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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: New ‘Whatever Happened to Karl Janko?’ opens outdoors Aug. 9

Critic At Large

Northern Sky Theater

Show logo.

FISH CREEK, Wis. (WFRV) – Next up on the season of Northern Sky Theater is the world premiere mystery musical “Whatever Happened to Karl Janko?”

Performances in Peninsula State Park Amphitheater are at 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Aug. 9 to Sept. 18. Info: northernskytheater.com.

According to a press release: The show is by Matt Zembrowski, author of the company’s 2019 hit “Dad’s Season Tickets.”

In the story, Karl Janko, was last seen in his metallic green 1976 Cutlass Supreme. He disappeared from his tiny Wisconsin hometown without a trace. Thirty-five years later, everyone in town thinks they know what happened to him-and they’re all wrong. Actors play multiple roles in the comical musical mystery, inspired by real-life events.

The cast includes Lachrisa Grandberry, Jeff Herbst, Doc Heide, Karen Mal and Doug Mancheski. Directing is Northern Sky Theater’s associate artistic director, Molly Rhode.

Matt Zembrowski also co-wrote another Northern Sky Theater musical “Doctor! Doctor!” As with “Dad’s Season Tickets,” Zembrowski wrote the book, lyrics and music for “Whatever Happened to Karl Janko?” He wrote it during the past year, seeking to write a story with minimal technical needs and maximum entertainment value, which would work well in a COVID-influenced season.

“In addition to Northern Sky shows, I grew up watching ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ and ‘The X-Files,’ so I thought it might be fun to write an ‘unsolved mystery’ musical. And who else but Northern Sky would be willing to take such a crazy ride with me?” Zembrowski said. “I’m so thrilled with how this piece is turning out.”

At the theater, masks are optional for all vaccinated patrons. The amphitheater in Peninsula State Park will be running at full capacity; patrons may call the box office to request socially distanced seating.

Northern Sky Theater will also record this production so that patrons may watch virtually if they prefer. Virtual tickets will become available 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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