met his wife, and for five years they were house parents to the school's ninth grade boys. He and a group of students designed and constructed elaborate stage sets for the school’s numerous dramatic productions. With a group of dedicated colleagues, Krebs helped to fulfill a dream for the school, the completion of the Westtown School Center for the Living Arts, which contained a theatre, art and music studios, and a space where Krebs, local Chester County artists and students displayed and shared their artwork. Krebs’ first one-man show was held at Westtown in May of 1965. During his time at the school, he began his acting career by participating in the annual faculty plays. Two of his outstanding performances were the title role in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado and Teddy Roosevelt in Arsenic and Old Lace.
In the summer of 1975, Krebs joined the art community of Nantucket by opening a portion of his home as the Krebs Studio/Gallery. Two years later he and his family became year-round residents. He developed his mixed- media Nantucket drawings, which were a unique combination of pen and ink, liquid watercolor, and finally Prismacolor pencil applied on gray or beige stock. These drawings are in private collections in the United States and around the world. Krebs is also known for his impressionistic landscapes and abstract oil paintings. He spent the winter of 2004-05 developing a new series of large abstract canvases entitled “Whispers.” Krebs once told a writer for the Boston Globe, “I paint the bones of Nantucket, the bones that no summer visitor could ever hope to see, those beautiful bones that swell from the sandy earth and support a mantle of gray, of gray and green, and of gray and scarlet.”
In 1978 Mac Dixon, professional actor, director and past Artistic Director of the Theatre Workshop of Nantucket, invited Krebs to play the role of Colonel Pickering in My Fair Lady, which launched Krebs’ acting career on Nantucket. He will be remembered for his performances in Plaza Suite and Cactus Flower and for his direction of Boys Next Door, Rumors, and On Golden Pond.
Krebs became Artistic Director of Theatre Workshop of Nantucket and served in that capacity for 18 years. He was on the board of the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce and the Nantucket Musical Arts Society. He was a past president of the Nantucket Rotary Club and a member of the Nantucket Artist Association.
Warren Krebs is survived by his wife of 42 years Anna Jane Krebs; two daughters and their husbands: Laurie Krebs Hesse and John Hesse of Houston, TX, and Jenn Krebs Rapkin and Andy Rapkin of Guilford, CT. He is also survived by three grandchildren: Michael Krebs Hesse, Lucy Rosa Rapkin, and Nathaniel Reuben Rapkin.