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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Professional theater in Sturgeon Bay sets first play for reopening

Critic At Large

Third Avenue Playhouse

Ryan Cappleman, from left, Chad Luberger and Doug Mancheski will perform in Third Avenue Playhouse’s production of “Gutenberg! The Musical!” (Third Avenue Playhouse photos)

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Third Avenue Playhouse professional theater has selected “Gutenberg! The Musical!” as the first production in its renovated/reshaped theater.

The company expects to complete a $2.5-million renovation of its facility this month. Introduced will be the Kane Theatre.

While the organization ceased live, in-person productions during the COVID-19 pandemic, it offered online programming that included a play reading series and interviews.

“Gutenberg! The Musical!” by Anthony Brown and Scott King will open Thursday, Oct. 7, and run to Sunday, Oct. 31. A pay-what-you-can preview performance will take place Oct. 6.

In the two-person musical spoof, aspiring playwrights perform a backers’ audition for their new project – a big, splashy musical about printing press inventor Johann Gutenberg.

Directed by Robert Boles and featuring Doug Mancheski as Bud Davenport and Chad Luberger as Doug Simon, “Gutenberg! The Musical!” features more than three dozen songs with the two-person cast playing more than 30 roles, using very limited props and costuming. Ryan Cappleman will perform the role of Charles, their very patient onstage and off-stage musical director.

With an unending supply of enthusiasm, Bud and Doug sing all the songs and play all the parts in their crass historical epic, with the hope that one of the producers in attendance will give them a Broadway contract – fulfilling their ill-advised dreams.

Doug Mancheski’s recent shows at Third Avenue Playhouse include “Gray’s Anatomy,” “Shooting Star,” “True West” and “The Drawer Boy.” He has spent more than two decades performing at Northern Sky Theater in shows including “Dad’s Season Tickets,” “Boxcar,” “Lumberjacks in Love,” “Muskie Love,” “Victory Farm,” “Bone Dance,” “The Bachelors” and “Fishing for the Moon.” He is probably best known for playing Marvin in “Guys on Ice,” a role he has lost count on the number of times he’s performed.

Chad Luberger was last seen on the Third Avenue Playhouse stage in “Almost, Maine.” He also has performed with Northern Sky Theater. A Door County resident, Luberger owns Plum Bottom Gallery with his wife Angela in Egg Harbor, and “he happily spends his days making pots, coaching his two daughters (ages 14 and 6) on the YMCA swim team.”

Ryan Cappleman was last seen on the Third Avenue Playhouse stage in “Tomfoolery” and “La La Lucille.” He is a performer, choreographer, music director and teaching artist from Milwaukee.

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