Family Flair for the Dramatic & Theatrical
For Upstage Theatre owners Brett and Jenny Rottmayer, family is everything. Their Edmond venue offers year-round entertainment for all generations to enjoy, with plenty of performance opportunities for both kids and adults. As the parents of seven, the Rottmayers cherish working alongside their own growing children in this family business. “We love that it gives our kids opportunities to be together,” says Jenny.
Bringing the Community Together
Ever since Upstage began in 2010, the Rottmayers have been committed to serving the entire Edmond community. Their programming includes performance classes for young people, as well as community theater productions with open auditions. They’re always thrilled when multiple generations of the same family participate in Upstage’s annual outdoor summer musicals.
The Rottmayers’ children, ages 4 months to 15 years, are a vital part of the Upstage community. All of their kids who are old enough to perform have had onstage roles, and the oldest teens also help with behind-the-scenes work like lighting and tech support. Some of their children have been bitten harder than others by the acting bug, but all the Rottmayers enjoy being part of productions.
Like all performance venues, Upstage Theatre struggled when the Covid-19 pandemic began. Their children’s involvement with the theater company motivated Brett and Jenny not to give up. “We knew that no matter what happened, we wanted to keep on keeping on,” says Jenny.
The Rottmayers also wanted to keep bringing the joy of theater to other families who were struggling through the lockdowns. Upstage never closed completely. Spring 2020 performances took place remotely, and they returned to live productions in the fall with extra precautions in place. They’re now back to full-scale performances.
The first show of 2023 is right around the corner. On January 19-22 Upstage will perform a community theater production of Disenchanted, the story of what happens to fairy tale princesses “ever after.” This musical comedy is geared toward mature audiences, with an all-female cast. “It’s not been done here in Oklahoma before, so we’re excited to premiere it,” says Jenny.
Youth classes begin soon. As always, students in the senior and junior classes will stage full musical productions, with performances in April 2023. For both groups, this season’s show is a fun-filled youth version of Sponge Bob: The Musical. The mini class, pre-K through first grade, will perform a smaller-scale musical, Go Fish.
Looking ahead to summer, the company is already preparing for their annual musical at Mitch Park Amphitheater. This year they’ll stage a beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Cinderella.
Something for Everyone
Upstage also offers private acting, dance, and voice lessons. There’s a summer magic camp for elementary school children in July. They host birthday parties at the venue, or character actor bookings for a party at your own location.
Both Jenny and Brett work full-time but remain closely involved in every facet of Upstage. Brett oversees the technical, behind-the-scenes aspects. Jenny serves as artistic director and teaches the junior and mini classes. The talented faculty also includes Patrick Towne and Emma Cook.
Interested kids are welcome to enroll in this semester’s production classes. No acting experience is required. Auditions take place January 21. Actors of all ages and experience levels are invited to audition in March for Cinderella.
If you’re not an actor yourself, you can support Upstage as a fan by attending the reasonably priced performances. As a nonprofit organization, the theater also welcomes donations. Celebrating 13 years of bringing musical theater to Edmond, Jenny and Brett look forward to serving the community for many years to come.
Upstage Theatre is located at 844 W. Danforth, Edmond.
To purchase tickets or enroll in classes, contact them at (405) 285-5803 or upstagetheatreok.com.