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Peninsula Players Theatre, which bills itself as America’s oldest professional resident summer theater, has announced its 85th season. The stalwart Wisconsin organization has been performing on Door County’s scenic shore since 1935.
The 2020 season includes the baseball-themed comedy “Rounding Third,” the meta-musical “Something Rotten,” Agatha Christie mystery “The Unexpected Guest,” Irish drama “And Neither Have I Wings To Fly” and the world-première comedy “The Gentleman Thief.”
Season opener “Rounding Third” (June 16-July 5) is an odd-couple comedy by Richard Dresser featuring two volunteer coaches, one a veteran, the other a rookie, trying hard to work together in the challenging world of Little League Baseball. “It’s about two opposing coaching styles, fatherhood, competition, life and finally, friendship,” said Artistic Director Greg Vinkler.
Romp through the renaissance “Something Rotten!” (July 8 – July 26) was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The Bottom brothers, Nick and Nigel, are desperate to write a hit play but are stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rock star known as “The Bard.” Seeking help, Nick finds a soothsayer who foretells that theater in the future will involve a very strange combination of singing, dancing and acting all at the same time, so Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical.
After getting lost in dense fog and crashing his car into a ditch, a stranger seeks refuge at an isolated country estate, only to find he has stumbled onto a murder scene in Agatha Christie’s “The Unexpected Guest” (July 29 – August 16). Before him is a slain man in a wheelchair and in the shadows, a beautiful woman with a smoking gun. The wife’s dazed confession is anything but convincing, and the unexpected guest becomes embroiled in helping her concoct a cover story. “I’m very happy that Samuel French just recently released ‘The Unexpected Guest’ from its vaults. I think it’s one of Christie’s best,” Vinkler said. “The manor is full of a great cast of eccentric characters and possible suspects, from the long-time housekeeper and the male nurse-assistant to the victim’s half-brother and the jealous best friend.”
Ann Noble’s “And Neither Have I Wings To Fly” (August 19 – September 6) is a “lovely, humorous and touching play set in 1950s Ireland” said Vinkler. “It’s so well-crafted, wonderfully accessible, thrillingly vibrant, and truly moving and uplifting.” The Donnelly family have just lost Moira, Peter’s wife, and Kathleen and Eveline’s mother. But Kathleen is soon to be married and Eveline wants desperately to go to university but can’t bring herself to leave her father alone. Vinkler calls it “a play about loss, family ties, love and the heady magic of discovering your wings.”
Closing the season is the world premiere of “The Gentleman Thief” (September 9 – October 18), a romantic comedy-caper by Mark Brown. “It was part of our winter play reading series, The Play’s the Thing, earlier this year, and was a big hit with the audience,” Vinkler said. “Very fun, very funny. Based on the 1909 P.G. Wodehouse story ‘A Gentleman of Leisure.’ Imagine ‘The Thin Man’ with William Powell and Myrna Loy meeting ‘To Catch a Thief’ with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.” It’s a comedy stocked with Broadway actors, bumbling burglars, suspicious detectives, daffy English lords and a wisecracking hero – set in a world akin to that of a 1930s screwball film comedy.
The Peninsula Players performs Tuesdays through Saturdays throughout the summer. Season ticket sales for the 2020 season begin in January. Individual ticket sales will begin on March 1. Gift Certificates for the 2020 season can be ordered at www.peninsulaplayers.com.