Players Pen – August 29, 2018

The cooler temperatures hint that fall is approaching, but the summer stage at Peninsula Players is still heating-up with love, mayhem and laughter!
Patrons have been enjoying the cooler evenings by the bay. They have been arriving early to enjoy the sun setting over the bay prior to the 8 p.m. performances. As a reminder, our curtain times will change with opening of “Salvage” to 7 p.m. As the season progresses, please remember to dress for the weather. We do keep the sides of the theater open to accommodate air-flow for the entire audience and for the actors performing.

While the production and creative teams are in rehearsals during the day for “Salvage,” a new comedy-drama, mystery-romance by Joseph Zettelmaier, the evenings are rollicking with a fresh-from-Broadway comedy, making its Midwest debut.

“Living on Love,” in which sparks fly and romance blooms, is on stage through September 2. Its playwright Joe DiPietro is known to Door County audiences for the family comedy “Over the River and Through the Woods” which we produced in 2000 featuring Robert Thompson. His other works include “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” and the Elivs Presley musical, “All Shook Up.”

“Living on Love” is based on Garson Kanin’s “Pecadillo.” Kanin, who wrote the smash “Born Yesterday,” told the story of two classical giants, husband and wife, who are finding that their fame is fleeting. DiPietro’s modern adaptation amps up the comedy to epic proportions! I sat down with Karl Hamilton, who plays “the Maestro,” to get some behind the scenes tales about this hilarious show.

Q. So, have you played the Maestro before?
A. Yes, I did a production of “Living on Love” in Sarasota, Florida at the Asolo Repertory Theatre directed by Peninsula Players alum Peter Amster (“Born Yesterday,” “Master Class” and “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine”). Greg Vinkler, the Peninsula Players Artistic Director, saw that production in Asolo and thought that it would be a great fit for Door County.

Q. What about the show do you feel is most appealing to our audience?
A. There’s no getting past the laughs – there are quite a few, but really, it is the love that lies beneath all the crazy antics that is most endearing. It’s a love that lasts, a love that weathers tough times and will go on lasting till this great comedy is over. It’s a love anyone who’s been with someone for a number of years will recognize. That is why Door County will love this show.

Q. Tell us about the rest of the team – Mary Ernster, Erica Stephan, Matt Crowle, Jason Richards, Dan Klarer and director Linda Fortunato.
A. Everyone is an impeccable comedian in their own right. We spent many rehearsals rolling with laughter; distilling the comedy to its finest proof, and always with a chaser of love. One of the hardest parts about the show is not cracking up along with the audience. Linda let us go through the process a few days before shaping and refining it. Wanting to see what we thought of our characters gave her a better understanding of where to meet us along the way, so that in the end, we would have a truly clear idea of where we started and where we need to go every night. It’s a fantastic ride to get aboard with this crazy, fearless cadre of comedy.

Q. I understand the show is set in the 1950s, how is it working in a glamourous penthouse in New York City?
A. As the character Iris says, “I love living with rich people.” The designers, Jack McGaw on sets, Kärin Kopischke on costumes and Stephen Roy White on lights all brought their considerable talents to bare to make this show feel so expensive without the actual cost.

Q. Snow globes have a symbolic role in this is comedy, would you explain?
Both the Diva and the Maestro travel a lot for their work. To bring a piece of those locations back home to the other, they buy a snow globe. It’s a 30-year collection of love and devotion. The snow globles sit on a shelf and don’t move. But then you go over to them and shake them up a bit – magic! That is what they are to each other – they shake each other up.

Q. With characters like “the Diva” and “the Maestro,” do people need an understanding of opera to appreciate the show?
A. Absolutely not. Just like you don’t need to know the intricacies of working in a gourmet kitchen to appreciate eating a great meal. People should be prepared to laugh, to laugh some more and to fall in love all over again.

If you enjoyed this conversation with Karl, please visit our YouTube channel, PenPlayers, and view the trailer of “Living on Love.” It includes clips from the play and an interview with Karl and director Linda Fortunato. The video is also posted on our Facebook page.

Join us by the bay for a delightfully fun performance. You can call the Box Office at (920) 868-3287 Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m., or visit “Living on Love” closes September 2 with a 4 p.m. matinee performance. We hope you will join us by the bay, where the sun sets, the curtain rises and the stars shine!