Fish Creek, Wis. (April 14, 2021) – This week, Peninsula Players Presents takes a closer look at the 1963 and 1964 seasons. It was during this time that Peninsula Players Theatre Foundation, Inc. was created to ensure solid management of the theater including the formation of a board of directors.
The Foundation leased the theater from its owners for the next three decades, marking the beginning of a new era in the theater’s rich history. Under the leadership of Producer Jim McKenzie, who also managed three year-round professional theaters, patrons enjoyed plays and musicals fresh from Broadway with high-quality talent.
In 1963, even the younger members of the acting company were well-seasoned veterans, including Clint Kimbrough, Pat Randall, and Ralph Waite, who all studied with Lee Strasberg at The Actor’s Studio in New York. Leo Lucker returned for the season and reprised his Broadway role in The Night of the Iguana alongside Dan Scott, who returned from his lucrative TV and film work for one last role at the theater.
In 1964, the theater celebrated its 30th Anniversary and paid tribute to its formative “Golden Dozen” in a souvenir booklet and presented a two-week run of the new musical My Fair Lady.
Coming Soon … 1965-1969: Turning the Page
Next on Peninsula Players Presents will be a two-part feature on the 1965 to 1969 seasons.
Highlights that the theater and Door County arts experienced between 1965 and 1969 will be featured in the next episode. Musicals delighted audiences for two weeks, an actor’s injury spurred a last-minute show change and special events such as plays for children and gallery exhibits were presented.
In collaboration with the Roadstead Foundation, the theater’s acting company workshopped new plays written by Roadstead Fellows Frederick Gainsof Minneapolis and James Scheville of San Francisco. Jim McKenize and Frank Butts brought art films to Door County when they purchased Lake Cinema in Baileys Harbor.
Door County unfurled its very own flag, featuring symbols of its activities, including shipbuilding, agriculture, fishing and the arts. Drama masks and a violin paid homage to Peninsula Players Theatre and the Peninsula Music Festival and eventually represented all future arts organizations.
Join us for the second part of the series when company members from 1965 to 1969 are featured.