Peninsula Players becomes a family for several months out of the year as company members work and play side-by-side crafting theater for the audiences of Door County. We live in a camp-like atmosphere with a majority of the company members not only being housed on site, but we also build the sets, costumes and props as well as rehearse the shows on site. I mentioned in a previous article during the run of “The Drowsy Chaperone” that there were more than 50 people making theater happen along the bay.
What enhances the family atmosphere at the Players is that our cooks attentively prepare, serve and clean-up three meals a day for this artistic army. When I first started at the Players in 1991, those two cooks were Joan and George Kuchar, who made every intern, staff person and actor feel welcome. Joan would find out when your birthday was and make you a special dessert. George would make us omelets to order on Sunday mornings.
Their Chef Choice lunches and dinners were prepared with love, and each company member felt it. Joan and George resided outside of Fish Creek in Door County before moving to a cabin along Kangaroo Lake to pursue their love of fishing together. They retired from the Peninsula Players in 2005 and would winter near their children and grandchildren in Illinois. They returned to visit at the Players and see shows each summer and would touch base with their Players family though Christmas cards, letters and phone calls.
Earlier this week I was heartbroken to share the news of George’s passing with company members. They were our grandparents, said former Box Office Manager Chris Slavick. They made company members feel like a part of the family as well as being loving and kind to our children said many alumni, including director Greg Davis, lighting designer Stephen Roy White and actor Neil Friedman.
George was a Korean War Army veteran, and Joan’s beloved husband for 66 years as well as a loving father to Kenneth (Jody) Kuchar, Keith (Carol) Kuchar and Kathryn (David) Drew; dear grandfather of Carly Drew, Joseph Kuchar, Sarah Drew, Trajan Kuchar and the late Jason Kuchar; brother of the late Frank (Charlotte) Kuchar and Mildred (Frank) Glaser; uncle of Gloria (the late Donald) Slomiany, Frank Glaser and Nick (Maureen) Glaser; great uncle of many nieces and nephews. Services were held in LaGrange Park over the weekend. The entire Peninsula Players family send their love and support to Joan and her family.
Also this week, company members are easing into the slower pace of the autumn season at Peninsula Players. Projects that were put off during the quick-paced summer season are now being worked on. Prop shop manager Kristen Nuhn is cleaning and sorting through prop and furniture storage while costume shop manager is Kyle Pingel building a new cutting table for his workspace.
With a bit more downtime, we have also had a wonderful time visiting with each other after the show. We recently spent a wonderful evening watching a football game after a matinee performance. Yes, we talked back to the refs and cheered for our teams, but the biggest cheer was for company member Maggie Carney.
Does this sound familiar? “From the clenched fist of a legend…” It is the opening narration to a commercial for Toyota Tacoma’s tongue-n-cheek advertising campaign featuring Chuck Norris. At the end, Chuck sits in his agent’s office confused and bewildered that he was replaced by the truck. The agent in this ad is Peninsula Players’ own Maggie Carney.
Maggie was last seen at the Players in “The Full Monty” as Harold’s wife and in Agatha Christie’s “The Hollow.” She also performed the one-woman play about Ann Landers, “The Lady with All the Answers.” Patrons may also recall her performances in “Master Class,” “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine,” “The Fox on the Fairway” or “The Comedy Murders of 1940.” If you don’t catch the commercial on television you can also watch it on YouTube.
Fellow Peninsula Players alumni John (J.R.) Walker also had a smash hit at the cinema this summer as producer of Pixar’s “Incredibles 2.” If you are a fan of this super hero family, keep an ear tuned to the voice of the anchorman and radio announcer and you’ll hear alumni Ted Evans (“The Lady’s Not for Burning,” “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure.”)
Walker joined the Players as an actor in 1979 using the name Patrick Walker and performed in such plays as “The Elephant Man,” “Mass Appeal,” “Noises Off” and the Players’ first autumn production in 1981, “Children of a Lesser God” which ran through early October.
You can enjoy the 37th autumn season at Peninsula Players as we present Joseph Zettelmaier’ s comic-drama, mystery/romance, “Salvage.” Arrive early and enjoy the ambiance of the pre-show bonfire in the Beer Garden, weather permitting, with a hot cider from the Luna Bar.
“Salvage” performs as a one-act with no intermission, and audiences have been delighted by the performances of Matt Holzfeind as a collectibles shop owner whose life is turned upside down by a beautiful and mysterious woman, played by Melanie Keller.
“Show stopping, stunning performance with a twist at the end,” John said on the reviews page of the Peninsula Players Google business page. For tickets to “Salvage” visit our website www.peninsulaplayers.com or call the Box Office at (920) 868-3287. We hope you will join us by the bay, where the sun sets, the curtain rises and the stars shine!