Peninsula Players Theatre, America’s oldest professional resident summer theater and Door County’s theatrical icon, is thrilled to announce its 82nd season performing June 13 through October 15, 2017. Nestled along Door County, Wisconsin’s scenic shore, the award-winning acting company of Peninsula Players has been enthralling generations of audiences in its 600-plus seat, all-weather pavilion since 1935, presenting hundreds of pre-Broadway tryouts, world premières, classic dramas, comedies and musicals.
The Actuary (June 13-July 2) opens the Peninsula Players 82nd season. The World première romantic comedy-drama by Steven Peterson opens with the shock of a “Baby Shower Bombshell,” then moves backwards in time to show how they all got there. A family comedy-drama that centers on Ed Brooks, an actuary, who calls himself the most boring man in the world – or maybe not.
“Ed is married to Barb, who is a sales leader for Bonnie Bay Cosmetics and drives a purple Cadillac,” Vinkler said. “Their daughter Tabitha and her husband Lyle, who is developing a killer app called Whozit, are about to have a baby. Four days before its due date, there's a baby shower at Richard and Avery's, close friends who are engaged to be married.
“The highlight is to be the ‘Baby Shower Bombshell,’ a sealed envelope Ed has brought telling them whether it's a boy or a girl. It does indeed get opened - and there is much more than one surprise inside. Ed takes us back further and further in time to explain all and to show us what he has done for his beloved daughter and wife. It's about family, it's about love and it's about a man who discovers that, perhaps, he is not the most boring man in the world. I, myself, am playing Ed and I'm very excited that Steve, the playwright, will be with us for the entire rehearsal process.”
Peter and the Starcatcher (July 5 – July 23). A swashbuckling and magical adult prequel to Peter Pan. A hilarious play with music by Rick Elice basked on the novel by Davy Barry and Ridley Pearson with music by Wayne Barker. This Tony Award-winning magical play with music has delighted audiences since it opened on Broadway. It is a wildly theatrical adaptation of the best-selling children’s novel series “Peter and the Starcatchers” by David Barry and Ridley Pearson.
“From marauding pirates and jungle tyrants to unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes, ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ very playfully explores the depths of greed and despair…and the bonds of friendship, duty and love,” Vinkler said. “Featuring a dozen actors portraying more than 100 unforgettable characters, it’s that rare kind of theatrical event that can appeal equally to kids - who will be captivated by the sentimental, action-packed plot - and adults - who will admire its humor and imaginative theatricality. And you’ll get to see singing mermaids! I’ve seen it twice and loved it both times!”
The Bridges of Madison County (July 26 - August 13). A ravishingly beautiful musical with music by Jason Robert Brown and book by Marsha Norman. Based on the novel by Robert James Waller, it was one of the best-selling books of the 20th century and made into a movie in 1995. This is the gorgeous musical version of that best-selling story which won the Tony Awards for Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations. Developed by the Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning creative team of Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman, this musical captures the lyrical expanse of America’s heartland along with the yearning entangled in the eternal question “What if…?”
“It’s a beautiful story,” Vinkler said. “Francesca, a lovely Italian woman who married an American soldier to flee WWII-ravaged Italy, looks forward to a rare four days alone on her Iowa farm when her husband and two children head to the 1965 Indiana State Fair. When ruggedly handsome, National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid pulls into her driveway seeking directions, though, what happens in those four days may very well alter the course of Francesca’s life. I didn’t know the book or movie before, but after reading and listening to it, I fell in love with this musical immediately. The romance - the roads we travel, the doors we open, the bridges we cross - I was just left breathless at the end.”
Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime (August 16 to September 3). A delightfully silly comedy chock full of muddled murder attempts – an adaptation by Constance Cox of an Oscar Wilde short story. “If there is a greater contrast to the musical than our fourth show, I don’t know what it is,” Vinkler said.
The play is set in the drawing room of young Lord Arthur’s London home in 1890. His soon-to-be mother-in-law insists that Arthur have his palm read by Podgers, who is all the fashion in town, to see if he’s suitable enough to marry her daughter Sybil. Podgers reads his palm and privately tells Arthur that he will murder someone in the future. Well, if that’s what’s to be, Arthur tells his butler Baines that he'd very much like it to happen before the wedding, as “it would be unfair to Sybil if I murdered somebody after we were married.”
“The two of them decide it ought to be someone related to Arthur and so, like Jeeves and Wooster, off they go, trying to bump off family members one after another in various ways,” Vinkler said. “Needless to say, they’re not very good at it, even after the goofy bomb maker Winkelkopf tries to help. We did a table reading of this last year and giggled all the way through. The sets and costumes should look absolutely beautiful too!”
Almost, Maine (September 5 to October 15). Love is lost and found among residents of a small northern town in John Cariani’s charming off-beat comedy. It takes place in the remote, mythical town of Almost, Maine on a cold, clear, moonless night with the northern lights hovering in the star-filled sky above. Almost’s residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways.
“A sweet, poignant, witty and charming play about love,” Vinkler said. “It’s a series of nine amiably absurdist vignettes that land somewhere between Norman Rockwell and ‘Our Town,’ with a touch of good-natured magic realism and nifty surprise endings. Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. But the bruises heal, and the hearts mend - almost - in this delightful midwinter night’s dream. ‘Almost, Maine’ aims for the heart by way of the funny bone.”
More information on the 2017 season will be forthcoming in the new year Vinkler said. The creative teams and casts will be selected from regional talent pools and will be announced at later date. Peninsula Players is a professional non-profit theater that collaborates with members of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), the union of professional actors and stage managers; United Scenic Artists (USA), is a labor union and professional association of Designers, Artists and Craftspeople; and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), a theatrical union of stage directors and choreographers.
Season ticket sales for the 2017 season begin in January. Individual ticket sales will open in March by phone and online. Advance reservations for group sales and season tickets can be made by phone. Gift Certificates for the 2017 season can be ordered by visiting www.peninsulaplayers.com and by calling the Box Office at 920.868.3287.