The Midwest Premiere of “The Angel Next Door” Opens July 10 at Peninsula Players Theatre

Peninsula Players Theatre, America’s oldest professional resident summer theater and Door County’s theatrical icon, proudly announces the cast of Paul Slade Smith’s comedy “The Angel Next Door.”   This whirlwind comedy makes its Midwest premiere, adding to Smith’s repertoire of side-splitting comedies.  “The Angel Next Door” runs for three weeks, starting July 10 through July 28 and is generously sponsored by Tim and Jackie Danis.

Step into an elegant and extravagant Newport mansion in 1948, where a weekend gathering of playwrights, actors, a young writer and a determined housekeeper sets the stage for a rollicking comic adventure.  When an unexpected incident threatens to disrupt the show they are creating, everyone must act fast to save the day.  Comic chaos ensues, drawing everyone into its madcap wake.  Sometimes, even reality needs a rewrite to find a happy ending.

Smith has a successful history with Peninsula Players Theatre, where his first play, “Unnecessary Farce,” had its second production and his next play, “The Outsider” (originally titled “A Real Lulu,”) received its world premiere.  Smith is delighted and grateful that this wonderful company of artists is bringing audiences “The Angel Next Door” so soon after its premiere production at North Coast Repertory Theatre last September.  His plays have collectively had nearly 500 productions and have been translated into French, German, Swiss and Icelandic.   “Unnecessary Farce” alone has been produced in Australia, Austria, Canada, Great Britain, Iceland, Japan, Singapore and Switzerland.

“The Angel Next Door” relies on six power-house actors to portray the larger-than-life characters, all under the direction of Peninsula Players Theatre’s Artistic Director, Linda Fortunato.  The cast includes two actors making their Peninsula Players Theatre debuts, the cast of the theater’s current production of Neil Simon’s “I Ought To Be In Pictures” and a returning alum.

Ora Jones (“George Washington’s Teeth”) leads the cast in the role of Charlotte Sanders, a resourceful Broadway playwright.  Jones’s stage credits include Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Milwaukee Repertory Theater and Steppenwolf Theatre Company.  She performed in Broadway’s “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” and the Broadway and first national tour of “Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical.”   She has extensive film and television credits, including “Betrayal” and “Chicago Fire,” and has received a Black Theatre Alliance Award and an After Dark Award. 

Sean Fortunato (“I Ought To Be In Pictures,” “Blithe Spirit,” “A Rock Sails By”) continues his season at the theater portraying Arthur Sanders, Charlotte’s pessimistic husband and co-playwright.   Some of his favorite roles at Peninsula Players Theatre include Black Stache in “Peter and the Starcatcher” and George in “Sunday in the Park with George.”  This past winter, he performed with Chicago Shakespeare Theater in “Richard III” and at Mercury Theater Chicago in “Young Frankenstein.”  He has received 10 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and an After Dark Award.

Erin Noel Grennan (“I Ought To Be In Pictures,” “The Tin Woman,” “Making God Laugh”) portrays Olga Molnar, an unabashedly unhelpful housekeeper.  Grennan originated the role of Olga in the world premiere production.   Grennan is known for her work on stage, in commercials, and in such television shows as “The Other Two,” “FBI Most Wanted,” “Blue Bloods,” “Dr. Death,” “Bull” and the “Law & Order” series.  Her regional stage credits include North Coast Repertory, Cincinnati Playhouse, Paper Mill Playhouse and First Folio Theatre.

Garrett Lutz makes his Peninsula Players Theatre debut as Oliver Adams, a young love-struck novelist full of promise.  Lutz’s theater credits include “Urinetown” with Boho Theatre Ensemble, “Macbeth” and “Twelfth Night” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, “The Music Man” at Goodman Theatre, “Cabaret” at Paramount Theatre, “Three Sisters” with Steppenwolf Theatre Company, “Big River” at Theatre at the Center and “Tiger Style” at Writers Theatre.  He was a non-Equity Joseph Jefferson Award nominee for his work in “The Full Monty” for Kokandy Productions.

Aja Alcazar (“I Ought To Be In Pictures”) portrays Margot Bell, a Broadway ingénue who is getting wiser than the characters she plays.  Alcazar is a Los Angeles-based actor and musician who will perform in four of the five shows at Peninsula Players Theatre this season.  She has an extensive Chicago theater resume, including work at Drury Lane Theatre, Goodman Theatre and Victory Gardens Theater, and regional theaters Merrimack Repertory, Milwaukee Repertory Theater and South Coast Repertory.

Andrés Enriquez (“Changing Channels,” winter play reading) makes his main stage Peninsula Players Theatre debut as Victor Pratt, a dashing but daft Broadway leading man.  Enriquez’s Chicago credits include work with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Marriott Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre and Teatro Vista.  His regional credits include TheatreSquared in Arkansas and Montana Shakespeare in the Parks.  Enriquez is an ensemble member and casting director of Lifeline Theatre in Chicago.

Linda Fortunato is in her third season as artistic director.  She has directed, performed or choreographed at Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Writers Theatre, BoHo Theatre, Fulton Theatre and American Players Theatre.   Fortunato directed last season’s productions of “Dames at Sea” and “A Rock Sails By.”  She also directed “The Rainmaker,” “Ghost the Musical,”” Lend Me a Tenor,” “And Then There Were None,” “A Fox on the Fairway” and choreographed “Chicago,” “A Little Night Music” and “Cabaret.” Fortunato was previously the artistic director of Theatre at the Center in Munster, Indiana, where she also directed and choreographed productions.

The creative team of “The Angel Next Door” includes Chicago-based scenic designer Michelle Lilly, who designed “2 Pianos, 4 Hands” and “Ring of Fire” for Milwaukee Repertory Theater and “School of Rock” for Paramount Theatre.  Door County-based costume designer Kärin Simonson Kopischke (“Dames at Sea,” “Blithe Spirit,” “Write Me a Murder”) and Milwaukee-based lighting designer Stephen Roy White (“Trying,” “Murder for Two,” “Silent Sky”) return for another season.  Also making his debut is sound designer/composer Josh Schmidt, who recently opened August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” at American Players Theatre and is the composer/co-author of “Adding Machine.”

The audience pavilion’s side panels, doors and vents will remain open throughout summer.  Patrons should dress for the weather and be prepared for shifting temperatures and breezes off the bay.  Peninsula Players Theatre is a smoke-free campus.  Smoking is prohibited on the grounds at all times.  Patrons are invited to arrive early and enjoy a pre-show beverage or snack at the Luna Bar or Canteen, which opens 90 minutes before the show.

“The Angel Next Door” performs Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m., except for Sunday, July 28, at 2:00 p.m. Individual, group and student tickets are available.  To purchase tickets for groups of 15 or more, please phone the Box Office between 1:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at (920) 868-3287.  The theater and its offices are closed on Mondays.  For more information, visit