Meet the Cast of ‘The Nature Plays’

Peninsula Players Theatre is thrilled to announce the cast for its first offering of The Play’s the Thing, the theater’s winter play reading series presented to Door County audiences.  “The Nature Plays” by Patrick Gabridge features actors Cassandra Bissell, Neil Brookshire, Christie Coran and Kevin Tre’Von Patterson.  “The Nature Plays” is under the direction of Artistic Director Linda Fortunato and will perform on Monday, February 5, 2024, at 7:00 p.m. at Björklunden at 7590 Boynton Lane, Baileys Harbor.  There is no admission fee, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.  Donations are welcome.  

Gabridge is the author of five novels, a screenwriter and a playwright.   His work includes 10 full-length plays, of which “Blinders” and “Reading of the Mind of God” were nominated for Best New Play by the Denver Drama Critics Circle.  He has been awarded the Colorado Arts Innovation Award, a Playwriting Fellowship from the Colorado Council on the Arts, the Festival of Emerging American Theatre and the New American Theatre Festival. 

Gabridge wrote “The Nature Plays” to coincide with a walk-through of Mount Auburn Cemetery, a designated National Historic Landmark and arboretum in Cambridge, Massachusetts.   America’s first suburban garden cemetery features winding paths, picturesque landscapes with various horticultural features, ponds, trees, shrubs, flowers and art sculptures.  

“The Nature Plays” premiered at the cemetery in 2019, when Gabridge was Mount Auburn’s first playwright artist-in-residence.   Inspired by the rich natural environment of Mount Auburn, Gabridge used Auburn Lake as the backdrop for a conversation between birders.  Then, at Consecration Dell, the heart of Mount Auburn, the resident spotted salamanders take the spotlight around its moonlit pool.  Gabridge also wove into the play historical debates between naturalists who permanently rest at the cemetery and a romance between two trees.  The sights and sounds of Mount Auburn’s natural world surrounded the audience participating in the walking play.

The ensemble of actors assembled for the play reading are alums of Peninsula Players Theatre.  The cast will portray various characters, including employees and residents of the cemetery.   Bissell and Brookshire have performed in several productions, including “Romance in D,” “Silent Sky,” “A Murder is Announced,” “A Trick of the Light” and “Miss Holmes” as well as several play readings, including the audio play “It Sounds Like a Christmas Carol.” Among Bissell and Brookshire’s regional theater credits are Great Lakes Theater, Wisconsin’s Renaissance Theaterworks, NextAct Theatre and Third Avenue Playworks.   

Coran and Patterson portrayed several characters in the theater’s recent production of “Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville:  A Sherlock Holmes Mystery.” Coran’s additional credits include Peninsula Players Theatre productions of “Ghost the Musical” and “A Murder is Announced” as well as work with Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Theatre at the Center.  Patterson’s credits include Raven Theatre’s “Direct from Death Row: The Scottsboro Boys,” which received Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson award for Best Ensemble and his television credits include “Chicago P.D.” (NBC) and “Mindhunter” (Netflix).   

“The Nature Plays” is produced with support from and in coordination with Door County Reads and its exploration of “Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants” by Robin Wall Kimmerer, adapted by Monique Gray Smith and illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt.   Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults” highlights how acknowledging and celebrating our reciprocal relationship with the earth results in a broader, more complete understanding of our place and purpose.   A complete listing of Door County Reads events is available at  

The Play’s the Thing continues Monday, March 4, with Peter Quilter’s “4000 Days,” and closing the winter play reading series on Monday, April 1, is Arlene Hutton’s “Last Train to Nibroc.”   The casts for these play readings are forthcoming.   

The Play’s the Thing 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 Theatre.  The Play’s the Thing is part of the theater’s continuing winter outreach programming, presenting professional play readings for the public.  Learn more about Peninsula Players Theatre and its 2024 season at