Peninsula Players Theatre, America’s oldest professional resident summer theater and Door County’s theatrical icon, is thrilled to announce the cast and creative team for David Lindsay-Abaire’s comedy, “Ripcord.” What happens when two new roommates make a seemingly harmless bet? It launches a war of one-up-“womanship” at the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility. “Ripcord,” which contains some adult language, runs July 27 through August 14 at the theater-in-a-garden and is generously sponsored by Tim & Jackie Danis.
The perpetually sunny Marilyn has just moved in and the gloriously grumpy Abby immediately plots to evict her new roommate. When the two women make a wager for the bed by the window, escapades quickly escalate into a highly charged duel of emotionally intensifying and outrageous pranks. With equal tenacity, the ladies fiercely rib, jab and expose each other’s deepest secrets. Even Marilyn’s devoted family gets in on the action – all with a genuine wish to see the seemingly mean-spirited Abby happy.
Lindsay-Abaire is a versatile playwright and screenwriter who earned a Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for his drama “Rabbit Hole.” His repertoire runs the gambit from the screenplay of the 2015 horror movie “Poltergeist” and the animated children’s fantasy film “Rise of the Guardians” to the lyrics for the musicals “High Fidelity” and the Tony and Grammy Award-nominated “Shrek The Musical.” Among his other plays are “Fuddy Meers,” “Kimberly Akimbo” and “Good People,” which won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play.
“I’m particularly fond of his creativity and occasional outrageousness,” said “Ripcord” director Patrick New. “One can find a scene approaching farce cozied next to a fiercely dramatic scene rivaling Strindberg. He also enjoys, in his writing, an ability to move scenes from location to location fearlessly. It can be a pretty wild ride. At the root of it all, however, is a lot of laughter, truth and heart – which is what I think makes ‘Ripcord’ so compelling.”
New directed the world première of “Fooling Buddha” at First Folio Theatre and the American première of “The December Man” for the Mary Archie Theatre Co. New’s past work at Peninsula Players Theatre includes performing in “Proof,” “The Uneasy Chair,” “Red Herring,” “Is He Dead?,” “Around the World in 80 Days” and directing “Almost, Maine.”
Charlotte Booker, who just made her Peninsula Players Theatre debut in “Write Me a Murder,” is the sunny Marilyn and newcomer Meg Thalken is the cantankerous Abby. Booker’s credits include the Broadway production of “Born Yesterday” and dozens of television appearances, including “Bluebloods,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Hi Honey, I’m Home.” Thalken’s stage credits include such regional theaters as Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Northlight Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre and Actors Theatre of Louisville. Among her many film and television credits are “US Marshalls,” “The Babe,” “Christmas Again,” “Chicago Med,” “Shameless,” “Empire” and “Paper Girls.”
“I’ve already seen a tangible connection between Meg and Charlotte in rehearsals,” New said. “They are theater ‘lifers’ – they both have a wealth of life and stage experience. Yet, they are different enough in their natures to accommodate the ‘odd couple’ spark the script requires. They are going to be fantastic in the show.”
The cast also includes Xavier Edward King as Scotty, a resident’s aide at the living facility, Ryan Hallahan as Abby’s estranged son Benjamin, and Eva Nimmer as Colleen, Marilyn’s dotting daughter. All three actors were in the theater’s previous production of “Write Me a Murder.” David Corlew is cast as Derek, Colleen’s husband and joins the theater’s artistic company with this production and in the upcoming “Murder for Two.”
The entire cast has extensive stage credits at various regional and Chicago theaters such as Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre and Writers Theatre as well as film and television roles. Hallahan has appeared in “Pass Over” and “Chicago Fire” and King will be in season two of “61st Street.” Wisconsin audiences may also recognize Nimmer from her work at Renaissance Theaterworks, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Northern Sky Theater and Third Avenue PlayWorks.
The creative team of “Ripcord” includes award-winning veteran Peninsula Players Theatre designers Kärin Simonson Kopischke, who has designed costumes for 50-plus productions at the theater; Christopher Kriz, sound design (“Miss Holmes,” “Peter and the Starcatcher”); and Guy Rhodes, lighting design (“The Rainmaker,” “Ghost The Musical”). Making her Door County debut is Angela Weber Miller, a Chicago-based scenic designer. The theater’s season continues with the heartfelt “I and You” by Lauren Gunderson; and the madcap musical mystery, “Murder for Two,” by Kellen Blair and Joe Kinosian.
The audience pavilion’s side panels, doors and vents will remain open throughout the season. Patrons should dress for the weather and be prepared for shifting temperatures or breezes off the bay. For the most current safety protocols employed at the theater, visit www.peninsulaplayers.com before attending a performance.
Individual, student and group tickets are available. Tickets may be purchased online up to curtain time or by phoning or visiting the Box Office during business hours. Peninsula Players Theatre is a smoke-free campus. Smoking is prohibited on the grounds at all times.
“Ripcord” performs Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m., except for Sunday, August 14 at 2:00 p.m. To make reservations for groups of 15 or more, please phone the Box Office on weekdays between 1:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at (920) 868-3287. The theater and its offices will be closed on Mondays. For more information, visit www.peninsulaplayers.com