All About Us

Treehouse Theater (THT) offers year-round theater education classes, specialty workshops, and performance opportunities EXCLUSIVELY  for youth, ages of 4-18.  THT seeks to inspire youth to explore their individuality, creativity, and self-confidence while developing responsibility and a strong work ethic.

Formed in 2012, THT is a 501c3 federal nonprofit organization ~ EIN #45-5119877 ~ operating by the grace of multi-talented Board members, limited Staff, and countless volunteers.  Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. 




To enrich the lives of children and their families by providing quality theater education and performance opportunities

educational arts PROGRAMMING

Local Musical Productions

Local Plays

Theater Education classes

Group rehearsals and trip to national Junior Theater Festival

Workshops with Special Guests


Grant applications

Annual home and corporate support mailings

Playbill advertisers

Facebook fundraisers

MURDER MYSTERY DINNER adult fundraisers 

NIGHT IN THE TREEHOUSE signature fundraiser, featuring the talented student performers of Treehouse Theater


Executive Director - KAREN ROHRER

Born and raised in Manitowoc, Karen sang with Jim Miller and danced ten years at the Jean Wolfmeyer studio.  After earning a BA in Finance from St. Norbert College, Karen eventually returned to Manitowoc and volunteer extensively within the community for 20 years.  Treehouse Theater "branched out" from Karen's passion for our community and her desire to work WITH and FOR children of all ages.  Often found working behind the scenes, Karen loves the annual opportunity to design creative choreography for the Treehouse Theater JTF performing team.

Education Director - ERIN NYCZ

Erin earned degrees in English and Theater from UW-Madison and has 15 years of experience working as a professional actor and arts educator.  Her greatest role to date is being mom for two daughters and she is thrilled to be back home in Manitowoc.  She has spent the past few years teaching private piano and voice lessons plus leading a children’s choir.  You may have seen her onstage in the title role of Masquers production of Mary Poppins!


Costume Rental Coordinator - DANIELLE FRAHM


President - Martin Schaller

Vice President - Doug Odell 

Secretary - Warren Schmidt

Treasurer - John Iannitello

Susan Bown, Jeff Brandenburg, Denise Kitzerow, Richard Ladwig, Eric Nycz, Jamie Vergenz



Chair:  Erin Nycz

Youth:  Alethea Quick

Adults:  Lisa Devins-Horohoe, Madde Gilmore, Lisa Heili, Margaret Iannitello, Jonathan Medendorp, Katie Jo Shimulunas, Beth Schoepp, and Deanne Stokes



Chair:  Martin Schaller

Board Members:  Doug Odell, John Iannitello, Warren Schmidt



Chair:  Jeff Brandenburg

Board Members:  John Iannitello, Richard Ladwig, Jamie Vergenz

Adults: Sara Schaller


Chair:  Madde Gilmore

Board Members:  Susan Bown, Denise Kitzerow, Eric Nycz

Youth:  Noah Van Ells

Adults:  Danielle Frahm, Elizabeth Geissler, Ginger Van Ells


Chair: Karen Rohrer

Youth: Alice Ehle, Ethan Stokes

Adults: Betsie Auchter, Danielle Frahm, Jean Fuhs, Madde Gilmore, Katie Ludolph, Shannon Meulbroek, Erin Nycz, Deanne Stokes



Strengthened by community partnership, Treehouse Theater (THT) has been proactively supporting youth education and development through quality performing arts programming since 2012.  THT instruction with the guiding principles of respect, trust, leading by example, healthy communication, and teamwork produces students that can then strengthen the casts of arts organizations and their own public or private school theater programs.


To date, THT has produced 30 high-quality local musical productions, won awards at eight of the past nine Junior Theater Festival national competitions, designed and built their first rehearsal studio on Franklin St, launched theater education classes, hosted several specialty arts workshops, worked numerous fundraising events, and bought the building at 910 Washington St.  Once limited to Manitowoc and Two Rivers, families now come from Sheboygan, Brillion, Green Bay, and beyond to participate in programming and join in the audiences.

Year-round operations are guided by the Board of Directors. Staff members include integral founder of the organization and Executive Director KAREN ROHRER, Education Director ERIN NYCZ, and Costume Rental Coordinator DANIELLE FRAHM.  Believing that youth will thrive from the opportunity to work with a variety of area arts enthusiasts, THT secures a fresh directing team for each musical.  Interested students can choose to audition for the opportunity to appear onstage as cast members, apply as Jr. production team members, or volunteer to assist as members of the stage or technical crews.  Each cast is a blend of new and returning student actors, all of whom are encouraged to explore their artistic individuality, be creative and responsible, improve their listening skills, and gain self-confidence while making new friends.  Each cast and crew works together to develop a high-quality music theater production for sharing with the local community and/or showcasing at the Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta.

To further the mission of building confident leaders, THT offers the student leadership development program.  When accepted as Jr. production team members, students between ages 14-18 can observe the organizational process and grow to appreciate the many challenges encountered during each production. Under the guidance of an adult mentor, some of these students have later stepped forward to lead one aspect of a THT summer musical.  The two sessions of the 2021 summer productions of Annie KIDS were led by students in the positions of Director, Music Director, Choreographer, Stage Manager, Tech Design, Make up Design, and Hair Design.

Each educational class and musical production serve to strengthen the extended community by attracting students from multiple public and private schools as well as from home school settings.  The April 2022 production of The Lion King Jr  will featured 55 student actors who attend 24 different schools or are home schooled.  THT takes great pride in exceeding the commonly low expectations for youth theater and audiences are repeatedly impressed by the high-quality sets, costumes, lighting, sound, and talent level of the student performers.



THT purchased the building located at 910 Washington St in downtown Manitowoc in July of 2019.  Thanks to 5,000 hours of volunteer labor, generous sub-contractors, and supporters of the capital campaign, THT now operates within this 11,000 sq. ft. facility on two floors, plus a full basement for storage.  The Executive Director designed a floor plan that focused on expanding future income streams, including a Community Room and Kitchenette that are available for rent, four one-on-one vocal and instrumental instruction rooms, and a huge room for storing all of our fabulous costume sets that are available for rent (

Progress photos of the building's transformation can be found on our Facebook page.