Outside Mullingar Takes the Stage at Peninsula Players
Tony, Oscar and Pulitzer Prize-Winning author John Patrick Shanley
pays homage to his Irish Heritage
Fish Creek, Wisconsin – Peninsula Players Theatre, America’s oldest professional resident summer theater and Door County’s theatrical icon, will open the Wisconsin première of John Patrick Shanley’s Tony Award-nominated “Outside Mullingar” August 19 , 2015 as part of its celebratory 80th season. Shanley’s sweet and prickly love story, “Outside Mullingar,” was a 2014 Tony Award nominee for Best Play and will be on stage through Sept. 6.
“Outside Mullingar” is set in rural Ireland and features Anthony and Rosemary are 40-ish next-door neighbors and homebodies, which suits their introverted personalities well. Rosemary has been smitten with Anthony since childhood and he is oblivious to the fact. When Anthony’s father threatens to disinherit him, Rosemary steps in to save the farm and her dream of lasting romance.
Shanley, whose other works include the Tony Award-winning “Doubt” and the Academy Award-winning film “Moonstruck,” has crafted a lyrical Irish romantic comedy that tenderly reminds us that it’s never too late to take a chance on love.
Within Shanley’s body of work are more than 25 plays and screenplays including “Joe Versus the Volcano” and “Moonstruck,” which earned three Oscars, including Best Screenplay and a Best Actress Oscar for Cher. Shanley also wrote the screenplay based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Doubt: A Parable” and the lyrics to an opera with the same title. “Outside Mullingar” is his first foray into his Irish heritage.
Shanley became inspired when his father, who was raised outside the village of Killucan, (near the town of Mullingar, in County Westmeath, Ireland), asked to be taken home to the family farm. Meeting his cousins struck a chord with Shanley and awakened his Irish spirt.
“When I was listening to people talk in the kitchen of the family farm my cousin now runs, I got it,” explained Shanley in an interview with the Seattle Times. “The verbal culture is incredible there. Everything my aunt and uncle and cousins were saying was publishable. You could just quote them verbatim.”
Shanley was motivated by the obvious love, loyalty and strong bonds between his relatives. “We’re afraid of sincerity,” Shanley said. “To be sincere and let it stand, without further discussion. I’m saying this is how they are, my particular family.”
Shanley paid tribute to relatives by naming some of the characters in his fictional story after them, Uncle Tony and his cousins Tony and Rosemary.
“Outside Mullingar” is the fourth offering in the Peninsula Players 80th season and the Players are the first professional theater in Wisconsin to produce the work.
“’Outside Mullingar’ was on Broadway last year and I got a copy as soon as I could,” said Greg Vinkler, the Players Artistic Director. “When I finished reading the last word, I put it down and knew I wanted to put it into this season. It is poetic, wistful, uplifting and funny. Anthony, a 42-year-old introverted farmer, and Rosemary, 36, who runs the farm next door, should be together, but family eccentricities, a land feud and their own foibles get in the way. Conversations between his father and her mother make it a funny, moving and lovely journey. Theatergoers agree, the recent production at Northlight Theatre was extended by popular demand.”
Vinkler will direct the cast of Players veterans familiar to audiences, including Jay Whittaker, Maggie Kettering, William J. Norris and Peggy Roeder. Vinkler has directed 27 productions for the Players including “Chicago” and “Lombardi” and performed in 45. His favorite roles include Sherlock Holmes, Salieri, Sir Thomas More and Maj. Gen. Butler in “Butler” and he recently created the role of Governor Ned Newley in “A Real Lulu.”
Kettering’s (“Lend Me A Tenor”) stage credits include performances of “Season in the Line” with the House Theatre, “My Kind of Town” with TimeLine Theatre, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Comedy of Errors” with Michigan Shakespeare Festival. Additional credits include Irish Theatre of Chicago, Texas Shakespeare Festival, Warehouse Theatre and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.
