Northern Sky Theater has announced its 2020 Season in Door County, Wisconsin. Northern Sky Theater will expand its 2020 season to include ten shows, seven in the summer, two in the fall, and one during the winter holidays. During the summer, three will be performed at its outdoor venue, the Peninsula State Park Amphitheatre, and four at its new indoor space, the Gould Theater. The two fall shows and the holiday show will be held in the Gould. While continuing its traditional performance schedule in the park, the company will use the Gould to augment the season in a way that was not possible in the past.
“One of the major reasons for building a new theater was to have more control in scheduling our season and more assurances against weather-affected shows,” said Artistic Director Jeff Herbst. “The Gould gives us both, and with the success of our first show in this new space last fall, we are certainly encouraged to provide our audience with more opportunities to see programming indoors.”
Northern Sky’s mission is creating original musicals and plays, now with over sixty-five in its canon. The shows in the 2020 season will emphasize this mission while also celebrating fifty years of performances in the park, thirty years under the umbrella of Northern Sky, and the first year of summer performances indoors.
The lineup for the outdoor season, running from June 10th to August 29th, is as follows:
Love Stings is a world premiere musical comedy by Richard Castle and Matthew Levine. The plot is adapted from a P. G. Wodehouse story revolving around idealistic Bill Zapper. While planning a lavish wedding on a 1960s Door County bee farm, Bill begins to wonder if he and his reluctant fiancée are truly right for each other. Will the outrageous wedding go off without a hitch? Or is this the calm before the swarm? This honey of a show is sure to be all the buzz. Castle and Levine’s first show for Northern Sky, Oklahoma in Wisconsin, was directed by Pam Kriger.
“After working with Richard and Matthew in 2017, I am delighted to be collaborating with them on another original musical for Northern Sky,” said Kriger.
Fishing for the Moon, which premiered in 1992, was the first collaboration between Fred Alley and James Kaplan, who would go on to write some of Northern Sky’s most beloved shows. The slightly madcap plot takes place right after the Civil War with delightfully drawn characters and some absurd misunderstandings.
“Fred and James wrote a valentine to musical comedy with Fishing. It’s one of their sweetest shows, while still being incredibly funny,” Herbst said.
Belgians in Heaven, with book and lyrics by Doc Heide and Lee Becker and music by Heide and Kaplan, is a metaphysical polka musical with a hilarious cast of characters. Belgians follows the antics of Leo and Roger, two battling farming brothers; Mildred, a talking chicken; Angelique, a bumbling angel; Henry, a simple savant; Josephine, a booyah-making neighbor; and enough alter personalities to fill up heaven.
“It’s a terrific line-up in the park, with a signature world premiere and two shows that hearken back to Northern Sky’s beginnings,” Herbst said. “We also wanted to celebrate fifty years of performances in the park by bringing back two shows from our predecessor, the Heritage Ensemble, which will both have indoor performances.”
The lineup for the summer schedule in the Gould Theater, running from June 16th to September 5th, is as follows:
Dad’s Season Tickets, by Matt Zembrowski, premiered as Northern Sky’s first production in the new Gould Theater last fall. This homage to all things Packers and what that means for a Green Bay family was Northern Sky’s biggest hit in its 28-year history of doing fall shows.
“This is a show that we knew our summer audiences would absolutely love, but it’s not readily transferrable to the outdoor stage. So, since we now are able to, we will present it indoors during the summer,” said Managing Director Dave Maier.
Song of the Inland Seas, created by Dave Peterson, was the first show presented in Peninsula State Park in 1970. This fiftieth anniversary presentation, celebrating the songs and stories of the Great Lakes, will have a limited six-performance run.
The Mountains Call My Name, by Doc Heide, also dates back to the Heritage Ensemble days and was first presented in 1989. The show features the engaging tales of John Muir, the Wisconsin-raised conservationist responsible for our national park system.
SkyWriting! assembled by Ray Jivoff with music by Brett Ryback, is a new collaboration between Northern Sky and Write On Door County. The show will feature the writing of local students, presented by professional actors. The writing will center on nature and conservation, making it a perfect companion piece to The Mountains Call My Name.
“Ray Jivoff has worked with students for years, unlocking their creative writing potential and weaving the results into a collection of stories, poems, songs, and vignettes,” explained Associate Artistic Director Molly Rhode.
“We thought hearing one of the earliest voices on the subject of conservation along with the voices of our young people would be a wonderful synthesis on a very relevant topic.” Northern Sky will present two shows in repertory in its fall season, running from September 11th to October 31st, in the Gould Theater.
Naked Radio, by Paul Libman and Dave Hudson, is back by popular demand after making its debut in 2017 featuring three actors playing fifteen characters. A small town radio station gets swallowed up by a corporate parent and the local DJs are relegated to obscurity. But when a snowstorm knocks the power out and the station loses its tie to the pre-programmed feed, the guys have to punt. Two DJs. One Blizzard. No Records.
And If Elected, created by Dave Peterson, Jeff Herbst, and Fred Alley, is Northern Sky’s quadrennial romp through past presidential campaigns. The show uses authentic songs and humor to poke fun at and reflect on the very real blood sport of American politicking.
In addition, Home for the Holidays will be presented between Christmas and the New Year. First offered in 2007, the show will continue to feature performers with ties to Northern Sky returning for a week of signature concerts.
“Three years ago we launched our Constellation Campaign to build a creative center and the Gould Theater,” said Development Director Holly Feldman. “The goal for our now well-established, professional troupe is to use this facility to its fullest potential.” Herbst added, “Our 2020 season fully embraces this new goal while maintaining our presence in the park. We are now realizing our vision. Two stages. One sky. It’s truly inspiring.”
Northern Sky’s Outdoor Season runs from June 10th – August 29th at the Peninsula State Park Amphitheater in Fish Creek, WI. A park sticker is not required to attend performances in the State Park within one hour prior to performances.
The company’s Indoor Season will be held at Northern Sky’s new Gould Theater on the corner of County Roads A & F in Fish Creek. The summer indoor season runs from June 16th – September 5th. The fall indoor season runs September 11th – October 31st. Tickets will go on sale March 2nd in the Northern Sky box office at the Gould Theater, via phone at (920) 854-6117, and online at www.NorthernSkyTheater.com.