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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Fish Creek theater company pumping with action

Critic At Large

Northern Sky Theater

Logos. (Northern Sky Theater)

FISH CREEK, Wis. (WFRV) – Northern Sky Theater professional company of Door County is bustling around three productions as its 2021 season steps into stride. Info: northernskytheater.com.

According to press releases:

One.

“The Fisherman’s Daughters,” which will complete its run this week in Peninsula State Park Amphitheater, will have a video version available for a temporary period.

For the first time in its 30-year history, the company is offering full, filmed performances of all of its summer and fall productions. Each show will be available virtually for one week following the close of that show’s in-person performances. The first offering is for “The Fisherman’s Daughters,” which will run virtually July 12-18 after closing its in-person performances July 10.

Tickets are $21 for a one-time viewing link, which may be used any time during the one-week window. Tickets will be available online at the website northernskytheater.com.

“This is really a silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Holly Feldman, development director. “Under normal circumstances, union rules make it financially impossible for us to offer filmed performances. But this year – and possibly only this year – those factors have changed, so we’re able to offer filmed versions of each of our shows.”

In addition, the screenings provide an opportunity for Northern Sky Theater to address other situations in 2021. First, due to scheduling adjustments this year, patrons are unable to catch all summer offerings in one week. The filmed version of each show will allow vacationing patrons to see all the shows. Second, the online offerings offer viewing opportunities to those who can’t attend in person due to mobility, illness or distance. Finally, the filmed shows will provide an alternative to the company’s rain checks/refunds – usually offered in the case of inclement weather – saving the company up to $9,000.

The company also will make the filmed versions of its five 2021 performances available to the residents at Good Samaritan Society-Scandia Village and at the Pete and Jillaine Horton Skilled Nursing Center. “I know several residents who will be thrilled that these performances are being brought directly to our center,” said Jodi Falk, recreation therapist with Door County Medical Center.

All videos will be created by Bill Youmans of Door County Digital.

“The Fisherman’s Daughters,” by Door County playwright Katie Dahl, tells the story of two sisters living in Fish Creek in 1908 whose relationship is put to the test when the state of Wisconsin attempts to claim their family homestead as part of Peninsula State Park.

Two.

Northern Sky Theater will remount the first book musical it ever presented, “Tongue ’n Cheek,” created by Fred Alley with additional music by James Kaplan. Performances start July 12 outdoors in Peninsula State Park Amphitheater.

Originally produced in 1991, the musical is inspired by old-time radio shows. It tells the story of long-suffering Naomi Sutter and her work-averse husband, George, who quibble while Doc Johnson woos his skeptical neighbor Lorna.

“‘Tongue ’n Cheek’ has an old-time feel,” said director Jeff Herbst, who played the narrator in the original cast. “But this time around, it’s going to be completely fresh. We’ve got a young cast – all new to this show – who are already reinvigorating the script in really exciting ways.”

This year’s performers are Anna Cline (narrator), Lachrisa Grandberry (Naomi), Dan Klarer (George), Jamie Mercado (Lorna) and Isaiah Spetz (Doc Johnson), along with multi-instrumental musician Andrew Crowe.

Author Fred Alley – Northern Sky Theater’s cofounder, who co-authored “Guys on Ice,” “Lumberjacks in Love” and “The Spitfire Grill” – created the first version of “Tongue ’n Cheek” in 1991 to be performed with extant folk music as the show’s soundtrack. In 1997, Alley teamed with James Kaplan – his “Guys on Ice” and “Lumberjacks in Love”collaborator – to create new music for the show. Included are the upbeat opening romp “Before You Know It, It’s Love” and Alley and Kaplan’s perennial classic “We’ll Waltz ’Til the Last Cow Comes Home.”

“Tongue ’n Cheek”runs July 12 to Aug. 7 at 7:30 p.m. every night except Sunday.

Masks are optional for all vaccinated patrons. The amphitheater will be running at 60 percent of its usual capacity; patrons will have the option of choosing a socially distanced section as availability allows. All tickets must be purchased in advance. Info: northernskytheater.com. A park sticker is not required to attend performances.

As with all other shows this season, a filmed performance of “Tongue ‘n Cheek” will be available to watch after the show has finished in-person performances.

Three.

Northern Sky Theater will present the in-person version of its world premiere comedy “Not Even Remotely” in the company’s Barbara and Spencer Gould Theater in Fish Creek. Performances start July 12.

“Not Even Remotely”is a madcap story about two actors who have been planning a lavish, in-person musical version of “Frankenstein.” But when rehearsals are suddenly shut down, they are forced to perform a two-person, online version of the show instead.

Directed by Nadja Simmonds, “Not Even Remotely” features Doug Clemons and Alex Campea.

The book, music and lyrics are by Richard Carsey and Stephen Kovacs, with the story by Richard Carsey, Corrie Beula Kovacs and Stephen Kovacs.

“Not Even Remotely” was written to be presented virtually or in-person. An online version(my review of “Not Even Remotely Virtual”) opened Northern Sky Theater’s summer season with a limited run in June. The production in the Gould Theater will be the show’s in-person world premiere.

“Not Even Remotely” also isNorthern Sky Theater’s first summer production in the Gould Theater, which opened in 2019 with a fall run of “Dad’s Season Tickets.” While continuing its performance schedule in the park, the company will use the Gould Theater to augment the season in a way that was not possible in the past.

“One of the major reasons for building a new theater was to have more control in scheduling our season and more assurances against weather-affected shows,” said Jeff Herbst, artistic director. “The Gould gives us both, and with the success of ‘Dad’s Season Tickets’ in this new space in fall of 2019, we are certainly encouraged to provide our audience with more opportunities to see programming indoors.”

Performances of “Not Even Remotely” are at 7:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday, July 12 to Aug. 7.

The Gould Theater will operate at 50 percent capacity. Masks are optional for all vaccinated patrons. All tickets must be purchased in advance. Info: northernskytheater.com.

As with all other shows this season, a filmed performance of “Not Even Remotely” will be available to watch after the show has finished in-person performances.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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