Peninsula Players Theatre is thrilled to bring “Ghost The Musical” by Bruce Joel Rubin, Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard to Door County audiences. This musical romantic-thriller about the power of love performs through August 18 and is based on the Academy Award-winning film by Bruce Joel Rubin.
Will Skrip, an actor, singer and dancer, is thrilled to return to Peninsula Players for his second season. He first visited Door County in 2012 for an ensemble role in “Chicago” in which he sang and danced in a top hat and tails, as well as a pink bunny suit, with Jennifer Knox’s Roxy.
Since 2012, Skrip has portrayed several princes, including Prince Hunter in “Sleeping Beauty” for Drury Lane Oakbrook, Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf in “Into the Woods” for The Hypocrites/Mercury Theatre as well as Farquaad in “Shrek” and Prince Eric in “Disney’s Little Mermaid” for Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
He has performed in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “Carousel” and “My Fair Lady,” Porchlight Music Theater’s “Babes in Arms,” Paramount’s “Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “Legally Blonde” and “Mary Poppins.”
While performing in “A Murder is Announced” this summer at Peninsula Players, Skrip was preparing to add Sam Wheat to his musical theater resume. Sam Wheat may not be a role that immediately comes to mind, but if someone mentions Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore or the movie “Ghost” to you, you might go, ahh!
In “Ghost The Musical,” Sam and Molly are a young couple whose relationship takes a shocking turn after Sam’s untimely death. Trapped between two worlds, Sam refuses to leave Molly when he learns she is in grave danger. Portraying a ghost may seem daunting, but Skrip has been building up to the demanding role.
Skrip says the most challenging role he has performed is that of Tony in “West Side Story.” “I’ve had the pleasure of playing Tony twice, first in 2016, and again this past winter,” he said. “Once with Chicago’s Paramount Theatre and more recently with Berkeley Playhouse in Berkeley, California. It’s a role that operates at extremes – an incredibly demanding emotional arc and vocal range. It required such focus and endurance, but has definitely prepared me to play Sam in ‘Ghost’- there are many, many similarities between the two roles!”
Even though the film was a hit at the box office in 1990, Skrip didn’t watch the movie until he was called to audition for the role. “I certainly knew about the iconic moments from the film, but was completely charmed by the entire thing,” he said. “It’s such a timeless, beautiful story.”
While Skrip was performing at night in “A Murder is Announced” he was rehearsing for “Ghost The Musical.” “The rehearsal process is fast-paced and intense, but always very fun,” Skrip said. “The first couple of days were devoted to learning the music with our musical director, Valerie Maze, which is always my favorite part because it’s so exciting to hear everyone’s voices together. And this cast can sing!”
The story of “Ghost The Musical” takes place in a variety of physical locations, from an elevator and subway to a café, loft apartment, offices, sidewalks and a hospital. “There are a ton of physical challenges, but our director, Linda Fortunato and set designer, Jeff Kmiec, have incredibly creative solutions to designate all the different locations while moving fluidly as the movie does,” Skrip said. “It’s going to look absolutely amazing.”
Cast as Molly is another Peninsula Players’ veteran, Ashley Lanyon, whose stage credits at the theater include “The Bridges of Madison County,” “Nunsense” and “Lend Me a Tenor.” Lanyon also has extensive musical theater credits, yet until this summer she and Skrip had yet to work together.
“We barely knew each other before coming up to Door County to start rehearsals for ‘A Murder is Announced,’ in which we also play opposite each other as brother and sister,” Skrip said. “We’ve become very fast friends! I think the world of her – she’s insanely talented and makes me feel so comfortable and supported onstage and off.”
Skrip became interested in performing while a child. “I was born and spent my childhood in Buffalo, New York, and my parents would occasionally drive my brothers and me up to Toronto to see the touring shows there,” he said. “My first theatre memory was seeing Donny Osmond in ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,’ and I immediately asked my parents how I could perform like him.” Skrip was named after his grandfather, William, who was the only other performer/ artist/musician in his immediate lineage. “I like to think that along with his name, I was passed his passion and talents,” he said.
Skrip believes singing and acting go hand in hand. “My voice teacher always says, ‘Act, and the notes will come,’” he said. “He taught me that focusing on what I’m saying, and why I’m saying it while singing will always sustain me through a song. So, I like to think I’m both equally.”
When asked what roles remain on his bucket list, Skrip replied with several. “I’d love to perform George Seurat in ‘Sunday in the Park with George,’ Marvin in ‘Falsettos,’ Fabrizio in ‘The Light in the Piazza’ and the Phantom in ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ he said. “This winter, I’ll play a dream role in the musical based on the film, ‘An American in Paris’ at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois.”
“Ghost The Musical” performs at Peninsula Players Theatre Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m.; except for Sunday, August 18 at 4 p.m. Individual ticket prices range from $43 to $49. Group rates are available for 15 and more. There are no performances on Mondays. For more information or to reserve tickets, call the Peninsula Players Box Office at (920) 868-3287 or visit the website at www.peninsulaplayers.com.