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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Grand opening, ‘Dad’s Season Tickets’ set at Gould Theater in Fish Creek

Critic At Large

Northern Sky Theater

New Northern Sky Theater headquarters in Fish Creek. (Artist rendering)

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FISH CREEK, Wis. (WFRV)

Northern Sky Theater announced the grand opening of its creative center and its newest musical, “Dad’s Season Tickets,” to be performed in the Barbara and Spencer Gould Theater.

The theater is named for the longtime Door County philanthropist couple.

According to a press release: The theater is a professionally equipped, intimate 248-seat venue that will serve as the home for Northern Sky Theater’s fall and winter shows. In addition, the facility will be used for rehearsals, readings, workshops and benefits.

In 2017, Northern Sky Theater embarked on the public phase of its “Constellation Campaign.” The company broke ground on their property on the corner of County Roads A and F in Fish Creek in May 2018. The building and the fundraising campaign are in their final stages, with $350,000 left to raise of the nearly $8 million campaign goal.

The company will celebrate the opening over Labor Day weekend.

A grand opening ceremony will be held the afternoon of Friday, Aug. 30, followed by an invitation-only performance of “Dad’s Season Tickets.”

The public is invited to join in the celebration Saturday, Aug. 31, for either a matinee or evening performance of “Dad’s Season Tickets” and a reception and sneak peek of the new facility. Info: northernskytheater.com.

“When folks join us at the Gould Theater, they’ll experience a setting like no other,” said Jeff Herbst, artistic director. “Upon entering the building, guests will be treated to a view of the surrounding woods from our lobby where they can purchase their tickets, buy a nice gift item, say hello to the friendly folks in the office, catch a glimpse of rehearsals and greet the artists as they prepare for upcoming performances.”

John Sawyer and Craig Coursin of Door County’s Carlson Erickson Builders are the lead contractors on the project and have worked closely with building committee chair Tim Stone and the architectural firm of Strang, Inc.

“Part of the goal of this new space was to emulate our summer home in Peninsula State Park,” said Dave Maier, managing director. “The theater itself features 28-foot windows allowing our audience to feel like they are sitting amidst the trees with custom built shutters that can be easily closed or opened depending on the needs and setting of the performance.”

The company has also scheduled open house opportunities for the public on Sept. 5, Sept. 26 and Oct. 14.

Northern Sky Theater’s ongoing mission of creating original shows has given the company a unique identity with a history of more than 50 world premieres. More than 40,000 people attend the theater annually. The creative center will ensure that Northern Sky Theater’s mission will be sustainable well into the future.

Herbst sees the building project as a renewed commitment to the company’s audience.

“We have an incredible relationship with our loyal audience,” he said. “We now have generations of families who have been coming to see the original work we create with them in mind. People who came as children are now bringing their own children and grandchildren. This is a legacy moment for so many of us who have been involved with this company since its beginnings. We all feel a deep responsibility to set the stage for the success and longevity of this theater that we’ve made our life’s work and nurtured for all these years.

While Northern Sky Theater will consolidate many of its operations under one roof, allowing for a year-round presence, the company plans to continue to perform its summer season in Peninsula State Park.

“Dad’s Season Tickets,” written by Matt Zembrowski, is a musical comedy celebrating family, folly and football. From the marketing description: “Which of Frank’s three daughters will inherit his treasured season tickets? The Kosinski sisters employ every trick in the playbook. From kickoff to the final Hail Mary, it’s anyone’s game. To reach the end zone, our home team must first relearn that family isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”

“Dad’s Season Tickets” is funded in part by a grant from the Green Bay Packers Foundation. 

Performances of “Dad’s Season Tickets” will be held Aug. 31-Oct. 26 at the Gould Theater, 9058 County Road A in Fish Creek.

Northern Sky Theater is a non-profit professional theater organization that produces original musical shows in repertory from June through August in Peninsula State Park. The company continues its performances into fall with shows indoors September through October and over the Christmas holiday.

Northern Sky Theater had its beginnings in 1970, when a small troupe of college students, the Heritage Ensemble, began performing folk revues for an audience of mostly campers in Peninsula State Park. Over the decades, artists with Wisconsin roots transformed the company into a regionally acclaimed, professional theater with a commitment to developing and performing its own material. 

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