Players Pen – August 2

Many of us at Peninsula Players find it hard to believe it is August and that we have opened the third show of our season. Change-over weeks are always jam-packed with the excitement of closing one show on Sunday, saying see-you-later to some cast members, opening a new production on Wednesday, greeting new designers and incoming cast for rehearsals that start Thursday and pulling together to keep it all going. All that, and so much more, happened last week.
Within 72-hours, our amazing team had taken down the magical, creative and playful world of Neverland in “Peter and the Starcatcher.” Cardboard boxes, flatware, license plates and more were removed and the aged barn boards for the world of “The Bridges of Madison County” were loaded in.
While stage lighting, curtains and costumes were being shuffled and moved about Sunday night, a majority of the cast was transformed from rough and scruffy pirates, seafarers and lost boys into well- groomed men of 1965. Among them were Henry McGinniss, who portrayed the orphan boy who becomes Peter, and his fellow lost boy Dan Klarer who got their haircut before they joined the crew to help move scenery in and out. Many thanks to Joni Witalison for fitting us into her busy schedule!
The technical crew worked steadily during those 72-hours alongside our designers, interns and cast. Kudos all! As our team helps you find a parking spot, hands you your tickets at will-call, serves you a beverage, or checks your tickets as a ticket taker – take a moment to thank them for their hard work this season.
The company starts its day at 9 a.m. with breakfast. The Box Office opens at 10 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday and while they help patrons, rehearsals are in progress and the costume, prop and scene shop are building the next show. We break for lunch and dinner and then the team is off to pre-show assignments including opening the Luna Bar, Will-Call Window, Canteen and more.
Actors arrive at the theater 30 minutes before curtain, check their props and prepare make-up. Depending on the process, some performers arrive an hour before curtain. The pre-show routine is important to settle the mind, recall muscle memory and to center themselves into the world of the play they are about to perform.
As we approach five minutes to curtain, certain members of the staff are released from pre-show assignments to go to their running crew duties of serving as follow-spot, sound or light board operators as well as dressers or riggers.
The stage manager calls for places and then it is curtain up! The actors step onto the stage, light cues are given and the performance we have all worked so hard to bring to you is performed. We hope are swept away by the lush music and soaring voices. Eventually the curtain must come down and we hope you stay until the final note is played and the actors/singers have taken their bows. The entire company appreciates that courtesy shown for their hard work.
Volunteer ushers then help to clean the all-weather pavilion with the staff after the audience departs and the stage crew puts the set, props and dressing rooms to bed for the night. Some costumes are already in the washing machine before the last car is out of the parking lot.
Mounting a show is complete team effort – thank you ALL for helping to bring the beautifully staged “The Bridges of Madison County” to audiences. “…the voices were amazing … This is a must-see!” said Mary Anderson of the Door County Advocate.
“The Bridges of Madison County” earns the cast, crew, creative team and orchestra standing ovations nightly. Patron Frank Christensen commented on Facebook, “Everything at Peninsula Players is top notch, but ‘Bridges’ is over-the-top, setting new standards for acting, staging, lighting, sound. We are truly blessed they are part of this wonderful community.”
Critic at Large Warren Gerds at WFRV-TV called the musical “positively artful” and said that “director Elizabeth Margolius astutely works many fine points.” His full review can be read on WFRV’s website
If you love soaring music, beautiful ballads, haunting melodies all theatricality and lushly presented, you do not want to miss the experience that is “The Bridges of Madison County.” Come early, relax along the shore under the canopy of the cedar forest before relishing in Francesca and Robert’s star-crossed love story. For tickets or information on pre-show seminars or Sunday backstage tours visit or call (920) 868-3287.