Woodminster Summer Musicals

Woodminster Summer Musicals

Jim and Harriet Schlader have been staging Woodminster Summer Musicals since 1967. In the Spark episode “Community Institutions for the Arts,” take a behind-the-scenes look at as the Schladers direct cast and crew for their production of “Singin’ in the Rain” with only 40 hours of rehearsal over three weeks.

After completing successful Broadway careers — Harriet was a dancer at Radio City Music Hall, while Jim acted in original productions of “The Music Man” and “Brigadoon” — the Schladers moved to Oakland and founded Producers Associates, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing American musical theater to new generations. Since its inception in 1967, Producers Associates Inc. has staged more than one hundred productions, making summertime Broadway musicals along-standing tradition for many Bay Area families at the Woodminster Amphitheater in Oakland’s Joaquin Miller Park.

Besides providing an opportunity for family members to come together and enjoy American musical theater, the long-time married couple has transformed Woodminster into a family legacy with the passing of the directorial torch to their son, Joel. However, far from retiring, Jim and Harriet continue to be involved at Woodminster, with Jim planning to stay on as producer, and Harriet continuing to manage the box-office and oversee costumes and choreography.

To date, Jim and Harriet have directed more than 2000 actors on stage, including their own four children. Many of these performers have continued to return to Woodminster over the years, such as choreographer Cynthia Ferrer and actor Carl Danielsen. Ferrer, who started at Woodminster when she was thirteen, says “I always feel likethe best stuff I learned, everything I learned, I learned here.” Carl Danielsen, whose role in “Singin’ in the Rain” marks his fifty-first show at Woodminster, attributes his career in theater to his “second parents” Jim and Harriet, without whom, he says, “I wouldn’t be in the theater.”

Woodminster Amphitheater
Where: 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd., Oakland
Phone: (510) 531-9597

Woodminster Summer Musicals 31 July,2015Spark
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