Peninsula Players Theatre, America’s oldest professional resident summer theater and Door County’s theatrical icon, is thrilled to announce its 84th season performing June 18 through October 20, 2019. Nestled along Door County, Wisconsin’s scenic shore, the award-winning acting company of Peninsula Players has been enthralling generations of audiences in its 600-plus seat, all-weather pavilion since 1935, presenting hundreds of pre-Broadway tryouts, world premières, classic dramas, comedies and musicals.
The 2019 season includes a world première comedy, a gripping whodunit, a recent Broadway hit musical, an engaging new play and a hilarious new comedy.
“A Trick of the Light” (June 18-July 7). This new comedy by Peter Moore makes its world première when it opens the Peninsula Players 84th season. “One of the most satisfying things I’ve been able to do at Peninsula Players is to help a playwright bring his or her creation into the world,” Artistic Director Greg Vinkler said. “It’s very exciting because we’ve had the good fortune to see many of the new plays we’ve premiered at Peninsula Players go on to have many productions across the country, and even around the globe.”
Eddie is a 40-something guy who has love, comfort, stability, closeness and joy, but he feels he hasn’t accomplished anything of real significance or lasting value. Then one day, he discovers a very unexpected and astonishing skill. He can become invisible. Vanish. With a gesture of his hand! He has no idea where it came from or what to do about it, or even if he should do anything about it. “How he navigates this extraordinary gift with his hilarious friends, his loving wife and a nonplussed therapist makes for a wonderfully entertaining evening at the theater,” Vinkler said.
Moore is a Minneapolis-based playwright whose new comedy was featured as part of the 2018 Peninsula Players Theatre’s winter play reading series, The Play’s the Thing. “Audiences had a hoot hearing ‘A Trick of the Light’ in March and I am thrilled Peter will be with us in rehearsals to help us launch this new play onto the world stage,” Vinkler said.
Agatha Christie’s inimitable detective, Miss Marple, makes her Peninsula Players debut when she searches for a killer in “A Murder is Announced” (July 10 – July 28). This gripping whodunit by Leslie Darborn is based on Christie’s novel. “An announcement in the local paper states the time and place when a murder is to occur in Miss Blacklock’s Victorian house, and that, of course, causes quite a bit of consternation,” Vinkler said. It’s a classic Christie puzzle of mixed motives, concealed identities, a second death, a determined inspector and Miss Marple on hand to provide, at some danger to herself, the final solution. “It’s intriguing as only Miss Christie can be and full of fun, fascinating characters who will indeed keep you guessing until the very end,” Vinkler said.
Romance, music and even more thrills follow when “Ghost The Musical” takes the stage (July 31 – August 18). This timeless musical fantasy about the power of love is by Bruce Joel Rubin, Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics fame) and Glen Ballard. “Our third show is a musical based on that compelling story, adapted from the hit film by its Academy Award-winning screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin,” Vinkler said. “I came across a wonderful production of it this past year and thought it was pretty amazing.”
“Ghost The Musical” follows the same story as in the movie which earned Whoopi Goldberg an Academy Award. Sam and Molly are a young couple whose connection takes a shocking turn after Sam’s untimely death. Trapped between two worlds, Sam refuses to leave Molly when he learns she is in grave danger. Desperate to communicate with her, he turns to a storefront psychic, Oda Mae Brown, who helps him protect Molly and avenge his death.
“‘Ghost The Musical’ really has a bit of everything – romance, fantasy, mystery – and great music,” Vinkler said.
The fourth selection of the season features a work by one the most produced playwrights in North America, Lauren Gunderson, who only lagged behind Shakespeare in the total number of plays produced in 2017. In her “Silent Sky” (August 21 – September 1), a touching human story behind an important scientific discovery, Gunderson introduces audiences to Henrietta Swan Leavitt. “I’m very happy to include one of Gunderson’s most beautiful works,” Vinkler said. “’Silent Sky’ is a startling, entertaining true story of a brilliant, history-making woman – hitherto unknown to us. I’ve seen this on stage and it’s really lovely, touching, smart and funny. Henrietta started working at Harvard in 1893 as an astronomer. She made a brilliant discovery that allowed scientists to find faraway galaxies and was directly linked to the discoveries of Edwin Hubble. It is a story that not only awes, but makes us laugh often and loudly.”
Closing the 84th season is the Midwest première of “George Washington’s Teeth” (September 4 – October 20) a new comedy by Mark St. Germain. Enjoy the hilarious exploits of the enterprising women of the New Bunion Historical Society as they scramble to keep their doors open.
“I found it last year and was itching to get it, but had to wait until it premiered in Florida this past spring,” Vinkler said. “It is a hilarious story about the ladies of the New Bunion Historical Society trying to stop the town council from moving their little-visited history museum. Their potential savior is a sure-fire crowd pleaser (if they could only get it for an exhibit): a pair of dentures made for George Washington right there in the town of New Bunion. Unfortunately, they’re owned by an unexpected rival who is very, very reluctant to let this happen. This heartfelt and historic comedy proves that our differences don’t divide us, they make us stronger. The show ends with an annual re-enactment of the Battle of New Bunion, a skirmish of the American Revolution which never actually happened – but the tourists love it!”
The Peninsula Players performs Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. in the summer. With the opening of “George Washington’s Teeth,” Sept. 4 curtain times shift to Tuesday through most Sundays at 7 p.m. The closing Sunday performance of each summer show will have a 4 p.m. matinee and the autumn a 3 p.m. matinee. Additional autumn matinees will be announced in May of 2019.
More information on the 2019 season will be forthcoming in the new year, Vinkler said. The creative teams and casts will be selected from regional talent pools and will be announced at a later date. Peninsula Players is a professional, not-for-profit theater that collaborates with members of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), the union of professional actors and stage managers; United Scenic Artists (USA), a labor union and professional association of Designers, Artists and Craftspeople; and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), a theatrical union of stage directors and choreographers.
Season ticket sales for the 2019 season begin in January. Individual ticket sales will open on March 1. Reservations for group sales and season tickets may be made by phone. Gift Certificates for the 2019 season may be ordered by visiting www.peninsulaplayers.com or by calling the Box Office weekdays at (920) 868-3287.