Players Pen – October 17, 2018

As the press deadline for this article approaches, the company and staff of Peninsula Players are preparing to button-up this grand lady’s buildings for the winter.  By the time you read this, all of the benches, director’s chairs and statuary from the gardens will have been gathered and tucked away.  The set of “Salvage” will have been dismantled, the costumes cleaned for another show and all props returned to their rightful owners or added to storage.

As I mentioned earlier this year, it takes an artistic army to produce live theater.  Everyone at the Players would like to thank our many volunteers, diligent board members, dedicated staff and talented company members for another memorable season by the bay.

We’d like to take a moment to thank all patrons for being a part of this splendid year of live theater, for you are the reason we are here.  It is through your support that we are able to bring award-winning talent to Door County audiences season after season.  

Thank you for joining us for one or many adventures this season.  Many were touched by the love life of Jamie and Abby in “Now and Then” or enjoyed the mysterious and tense “Miss Holmes.”  The antics and shenanigans of “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “Living on Love” tickled many patrons, while others are still discussing what Jason will do at the end of “Salvage.” 

At the close of the season, many artists continue to hone their craft at other theaters across the country while the administrative staff keeps chugging along to prepare for the next season.  Artistic Director Greg Vinkler is searching the theatrical landscape for the 2019 season of shows while Managing Director Brian Kelsey, Production Manager Cody Westgaard, Development and Events Manager Danielle Szamanda and I keep things humming.

Technical Director Nathan Angrick returned to work as a scenic carpenter at The Julliard School in Manhattan, New York, while carpenter Dean Gnadinger is the assistant technical director at Victory Gardens.  Carpenter Keira Jacobs is working in the scene shop of Lookingglass Theatre and costume shop manager Kyle R. Pingel started his new position as the Costume Production Coordinator at the School of Theatre Arts at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Properties Shop Manager Kristen Nuhn is off to Tucson, Arizona for the winter to work with Arizona Theatre Company while Box Office Manager Melissa Resch resides in Door County and will pick up her paint brush once again. Melissa is a fine artist and is thrilled to have two paintings in the forthcoming annual juried exhibit at Miller Art Museum. 

Joel Hatch (“The Tin Woman,” “The Hollow”) continues to perform on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning musical “Come From Away,” while fellow alum Harter Clingman (“The Full Monty,” “Peter and the Starcatcher”) prepares for its national tour. 

Paul Slade Smith is performing in Broadway’s “My Fair Lady” through the end of October and then will begin rehearsals as Willy Wonka for the Australian production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”  Paul was Grandpa George and Willy Wonka’s understudy in the Broadway production and performed several times as Wonka.

Brad Armacost (“The Outsider,” formerly “A Real Lulu”) and Nick Vidal (“Peter and the Starcatcher”) recently closed their national touring production of “The Woman in Black” at the Cleveland Play House to move onto their next stops at the Pasadena Playhouse, The Royal George Theatre in Chicago and Seattle Repertory Theatre.

If you thought you saw a familiar face in the season première of “Chicago Med,” you may be right.  Dr. Helen Moore was portrayed by Cory Goodrich who portrayed Francesca in last season’s production of “The Bridges of Madison County.”  Many Players alum have “Chicago Med,” “Chicago Fire” or “Chicago PD” on their resume; you never know what familiar actor you’ll see next.

Erica Elam (“Now and Then,” “Almost, Maine”) recently returned from a month in Edinburgh, Scotland where she performed in a completely sold-out run of Baby Wants Candy (her musical improv group) and a new scripted musical, “Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody,” a hilarious prequel to the Harry Potter stories about Voldemort in high school. Erica is the Artistic Director of Baby Wants Candy and the troupe can be seen at Second City every Saturday night.

“Love’s Labour’s Lost” currently features Katherine Duffy (“The Hollow,” “The Bridges of Madison County”) as Maria at Invictus Theater at The Frontier.  Jim Rank (“Peter and the Starcatcher,” “Sunday in the Park with George”) is Professor Callahan in “Legally Blonde” at the Paramount Theater in Aurora. Jim and his wife, Players alumna Christina Myers, welcomed daughter Leona to the family in March.

Drury Lane Theatre’s production of “Beauty and Beast” opens in November and will feature Erica Stephan (“The Drowsy Chaperone’s” Janet) as Belle, and ensemble members include Samuel Gardner (“The Full Monty”) and Emma Rosenthal (“The Actuary,” “Peter and the Starcatcher.”)

“Miracle on 34th Street-the musical” at Theater at the Center in November and December includes Ashley Lanyon (“The Bridges of Madison County,” “Nunsense”).  The musical is under the direction of Linda Fortunato (“Living on Love,” “The Hollow,” “Lend Me a Tenor”), who is also the theater’s artistic director.

Sean Fortunato (“Now and Then,” “The Drowsy Chaperone”) and Karen Janes Wodtisch (“Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime,” “Almost, Maine)” join fellow Players alumni William Brown, Kevin Gudhal and Scott Parkinson in Writers Theatre’s production of “Twelfth Night” which opens in November and runs into December.  Sean is cast as Malvolio and William as Feste with Karl Hamilton (“Miss Holmes,” “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Living on Love”) as their understudy.   

Jason Richards (“The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Living on Love”) will be stepping in for the role of Trekkie Monster in the long running “Avenue Q” at the Mercury Theatre in Chicago.  His next project is “The Producers at the Paramount Theatre in February and March.  He will understudy the role of Max Bialystock for Blake Hammond who originated the role of Bruce in the Broadway production of “Living on Love.”

Melanie Keller (“Salvage”) is directing Joseph Zettelmaier’s “All Childish Things” – a comedy heist in which four friends’ plan to steal a Stars Wars Collection goes awry – at First Folio which opens in late January.

Director Elizabeth Margolius (“Miss Holmes,” “The Bridges of Madison County”) is slated to stage and movement direct “The Scarlet Ibis” opening in February for Chicago Opera Theater. Collaborating with her are lighting designer Charles Cooper (“Salvage,” “The Mystery of Irma Vep”) and scenic designer Jack Magaw (“Miss Holmes,” “Living on Love”).  Jack’s designs of “Of Mice and Men” will be at Kansas City Rep, “Approval Junkie” at Alliance Theatre in Atlanta and “Indecent” at Arena Stage in Washington DC, which will also go to CenterStage in Baltimore and Kansas City Rep.

If you are in Milwaukee in January or February, you can catch Cassandra Bissell (“Miss Holmes”) and Neil Brookshire (“The 39 Steps”) in Renaissance Theaterworks’ production of “Photograph 51,” a portrait of Rosalind Franklin, one of the great female scientists of the twentieth century, and her fervid drive to map the contours of the DNA molecule.  

Please keep reading the Key to the Door for the announcement of the 2019 season and the winter play reading series. If you would like to receive the announcement by e-mail, register at:  

The Box Office is open weekdays by phone all winter or visit to order a Gift Certificate for the holidays or to learn more about the 2019 schedule.  Season tickets for 2019 will go on sale in January and single ticket web sales begin March 1.  We hope you’ll share the Peninsula Players experience with friends and family and then join us by the bay next year where the sun sets, the curtain rises and stars shine!