Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors are volunteers that come from many different career fields such as public education, business management, and scientific studies. Their love of the creative and performing arts brings them together at UpStage Artists!
Michael first started acting when he was about 10 years old and couldn't get enough of it throughout school. He began acting in community theater at the beginning of 2019, nearly a decade after his last performance in High School and was equally entranced. He has been seen in several shows since then, particularly in theaters around Prince George's County. An artist at heart, he also enjoys writing and drawing comics in his spare time. He is happy to keep theater as a large part of his life with UpStage Artists and is excited for the future of this company.
John ran his own theater company Over the Edge Productions for seven years. He studied the Meisner Method with Vince Bandille and Directing with Michael Harron. John has been acting for over 20 years. He taught acting to young people and teens. John has performed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and now Maryland. John 's play Little Marie & Sal meet Carmine the Fish won second place in a play festival in New York. One of John's favorite roles was Uncle Louie in Lost in Yonkers where he played opposite his son.
Rick has been involved in the arts since he was a teenager. He has managed several successful companies and groups. He is former President of the Board of Directors and producer of the Prince George's Summer Teen Theatre, one of the longest-running teen theater groups in the country at the time. He is also the founder and former artistic director of The Parkland Players, the theater group at Parkland Magnet Middle School for Aerospace Technology in Rockville, MD. He has directed shows throughout the State of Maryland. Although he appears on stage, he is a director at heart.
Anna Fitzmaurice grew up in Bowie, MD where she got her start in theater through the St. Pius X Youth Players’ summer musicals and her Destination Imagination team where she dabbled in improv. At The Catholic University of America, where she graduated with a BS in Physics and Math, Anna continued to perform in school productions of Macbeth (Macduff’s Child) and Antigone (Chorus). Anna is currently a Ph.D. student in the University of Maryland Physics Department, where her research focuses on particle acceleration in solar flares. She is excited to finally be on the other side of the stage, helping to make fun and accessible community theater through UpStage Artists.
At Large Member
Originally from India, Harsha came to the US 14 years ago and currently lives in Maryland, he has been involved in the arts since very young age. However, growing up, Harsha couldn’t pursue his acting career as he had two choices either become an Engineer/Doctor or get Disowned. He chose to be an engineer as he was sick for 3 days after dissecting a cockroach in his science class. Harsha has written several couplets and most recently he has started his own story blog. He likes to go backpacking on Appalachian Trail with his friend, that inspired him to write his story blog (in progress). Harsha likes to do standup comedy as well and has performed few times for family & friends in a limited manner. Harsha is very thankful to his son Om Vardhan as through him he was able to get in contact with the wonderful Upstage-artists team. He is excited to be part of the Upstage Artist team and continue to learn and grow. Harsha wants to implement innovative theatrical experience that not only will entertain but also bring awareness and educate people about arts and certain matters, also help foster the unnoticed/underserved talents in the artistic society.
At Large Member
Melvin Smith is a North Carolina native who now resided in Prince George’s County, Maryland. He has
performed in several productions in the DMV area, including productions with Upstage Artists, Silver
Spring Stage, Dominion Stage, and The Gaithersburg Arts Barn with the Kentland Community Players.
He is an award winner, having captured the 2021 Broadway Regional Award as Best Performance, for his role as Harold Wilson in A Black and White Cookie. Melvin is excited for the opportunity to help
advance community theater through Upstage Artists.
At Large Member
Joanne Breen was born in Winnipeg Manitoba, and was quickly nicknamed “the Jumping Bean”!
Gymnastics, dance and theater have filled her life from a very young age. Tap dancing grabbed
her heart at 17 years old, and never let go- having danced and performed wherever she lived-
most notably in Portland OR- as a member of The Skylark Tappers, The Portland Tap
Connection and Northwest Senior Theatre- (aside from a brief stint in a pre-show performance
for the Radio City Rockettes…with the Stellar Dancers Jr Rockettes )!
As a lifelong theater buff, and Broadway show aficionado- Joanne is THRILLED to join Upstage
Artists Community Theatre and encourages participation for all! Everyone can contribute to the
magic of theater- from your theater seat, as a backstage volunteer, as a performer or as a
patron- All are welcome! Let’s have fun!
At Large Member
Polly discovered Upstage Artists when an announcement for the Fall 2022 production of And Then There Were None appeared in her social media feed. She found the show so impressive that she decided to audition for the next one which was Arsenic and Old Lace. She won the part of Martha Brewster and had a great time working with the talented, dedicated and fun folks at Upstage Artists. All of Polly's previous experience in theater had been in high school so community theater was a whole new world. As a board member, she hopes to help advance Upstage Artists' mission to bring high quality theater to the local community and to get the community involved in theater! In her non-theater life, Polly works in research development at the University of Maryland and plays a ridiculous amount of soccer.