Ask an Apprentice: Andrew Oppmann

Posted August 21, 2023

2023 Ask an Apprentice Andrew Oppmann

In this week's "Ask an Apprentice," we're checking in with apprentice and assistant director Andrew Oppmann on how his summer up the Hill has been going! Join us to learn more about Andrew, what it's like to spend a summer at APT while wedding planning and so much more!

APT: Hi, Andrew! You're getting ready to open R&J, so thanks for taking some time to talk! How has the tech/preview process been going so far?
Andrew Oppmann: The tech process was exciting, overwhelming, exhausting, and also a lot of fun. There’s a lot of stuff to negotiate and fine tune on a show like this. I tried my best to ride the wave of those long days and be present. As we move forward, I’m excited for what audiences will teach us about the play!

APT: Your journey here at APT started last year when you were understudying for Stones in his Pockets! What's it like to be back for the full summer season?
Andrew Oppmann: Being here this summer with my fiancé is a dream come true. I grew up in southeastern Wisconsin and a friend took me to APT for the first time in the summer of 2012 to see Richard III—I had no idea where we were going or what I was about to see—and it changed my life. I’ve been back to see at least one play every year since that summer, so to be here working with this community that has inspired me over the last decade is a full circle moment. So much of what APT is is what I aspire to be as an artist.

APT: That's so cool! Happy you're here! This summer, you worked on Our Town as the assistant director to Tim Ocel. What's it like collaborating in a directorial sense versus as an actor?
Andrew Oppmann: Collaborating as an AD, I’m assisting the director through his process; collaborating as an actor, I have my own process. On Our Town, I would ask myself, ‘What does the room need? How can I support the work that’s happening?’ Occasionally, I’d mention to Tim a moment I found confusing or something new I noticed about the play and we’d talk, but for the most part the job was about being present for the actors working. As an actor on R&J, I get to be inside the telling of the story. I get to play, actually inhabit the work and build the world.

APT: What's something you've learned this summer that has made an impact on the way you work as an actor, director or just as a person in general?
Andrew Oppmann: The life stuff is important. Nurturing what interests me beyond doing plays is important. Being here has encouraged me to find more balance in my life.

APT: Great! You're working alongside fellow apprentice and your fiancé, Erin Mendez Stapleton! What’s it been like planning a wedding while also acting, directing, taking classes and so on?
Andrew Oppmann: It feels too good to be true to be working here together right before we get married. (We’re literally getting married the day the season ends—October 8th.) Planning a wedding while being here has been fun, occasionally stressful, but exciting! Because we’re getting married in Milwaukee, the proximity has made everything a bit easier. (We currently live in New York City.) We also solidified a lot before we got to Spring Green, so our planning since being here has been a lot more detail oriented.

APT: Sounds like smart planning! In your non-existent free time, what do you like to do when you're not performing or working on your next project?
Andrew Oppmann: I took up the Bodhrán (Irish drum) during the pandemic, so I’ll pick that up when I’ve got time. I’m also almost always reading a Brontë related book, either one of their novels or something biographical.

APT: And speaking's your Wild Card Question: You're a proud member of the Brontë Society. If you could have dinner with one Brontë sibling, who would it be and what are you preparing?
Andrew Oppmann: Yes, I am a massive Brontë fan! I’d probably have dinner with Anne, the youngest Brontë sibling. I think she’d be the most gracious and receptive to a fan of her work. Charlotte, though her writing is my favorite, would probably be guarded in conversation, Emily wouldn’t talk much, and Branwell wouldn’t let me get a word in edgewise. I’m preparing a roast of some sort for sure, either beef or lamb, with roasted vegetables and sticky toffee pudding for dessert!

APT: Sounds tasty? Anything else you'd like to share?
Andrew Oppmann: Love and thanks to Tim Ocel for bringing me to APT and taking me along for the ride. Thank you to Carey and Brenda. And to my fiancé Erin, you are my all. Website: IG: @aroppmann