Players Pen – July 15

Company members at Peninsula Players had an enjoyable and action packed 4th of July weekend.   If you ventured to the Bailey’s Harbor parade to celebrate the holiday perhaps you saw actress Erin Noel Grennan as her character Louise Peaks in “A Real Lulu” riding in a sassy Mini Cooper convertible adorned in red, white and blue splendor and “Vote for Lulu” signs.

Peninsula Players interns Gina Paulson, Maggie Ward, Robin Feltman and Brontë DeShong served as “campaign aides.”  Louise’s entourage included a 1931 Model A and the Peninsula Players van, driven by one of the Little Sisters of Hoboken from “Nunsense.”

Team Lulu sends a huge thank you to the Semmerling family, Wayne, Cleta, Tara and girls for joining Lulu and her squad to rock the vote for Lulu’s candidacy as Lt. Governor of Vermont, the setting for “A Real Lulu” by Paul Slade Smith.

While the Players van and Louise’s campaign team joined the Egg Harbor parade, the cast and director of “Dial M for Murder” rehearsed.  Saturday and Sunday mornings the cast, designers, carpenters and creative team were preparing for the “load-in” of the Frederick Knott thriller.   A load-in is when all of the elements of a production are assembled on stage for the opening of a show.

We were really excited when “A Real Lulu” was a featured Facebook photo post by American Theatre Magazine.  Governor Ned Newley and his assistant Dave Riley (actors Greg Vinkler and Sean Fortuanto) spread Lulu’s campaign across the internet.

The cast of “A Real Lulu” took their final curtain call Sunday, July 5, to a near capacity audience.  The rapid and joyous sound of a full house laughing was as exciting as fireworks.  Immediately after the final standing ovation the crew began to dismantle “A Real Lulu” and prepared to “load-in” “Dial M for Murder.”

Meanwhile in New York, playwright and actor Paul Slade Smith once again donned a pirate costume and hook as he performed the role of Charles Frohman/Captain James Hook in “Finding Neverland” on Broadway.

Another Peninsula Players company member made their Broadway debut over the holiday weekend.  Jonathan Weir (“See How They Run,” “Far East,” “Escanaba in Da Moonlight”) joined the Broadway cast of “The Lion King.”  He arrived at the end of June to understudy Scar and Pumbaa and on July 3 he made his debut as Scar.

Back in Fish Creek we cheered for Paul and Jon and as “A Real Lulu” was being removed from the stage and dressing rooms, we said goodbyes to Erin Noel Grennan and Brad Armacost, who ventured onto their next theatrical adventure.   All of us at Peninsula Players wish “Lulu” and her creator Paul great success as the comedy launches its national campaign to take theaters across the country by storm.

As opening night of “Dial M for Murder” approached the creative team put the polishing touches onto the set including painting, adjusting hems to drapes, finalizing sound and light cues. etc. The cast perfected their timing on crucial entrances as well as a finely tuned choreographed fight sequence.

As I sat engrossed opening night by the well-crafted script Knott created I relished hearing the “ooohhs” and “aahhhhs” from engaged theatergoers around me.  As Tony’s scheme to murder his wife unfolded, the audience reacted.  And that is the exhilaration of live theater, when the enthusiasm of the audience/cast interplay.  The performers are encouraged by the energy of the audience, and vice versa.  This energy varies on nightly basis thus making each performance a once in a lifetime experience.

If you like a suspense-filled plot, join us by the bay when mystery expert, Dr. Christopher Chan hosts a free pre-show seminar July 21 at 6:30 p.m. prior to the 8 p.m. curtain of “Dial M for Murder.”  Chris will speak about Alfred Hitchcock and the adaptation of Knott’s play into film. Tickets to the July 21 performance are by phoning the Box Office.

We hope to see you by the bay this summer!  Perhaps you’ll join us for the chills and thrills of Knott’s “Dial M for Murder” for the hilarity of Ken Ludwig’s “Lend Me a Tenor” or “Outside Mullingar” by John Patrick Shanley who offers a quirky Irish love story and Dan Goggin’s “Nunsense” is toe-tapping fun.

For tickets or more information on our pre-show seminars or backstage tours visit or phone the Box Office at 920-868-3287.  I look forward to seeing you by the bay this season, where the sun sets, the curtain rises and the stars shine!