Theatre Tulsa Presents ‘Up the Down Staircase’

TULSA PLAYERS: From left, W. Bryan Thompson, Tim Bowman and Debra Hunter will star in “Up the Down Staircase??? at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center March 27-28 and April 2-4 at 8 p.m., and March 29 at 2 p.m. For ticket information, see

Courtesy Theatre Tulsa

Theatre Tulsa, in cooperation with Clark Theatre, presents “Up the Down Staircase,” a joint production with the City of Tulsa Parks and Recreation Department, to be performed at the Liddy Doenges Theatre in Tulsa PAC. Performance dates are March 27-28 and April 2-4 at 8 p.m., and March 29 at 2 p.m.

The show is directed by Frank Gallagher and Julie Tattershall. The set is by Erin Scarrberry and Joel Cheatham. The lights are by Anthony Batchelder, the Stage Manager is Cathy Blackmore, and the producer is Anthony Batchelder.

The cast includes Cara Cox, Beth Anne Herrman, Deborah Hunter, Courtney Rodriquez, George Romero, Kelly Spencer, Bryan Thompson, Sherry Zyskowsky, Ron Friedberg, Phil Blackmore, Tim Bowman, Erin Bridwell, Chazz Browne, Ethan Cartell, Grace Cuellar, Jon Dicandeloro, Scorpio Flynn, Tanner Friend, Jose Gonzalez, Michaela’ Hanneyer, Madeline Lackey, Samantha Lake, Erika Loney, Ryan Mannschreck, Julia Mills, Hannah Moore, Simone Summers and Nicholas Thomas.

Best remembered as the 1967 movie with Sandy Dennis, “Up the Down Staircase” tells the touching and humorous story of a new teacher in an inner-city high school. Confronted with situations her Ivy League education never prepared her for, Sylvia Barrett struggles to find ways to reach kids who don’t care. Or do they?
The directors’ vision is to update the play to have more of an impact in today’s modern times. The original was almost a “Laugh-In” version of stock characters coming in and out of the classroom. The students in the play were played more for comedy. It was easy to fit the play into today’s classrooms and the problems young teachers still grapple with. Just as in 1967, schools are over run by the educational bureaucracy and mountains of monotonous paper work that interfere with the students’ actual learning process. Sylvia must learn to accept the kids as they are and motivate them by example. Trust runs both ways and a classroom where real ideas are exchanged is built by mutual trust and not practical rules. All the problems of the 1967 movie of teen suicide and bullying still exist and we need caring teachers to create a different model in which students are seen as individuals and not stamped out by cookie cutters.

For more information on Clark Theatre, visit, or Theatre Tulsa visit

Clark Theatre is a youth theater program and is part of the city of Tulsa Park and Recreation Department. Clark Theatre is located at 11440 E. Admiral (1/4 mile east of Garnett on Admiral). For more information, please call 669-6455 or 746-5065, or visit the Web site

Theatre Tulsa and Clark Theatre are members of the Tulsa Area Community Theatre Alliance and the Oklahoma Community Theatre Association.

This production is made possible by the City of Tulsa Parks and Recreation Department, the Oklahoma Arts Council, the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the Williams Companies, Urban Tulsa Weekly, Dale Gillman Antiques, Donna Simmons/Tulsa Tech Broken Arrow and all the proud sponsors of Theatre Tulsa and Clark Theatre.

Updated 03-25-2009

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