Peninsula Players Theatre is thrilled to present an in-person reading and a virtual audio recording of “The Safe House,” a charming and poignant play about family by Kristine Thatcher as part of its winter play reading series, The Play’s the Thing. A reading of Thatcher’s “The Safe House” will be performed in-person at Björklunden at 7590 Boynton Lane, Baileys Harbor on Monday, March 7 at 7:00 p.m. to a limited capacity of 80 patrons. Advance reservations are required for both events. In-person attendees will be required to be fully vaccinated (including eligible boosters) and must wear a mask at all times in Björklunden and throughout the performance. Proof of vaccination, photo ID and tickets will be checked at the door by staff members. No walk-ins allowed. Phone the theater’s winter Box Office on weekdays at (715) 718-0347 to register for the in-person play reading. For those who would like to enjoy the reading in their home, visit http://www.onthestage.com/peninsula-players-theatre to register for free access to the virtual audio reading of the production. Access is limited to 300 households.
Thatcher conceived “The Safe House” when she realized she needed to write about the woman who most influenced her life, her grandmother, Kathi Schneider. The close relationship between grandmother and granddaughter was a deep well of inspiration upon which Thatcher could draw. Schneider, who immigrated from Germany, operated a bar in Lansing, Michigan, with her husband, Jackob, from 1935 through the turbulent times of World War II until its sale in 1958. Schneider died at the age of 95 in 1997.
“The Safe House” is a beautiful examination of family, transition, and the importance of being there for each other. Bridget longs for a comfortable stay with her grandmother, Hannah, away from the challenges of being an actor in New York City. What she finds is a family struggling with change. Hannah, the fiery, independent matriarch of the family, is no longer as self-sufficient as she was, and her family is at odds on how to ensure her well-being. “You can’t give up,” Thatcher told the Lansing State Journal. “You got to fight. I swear I get that from my grandmother.” These memories have fortified Thatcher throughout her life, and she has crafted a play with gentle humor, honesty and heart.
Linda Fortunato, Artistic Director of Peninsula Players Theatre, will direct actors Iris Lieberman, Eva Nimmer, who are making their Peninsula Players Theatre debuts, and Noah Simon. Lieberman, who is cast as Hannah, is a Joseph Jefferson Award winner and four-time nominee. Her musical theater work includes productions of “Kiss Me Kate” at Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, portraying Grandma in “Billy Elliot” at Porchlight Music Theater and her award-nominated performance of Fräulien Schneider in “Cabaret” at Theatre at the Center directed by Fortunato. Lieberman is a Board Member of Perennial Theatre Chicago, a newly formed company featuring “actors with lifetimes of experience to share.”
Nimmer is known by Door County audiences through her stage work at Northern Sky Theater, including Katie Dahl’s “The Fisherman’s Daughters” and “Dairy Heirs,” a musical she co-wrote with Joel Kopischke and Alissa Rhode. She recently performed in “Red Herring” at Next Act Theatre and is in Renaissance Theaterwork’s upcoming production of “Actually.” Nimmer is cast as Bridget and Simon as her uncle Mathius.Simon performed in the Third Avenue Playwork’s production of “A Tuna Christmas” and made his Door County debut at Peninsula Players Theatre in “Once a Ponzi Time” and returned to its stage in 2019 for the world première of “A Trick of the Light.” His regional stage credits include the Goodman Theatre, Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company and Shattered Globe Theatre.
The Play’s the Thing concludes Monday, April 4, with the in-person and virtual audio reading of “A Rock Sails By” by Sean Grennan.
“The Safe House” and “A Rock Sails By“ are a part of Peninsula Players Theatre’s winter program, The Play’s the Thing. It is funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as generous grants from Door County Medical Center, Friends of Door County Libraries, The Shubert Foundation and operating funds of Peninsula Players Theatre.
Peninsula Players Theatre is America’s oldest professional resident summer theater. The Play’s the Thing is part of Peninsula Players Theatre’s winter outreach programming, presenting professional play readings for the public. Learn more about Peninsula Players Theatre and its 2022 season at www.peninsulaplayers.com.