Artistic Director Greg Vinkler shared an exciting piece of mail with me last week. The Actors’ Equity office, which is the union of professional stage actors and stage managers, was culling through their files and forwarded an item they found to Greg, who then shared it with me.
I flew to the moon and I think I am still there.
Greg coyly approached me saying, “Guess what I got?” and proceeded to pull out of a large envelope a large brochure from the Peninsula Players fourth season. Yes, fourth season in 1939.
Before me was a priceless treasure. A document I had never seen, laced with photos of the Players and Door County. I was in awe as I gently turned each page. The sepia tones called me to the past as I became immersed in the images of the shoreline, paths and company members relaxing near the lodge.
The text also speaks to me:
“Thus, in a setting of alluring rustic beauty, close to nature and the working theatre, is brought about the age-old miracle: Youth’s discovery of its own potentialities … the transcendent dramatic experience.”
As we open “Dial M for Murder” I think of all of the energy our actors, designers, carpenters, office personal, interns, stage crew and staff have poured into this collaborative work and I think, yes, 76 years later we are still discovering those potentialities … “the transcendent dramatic experience.”
I read another page:
“The theatre was born of the human reverence for pageantry, dance and song out-of-doors. The Peninsula Players endeavor to bring the theatre back to its rightful heritage. … the theatre is immortal and will live always.”
Peninsula Players celebrates its 80th season in 2015. So many emotions rush through me, among them love and pride for those who poured their vitality into the Players to make her the grand lady of summer theater that she is today.
Thank you current and former board and company members for caring for her. Thank you to the patrons who return year after year to share the dramatic experience with us. Thank you to the actors, directors, designers, carpenters, costumers, electricians, apprentices and interns who have poured their creative energy onto her stage. Thank you to the support staff, donors and volunteers help to who care for her gardens, grounds, buildings and people.
I continue to flip pages and discover they are protecting a glamourous photograph of Margot Fisher, our founders Caroline and Richard’s sister, in a stunning, strapless gown. She nonchalantly holds a large ostrich hand fan and large white roses accent the gown’s tight bodice. Margot’s cool gaze entices the viewer and I imagine her character enticed the audience as well. I turn over the photograph I’ve never seen to read: “Camille,” red taffeta dress, white flowers and aqua fan.
So much history in such a small package. The photograph and many of the images in the brochure do not exist in Players achieve files. Which leads me to a request of readers. While cleaning out closets or attics, please keep the Players in mind. We seek missing playbills, photos or clippings of our 80 year history. We also accept donations of period clothing.
Some of these donations make their Players debut tonight, July 8, when we open Frederick Knott’s classic thriller “Dial M for Murder.”
While hunting through our costume stock for “Dial M for Murder,” costume shop manager Kyle Pingel found a lovely period white nightgown, trench coats and a few other pieces of menswear that were donated to the Players.
“Dial M for Murder” made its Broadway debut in 1952 and the Players produced it in 1955. And therein lies a mystery where readers perhaps can help me. When I dove into our archives to look for information I found some photos, but no programs or press clippings. I am unable to identify who was in the production. When I look at a cast photo I believe William Munchow is the actor center stage as Inspector Hubbard, but the rest remains a mystery to me. If anyone knows whom these performers are, I would love to hear from you.
If you have an item you would like to donate, give us a call and we will direct you either Kyle Pingel, costume shop manager.
To enjoy a thrilling suspense filled night, join us for “Dial M for Murder” while it is on stage through July 26. For tickets or more information on our pre-show seminar Wednesday, July 22 at 6:30 p.m. with Dr. Christopher Chan or our backstage tour Sunday, July 12 at 2 p.m. visit www.peinsulaplayers.com 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!