KO Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Roberts Theater


On Friday, Dec. 2, KO celebrated the Roberts Theater 50th anniversary with a retrospective concert. A number of special guests attended the concert from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., including two-time Tony nominee Kate Baldwin, Jake Kulak ’18, Nat Reeves, and Savanna Jones. KO faculty, staff, and students, also contributed to the night through various performances.

In 1969, anticipating a need for more space on campus due to the Kingswood and Oxford merge, Edward and Anne Roberts donated money towards the construction of the Roberts Theater we know today. The construction began in 1970 and was completed in the summer of 1972, marking this year 50 years since the building’s opening. The building expanded facilities for the arts, drama, photography, music, science, and computer programs at KO. 

Edward and Anne wanted the space to be one that was open for the whole community, not just KO, and the space has certainly fulfilled their dream over the years. Anne Roberts was a member of the Mark Twain Masters, a theater group that went on to give many performances on the stage in Roberts auditorium. Over the years, the Goodman Banks series has brought in many famous speakers and performers including Dave Brubeck and Stanton Getz. Brenda Semmelrock has enjoyed seeing so many talented guests perform in Roberts Theater in her time at KO. “I’ve seen so many and I can’t even tell you how blessed I feel to have the opportunity to experience that,” she said.

Junior Anna Tippner performed a contemporary duet with Senior Frank Pu and also performed with KO’s choir alongside Kate Baldwin. “Being able to sing with Kate Baldwin was an out of body experience,” Anna said. “She is a remarkably talented Broadway artist, who many look up to. I also was able to take a picture with her which I will cherish forever!”

Junior Avery Hersh attended the concert and said the performances by the teachers were her favorite part. Upper School Administrative Coordinator Lindsay Perkins took to the stage to sing, while Head of the Upper School Dan Gleason, Band Director Todd Millen, creative arts teacher Wayne Pierce, and creative arts teacher David Zucker joined Nat Reeves in a jazz ensemble. “I really enjoyed how I got to see the faculty perform,” Avery said. “It was a fun addition to the concert.”

Director of Theater Kyle Reynolds wanted the night to serve as a reminder of the importance our theater has in our community. “Too often I think we take our theater for granted – it’s the place where our community gathers the most, where we hear strong words of wisdom from our students and faculty, where we applaud the very best arts programming, and so much more,” he said. “I’m happy that we are celebrating the theater!” 

Overall, the night was a great way for KO students and faculty along with special guests to celebrate the success of Roberts Theater!