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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: It looks to be another active year in performing arts in the region

Critic At Large

At least two world premieres

The roots of two world premiere productions in 2020 in Northeastern Wisconsin trace to British humorist P.G. Wodehouse.


Looking ahead on the 2020 performing arts scene in Northeastern Wisconsin, special of interest stand out on calendars.

Premieres always have an extra sizzle.

+ Part of the Peninsula Players Theatre’s 85th season will be the world premiere of “The Gentleman Thief.” Playwright Mark Brown draws from a story by a master of wry mirth, P.G. Wodehouse.

According to a press release, Brown said, “I love those old Cary Grant romantic screwball comedies and wanted to write a script that harkens back to those films.”

Performances are Sept. 9-Oct. 18 in the theater’s fall season.

Located near Fish Creek, the historical theater was the forerunner of professionalism in Door County and the region.

More about plans of Peninsula Players Theatre is here:

+ Oshkosh Community Players will premiere the comedy “Someplace Different,” written by a local talent, Brad Dokken.

The comedy, according to the website is “a snapshot of what restaurant life is really like. There’ll be food, friends, fun, and plenty of stories along the way.” 

It’s the second original play for the troupe by Dokken, who will also direct.

Performances are Feb. 28-March 1 and March 5-7 in The Grand Oshkosh.

+ Door Shakespeare will celebrate its 25th season in summer with three instead of its traditional two productions.

The company that performs outdoors at Bjorklunden near Baileys Harbor in Door County will do one play by William Shakespeare (the tragedy “Hamlet”), 37 plays by William Shakespeare (the three-person comedy “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised]” and “Wittenberg” (David Davalos’ imagining of 1518 at the university with Hamlet, Dr. Faustus and Martin Luther).

The 2020 season will run from late June to mid-August, with specifics to be announced.

+ One of the interesting sagas in theater in Wisconsin is “Beast on the Moon,” written by Richard Kalinoski of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Theatre faculty. Since being published in 1992, the play has been produced in many parts of the world and translated into 19 languages.

Set in Milwaukee in the 1920s, “Beast on the Moon” follows the lives of an immigrant refugee and his teenage, mail-order bride. Seta and Aram are two polar opposites who have one tragic experience in common, genocide in Armenia.

What is special is the play will have a homecoming of sorts in a production at UW-Oshkosh Feb. 27-29 and March 5-8.

Peninsula Music Festival will have five guest conductors for its 68th summer season.

That is quite a change from the past 34 years, when Victor Yampolsky served as music director and conductor for the orchestra made up of professional musicians from throughout the country.

As usual, nine concerts are set for Aug. 4 to 22 in Door Community Auditorium.

+ An ambitious schedule – 10 productions – is being mapped by Northern Sky Theater for its two theaters in the vicinity of Fish Creek.

A world premiere is part of its three-musical outdoor season June 10-Aug. 29 in Peninsula State Park. “Love Stings” is an adaptation by Richard Castle and Matthew Levine of a P.G. Wodehouse story. Snapshot: While planning a lavish wedding on a 1960s Door County bee farm, idealistic Bill Zapper begins to wonder if he and his reluctant fiancée are truly right for each other. Will the outrageous wedding go off without a hitch, or “is this the calm before the swarm?”

Four projects are set for June 16-Sept. 5 in the indoor Gould Theater near Fish Creek. Three are returning shows, and the fourth is “SkyWriting!” blending the writing of local students with presentation by professional actors.

The fall season Sept. 11-Oct. 31 will see two productions in repertory, and the year will end with the traditional “Home for the Holidays.”

More about the plans of Northern Sky Theater are here:

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