July 14, 2005
As the sound of fireworks and memories of Fourth of July parades begin to fade, it’s hard to believe three weeks have passed since Peninsula Players opened its 70th season. It seems like just yesterday the cast and staff were decorating for the Players’ opening night party, putting finishing touches on the set of “The Uneasy Chair,” and frantically stocking the Players’ brand new canteen as workmen finished bolting the roof together.
All the work paid off, however, when opening night arrived and 450 people assembled on the Players’ property for an evening of hors d’oeuvres, friendship, exciting announcements, and extraordinary performances by some of the Players’ best actors – Carmen Roman, Greg Vinkler, Tom Mula, Patrick New and Karen Woditsch. Pre-show highlights of the evening included the opening of the Players’ new concession stand, or “canteen,” and the announcement of the theater’s plans to replace its stagehouse, audience pavilion, and scene shop.
Construction of the new canteen, built slightly north of where the old facility stood, started in early May and was completed just prior to opening night. As you may remember, the Players’ old canteen had been in use for more than 50 years and refrigeration and storage space had reached capacity. When the breaker box started smoking one day last year, it seemed to be a sure sign it was time to make some improvements.
The new canteen offers ample storage and refrigeration space, and the canteen crew even has running water to make coffee and hot beverages and enough room to work without tripping over each other as they take your orders. They couldn’t be more delighted!
Outside the canteen, a number of new and exciting changes are also evident. The facility mimics many of the architectural design elements of the proposed new theater and makes a striking addition to the Players’ property. With an adjacent covered patio, the canteen is not only a great place to purchase a beverage or snack, it is also an outdoor, covered “lobby” where you can mingle with old friends or meet new ones and swap stories of your visits to the Players over the years.
Just the other evening, Rodian Rathbone, son of Peninsula Players’ founder Caroline Fisher, stood at the canteen with his family during intermission telling stories of his childhood summers spent here with his mother. Every evening, as patrons admire the plans for the new theater (on display at the canteen), history truly seems to come alive. Patrons’ eyes light up as they retell stories of past performances and experiences and share their hopes for the future of the theater (including more comfortable permanent seats, which will replace our canvas director’s chairs). Listening to all these stories, it is a joy to remember that the theater has had a rich 70 years of history and looks forward to least another exciting 70 years.
We encourage you to bring your memories and stop by the canteen and its “lobby” for an ice cold soda, giant chocolate chip cookie, or Peninsula Players blanket next time you come to the theater!
That opportunity will present itself at the opening of “Red Herring” this week. The staff is busy stitching the last few costumes, painting the set, and hanging the lights. Be sure to join us for this fun comedy caper filled with romance and intrigue! For tickets, visit our website at www.peninsulaplayers.com or phone the box office at 920-868-3287. See you by the bay!