Norris’s (“Master Class,” “Noises Off,” “The Elephant Man”) stage credits include nearly 200 productions in more than 44 years at such Chicago theaters as Northlight, Goodman, Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, Marriott Lincolnshire and Meadowbrook. His regional credits include Syracuse Stage, Indiana Repertory and various locations in Europe. He has been honored in his profession for his work as actor, director and writer with awards that include an Emmy, a Joseph Jefferson, five Artisan and five L.A. Critics Circle Awards.
Roeder (“Lend Me A Tenor,” “Miracle on South Division Street,” “The Game’s Afoot”) recently finished her fourth season at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida. She has numerous Chicago stage credits and has earned four Jeff Awards, three After Dark Awards and three Artisan Awards. Her film credits include “Groundhog Day,” “Road to Perdition” and “Stranger Than Fiction.”
Whittaker’s (“The Mousetrap,” “Rumors,” “Dial M for Murder”) New York credits include “Rose Rage” at the Duke on 42nd Street and “Frank’s Home” at Playwrights Horizons. His regional stage credits include performances with The Old Globe, The Shakespeare Theatre and various Chicago theaters including The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, Northlight and Court. His television credits include “Chicago PD,” “Prison Break” and “Dustclouds.”
Designing the homesteads of “Outside Mullingar” are regional and award-winning designers. Members of the creative team include Jeff Award-nominated scenic designer Jack Magaw (“Heroes,” “Sunday in the Park with George”) whose recent Off-Broadway work includes “The Who & the What” with Lincoln Center Theater and La Jolla Playhouse and numerous Chicago theaters. Also returning to the Players is Chicago-based lighting designer Emil Boulous (“Lend Me A Tenor”).
Costumes are designed by Jeff Award-winning designer Kärin Simonson Kopischke’s (“Chicago,” “And Then There Were None,” “Dial M for Murder”) whose designs have been seen in theater and opera productions as well as on film. Her credits include Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, Long Wharf, Huntington Theatre and Cincinnati Playhouse. Also returning is Jeff Award-winning sound designer Christopher Kriz (“The Game’s Afoot”). His Chicago credits include productions with Writers Theatre, Next Theatre, Steppenwolf, Northlight and more. Properties designer Jesse Gaffney’s (“Miracle on South Division Street,” “Butler”) credits include Remy Bumppo, DePaul University and Theater Wit.
“Outside Mullingar” is sponsored by Main Street Market.
O’Meara’s Irish House has been assisting the Players with all things Irish. Patrons can save 20% at O’Meara’s Irish House in Fish Creek when they present their ticket stub from “Outside Mullingar” to the sales staff at time of purchase.
Peninsula Players has been entertaining and exciting audiences since 1935. Peninsula Players was founded by a brother and sister team, Caroline and Richard Fisher, who dreamed of an artistic utopia in the north woods where actors, designers and technicians could focus on their craft while being surrounded by nature in a contemplative setting.
Peninsula Players location along the shore of Green Bay provides a serene setting for patrons as well. Prior to performances, patrons relax and picnic on the grounds while watching the setting sun over the waters of Green Bay from the cedar-lined shore and enjoy the ambience of the Beer Garden and other gardens.
The Fishers’ dream lives on as professional actors, directors and designers work side-by-side with college interns while living on the Players 16-acre campus as they bring audiences a variety of works including dramas, mysteries, comedies and musicals.
The Peninsula Players performs Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in the summer. With the opening of the fall show Sept. 9, curtain times are Tuesday through most Sundays at 7 p.m. The closing Sunday performance of each show will have a 4 p.m. matinee Sept. 6 and Oct. 18 with two additional matinees for Dan Goggin’s musical “Nunsense” on Sunday, Sept. 20 and 27 at 4 p.m. For more information on “Outside Mullingar” phone the Box Office at (920) 868-3287 or visit peninsulaplayers.com