Movies/TV

Woodstock Theatre to premiere 'Upstaged' web series filmed at Opera House

A web series filmed at the Woodstock Opera House will make its big-screen premiere at Classic Cinemas Woodstock Theatre.

The first three roughly 20-minute episodes – about an hour’s worth of film – of “Upstaged – The Series” will be shown at 7:30 p.m. May 17 at the Woodstock Theatre, 209 Main St., Woodstock.

Tickets cost $15 at the door or https://upstaged.yapsody.com/event/index/89261/upstaged-premiere-episodes-1-3. Seating is limited.

Created by Jeff Cook’s Film Stripped Productions, the series is both a tribute to community theater and the Woodstock Opera House, as well as the city of Woodstock, said Cook of Crystal Lake.

Created, written and directed by Cook and filmed inside the Opera House and on the Woodstock Square, “Upstaged” features the staff of a small community theater played by area actors.

The first three episodes tell a complete story, Cook said, and he’s hoping audiences love the characters and root for them – and the series itself – to succeed.

“It’s just kind of a way to build awareness about the series, do something special,” Cook said of the premiere. “This is a pretty cool little showcase of the Woodstock Opera House and the city of Woodstock and other places where we filmed.”

The workplace comedy is described as a story about theater, friendship and families – “the ones we choose, the ones we’re born into and the ones we have thrust upon us!”

Cook calls it a kind of “throwback comedy.”

“It’s the kind of comedy where the people actually like each other,” he said. “So much in comedy sitcoms is insulting each other for 30 minutes. We wanted to make a comedy where people actually like each other and they’re like family. They fight, but underneath the current is always love.”

Cook has filmed six episodes of “Upstaged” so far, with plans to film episodes 7 and 8 at the beginning of summer. From a writing standpoint, he’s working on episode 11.

The goal is to have the first season’s 13 episodes filmed by the end of the fall. The first two episodes already are available on an Upstaged – The Series YouTube channel, while the third episode will make its debut at the May 17 Classic Cinemas premiere.

When the first season is completed, Cook would love to see the series picked up by an online streaming service. He’s hoping a service, such as Hulu or Amazon, will provide funding to film Season 2 in return for the rights to stream it.

“It’s been a lot of people giving their time and talent and energy for no other reason than they believe in it and they believe in me and my wife Karen [the executive producer] and my producing partner Joel Bennett,” Cook said.

“It’s really been gratifying to see how people are excited about it and worked together to create something no one else has created.”

For information, find Upstaged – the Series on Facebook. The show also has a website at www.upstagedtheseries.com.

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