Peninsula Players Theatre, America’s oldest professional resident summer theater and Door County’s theatrical icon is pleased to announce its 74th season running June 16 through October 18, 2009.
A major role of Peninsula Players’ Artistic Director Greg Vinkler is play selection. Vinkler not only looks for shows to stir excitement in patrons, but also in the resident company of actors and designers.
“Enthusiasm builds in the company to meet the challenges of each show,” Vinkler says, “and the creative results are expressed in the final product on stage.”
Selecting a variety of works to highlight the Players 74th year of professional theater in northeast Wisconsin was especially exciting for Vinkler this year. In addition to his work for Peninsula Players Vinkler is also in previews for Broadway’s “West Side Story.”
“I am always on the look-out for theatrical works to bring to Door County audiences,” Vinkler notes. “I read and re-read scripts. I go see shows. I take time to search not only for thrilling new theatrical pieces to bring to the stage, but also classic pieces that engage audiences. I believe the choices I have made will offer audiences a thrilling, challenging and above all exciting experience at the theater.”
The Peninsula Players will open its 74th season June 16 with David Rambo’s “The Lady with all the Answers.” This comedy is drawn from the life and letters of Ann Landers, the “Mistress of Manners,” with the cooperation of her daughter Margo Howard. From an accomplished playwright who has producer credits for “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” Rambo delivers a hilarious look into the life of Ann Landers. If one needed blunt advice, they wrote to Ann. But to whom can Ann turn when life hands her lemons? “The Lady with all the Answers” will run through July 5.
Next up will be a double-feature musical “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine” (July 8 – July 26) with book and libretto by Dick Vosburgh, music by Frank Lazarus and additional lyrics and music by Jerry Herman. This Tony Award-winning musical comedy is first a musical tribute from the ushers at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, who imagine themselves upon the silver screen; then in Act Two audiences are off to a Russian mansion and a fast-paced comedy à la the Marx Brothers, including tap dancing and rubber chickens!
From July 29 through August 16 the Peninsula Players presents the Midwest première of “Is He Dead?” by Mark Twain, adapted by David Ives. Written in 1898, the play was not published until it was rediscovered by Twain scholar, Shelly Fisher Fishkin, while doing research work at Berkley. First performed on Broadway in 2007, it garnered a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor. Millet, a young painter, fakes his death in order to pay off his girlfriend Marie’s debts. Millet then puts on a dress and passes himself off as his own sister while figuring a way to come back to life, don trousers again and marry Marie!
“Wait Until Dark” a thriller by Franklin Knott moves onto the stage from August 19 through Sept. 6. Sinister con men, who are willing to kill for what they want, meet their match in a courageous blind woman. They claim to seek material evidence against her husband, who is implicated in a murder. Susy struggles to outwit them in a cunning game of cat and mouse. “Wait Until Dark” is a meticulously crafted thrill-ride which was adapted to film in 1968 staring Audrey Hepburn.
Closing the season and bringing fast-paced adventure to the stage is “Around the World in 80 Days” (Sept. 9 – Oct. 18), adapted by Mark Brown based on the novel by Jules Verne. Take a whirlwind spin around the globe with fearless adventurer Phileas Fogg in a comic, family-friendly escapade as Fogg races to save the fortune he wagered.
Peninsula Players has been entertaining and exciting audiences since 1935, when the theater opened behind the Bonnie Brook Motel in Fish Creek on July 25 with Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever.” The company was founded by a brother and sister team, Caroline and Richard Fisher, who dreamed of an artistic utopia in the northwoods where actors, designers and technicians could focus on their craft while being surrounded by nature in a contemplative setting.
Peninsula Players moved to the theater’s present location along the shore of Green Bay in 1937. Prior to performances, patrons relax on the grounds while watching the setting sun over the waters of Green Bay from the cedar-lined shore and enjoying the ambience of the beer garden and various other gardens featuring flora and native greens.
The Fishers’ dream lives on as professional actors, directors and designers work side-by-side with college interns while living on the Players 16-acre campus as they bring audiences a variety of works including dramas, mysteries, comedies and musicals. In the fall of 2005, the troupe closed its season early to being construction on its new stagehouse and audience pavilion
“We hope you join the Peninsula Players in its 74th year,” Vinkler says. “From warm-hearted glimpses of a down-to-earth writer’s life to light comic romps, from romance to song and dance, from the thrill of mystery to a whirl-wind adventure around the world – we have so much for everyone to enjoy!”
The Peninsula Players perform Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. in the summer. With the opening of the fall show Sept. 9 curtain times are Tuesday through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. The closing performance of each show will have a 4 p.m. matinee, July 5, July 26, August 16, Sept. 6 and Oct. 19. Season, group and individual tickets are available. Individual ticket prices range from $30, $33 to $35; there are no performances on Mondays. For more information or to reserve tickets phone the Peninsula Players’ box office at 920.868.3287 or visit the website at www.peninsulaplayers.com.