...thank you!

Upstage Players is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

UpStage Players is sponsored by CAC (Cuyahoga Arts & Culture), Downtown Kiwanisand the Children's Guild

UPSTAGE PLAYERS  ~  We Work for the Kids!  ~  (216) 862-8892  ~  info@upstage-players.com  ~  VENUE ADDRESS  17109 Lakeshore Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44110

Live Broadway Children's Musical Productions


Mary Walsh-Hilf is an Upstage alumni who acted in the shows for twelve years, and has served as the Assistant Stage Manager for the last two. Currently she is studying at Allegheny College, hoping to earn a degree in Theatre with a minor in Community and Justice Studies. Upstage is her favorite Cleveland theater, but she also spends every summer interning with the Great Lakes Theatre education department and acting in their annual summer benefit, most recently as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.

Sue Otcasek has been a volunteer with the Upstage Players since their second production. She was bitten by the bug when her daughter Madelyn performed in Annie. She was promptly elected to be in charge of concessions for the shows when Bernie discovered there was money to be made in popcorn, pop, and candy. Mrs. Otacesk also helps out with set design and painting. Her husband Mike always and has a hand in speciality props. She is proud to be a part of the Upstage family. It has become an important part of her life and always looks forward to the theater season. She would like to thank the Walsh family for welcoming her and her family in the wonderful world of Upstage.

Christine Strlich...info coming soon!

Lou DeNardo is an alumni and repeat volunteer who was in Upstage ever since he was young. After he was in Upstage, he went to a performing arts academy where he honed his skills and now he helps with Upstage because it is in his blood. While he does work with Upstage he also writes and works on his own projects on the side.



Photo by: AGrayPhoto.com

Go behind the scenes at UpStage Players and you'll find a truly dedicated, all-volunteer staff!


Bernadette Walsh, Executive Director/Producer, started UpStage 25 years ago because she could not find a quality, affordable theatre program for her daughters. She is a former professional volunteer director for the Salvation Army where she oversaw the Coats for Kids program. She is a former Euclid council member. She manages the volunteers and non-profit capabilities of UpStage.


Carrie N. Walsh-Hilf, M.Ed is the Artistic Director of UpStage Players. She has been directing since its inception in 1994. She earned her theater degree from Cleveland State University. She is a licensed teacher and work in the Euclid School district. She recently earned her Masters of Education. Her two children have participated in the program and she sees the benefit in their leadership, collaboration, and confidence. She also is proud to be a member of the Downtown Kiwanis and Builders Club Moderator.

Kris Walsh, BS has been the choreographer for twenty years with Upstage Players. She graduated from Cleveland State University with a Bachelor of Arts focusing on graphic design. Kris has worked for various theater companies, including the scene department of the Cleveland Playhouse. She is currently working as a marketing specialist for a commercial realty company.

Bud Hilf, AA is the Technical Director and has been with UpStage Players since the first rehearsal in 1995.  He has stage managed at several other Cleveland-area theatres as well. Bud works as a title examiner with Ohio Real Title, a chauffeur with American Limousine, and as a personal umbrella holder to the stars.


Edwin Pouncival Smith, MSN, RN, CCRN is the Music Director/Vocal Coach and Electronic Communications Director with UpStage and has been volunteering with UpStage for over 10 years. He recently received a Master of Science in Nursing from Herzing University and has a career in critical care nursing. He was recently promoted to an Assistant Nurse Manager in the Medical ICU at Cleveland Clinic Main Campus and received board-certification as a critical care nurse. Prior to his nursing career, he participated in many Broadway shows with Near West Theatre, where he received his theatre training for over 10 years.


Mariah Robertson is a lifetime UpStage Player. Her family has been involved with UpStage since the beginning and she started acting in the plays at the tender age of five. After aging out she still had the urge to give back to UpStage the most important way she knew how, giving them her time. She has come back every year learning new aspects of the theater from green room care, to make up, and her most recent role of helping backstage with the tech crew. Currently she is working at Rick Case Hyundai biding her time till she finds the next big move in her life.

Stephanie DeNardo has been part of the UpStage family for years. She serves as the Green Room Manager. She is an alumni Mom and feels compelled to continue volunteering with UpStage because of the family feel of the group and because she enjoys seeing the kids grow up with UpStage. Stephanie R. DeNardo looks forward to this season would like to thank all the people who make the group possible to continue to grow, including her son Lou J. DeNardo who is an alumni that continues to help volunteer with the group.

UpStage Staff 


Angela Bloom, Kris Walsh, Bernadette Walsh, Kris Walsh-Hilf, Bud Walsh and Stephanie DeNardo.