theatre primer

Need help navigating the world of theater? Let Off Stage and On The Air be your guide

Need help navigating the world of theater? Let Off Stage and On The Air be your guide

Austin Photo Set: News_Shelley Seale_Ballet Austin_Light The Holocaust & Humanity Project_march 2012_2
Ballet Austin’s Light the Holocaust and Humanity Project directed by Stephen Mills. Photo by Amitava Sarkar
Austin Photo Set: News_Kerri_off stage and on air_april 2012_logo
Off the Stage and On the Air
Austin Photo Set: News_Shelley Seale_Ballet Austin_Light The Holocaust & Humanity Project_march 2012_2
Austin Photo Set: News_Kerri_off stage and on air_april 2012_logo

“I want see more theater,” I often say to myself. But I never quite know where to begin — there are a lot of theater companies in Austin.  If you’re in the same boat, then you should check out Off Stage and On The Air, Wednesday afternoons on KOOP. 

“We have a great time on the show,” says host Lisa Scheps. “Stuart Moulton my main co-host, and Nicole Shiro, my other co-host; we spend the first half hour just talking about what’s going on around the country.”

Mixed in with the discussion, you’ll get to enjoy recordings from Broadway classics along with up-and-coming shows. The program brings in local groups to chat as well. “I love having musicals on,” Lisa tells me. “I just love it when there is relatively large, vibrant, fun group to talk to.”

 Mixed in with the discussion, you’ll get to enjoy recordings from Broadway classics along with up-and-coming shows.

The show began three years ago, when Lisa became interested in radio and community events and decided to get involved with KOOP. She noticed no one was talking about theater on air and decided to use her knowledge from her Broadway stage manager years to create the beloved program.  

For Lisa, theatermania started early, when she was involved in children’s productions, and grew as she got to see big-time musicals. “The first professional musical I saw that really affected me was West Side Story at the Houston Music Theater,” she says.

Her love of theater was solidified with a trip to New York City. There, she saw her first Broadway production, Fiddler on the Roof.

“That changed me. That was such an incredible show. I was eleven years old and convinced they built the theaters for the shows because the scenery was so lavish.”

Locally, Lisa was left breathless by Ballet Austin’s Light the Holocaust and Humanity Project, directed by Stephen Mills. “I had to blink. I had to pinch myself. I had to say, ‘Am I really in Austin?’ These dancers were phenomenal.”

Lisa tries to see as many productions as she can around town, citing Different Stages, The Austin Playhouse and The Vortex as some of her favorites theaters to frequent.

For those like me looking for a show to go to, I asked her what she is excited to check out. “Zach Scott’s Laramie Project and Laramie Project 10 Years Later. That’s all part of the Light the Holocaust and Humanity project, that’s not only the ballet, but encompasses a lot of other things,” Lisa tells me.

The Vortex’s Humpty and The Austin Playhouse’s production of A Room with a View are all productions she’ll be checking out. You also have until April 8 to see Wit right next to the KOOP studios at the City Theatre.

Wit, along with its star Cynthia Nixon, tops Lisa’s 2012 Tony picks. As far as musicals, “Unless Newsies really kicks it, I think Spiderman is going to win.”

Make sure to tune into Off Stage and On the Air in May to get the scoop on all the Tony nominees and front-runners.

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Listen to Off Stage and On The Air Wednesdays from 2-3 p.m. on KOOP 91.7.  You can also listen to archived shows on their website here and on itunes (although all copyrighted music will be cut from the itunes version)