FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County


Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Week ahead: Performances arriving or no longer in calendar, part 81

Critic At Large

Coronavirus COVID-19 impact

Sheboygan Theatre Company will return to live, in-person performances along with livestreamed offerings this week with the musical “Songs for a New World.”

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Along with performances that are happening live with in-person audiences, below is an overview of performances that were to take place in Northeastern Wisconsin in the coming week. Due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, some events in the region are not taking place this year, and many are presented with limited audiences. Masks are recommended or required, depending on protocols at the facilities.


Since the performance cancellations and postponements started around March 12, 2020, in Northeastern Wisconsin, affected have been at least 1,532 public productions and at least 4,958 performances, not counting club, casino or other engagements.

Many organizations continue to schedule performances with limited audience capacity. Some productions have livestream options. The tallies above are mere shadows of performances influenced by the coronavirus.


– In De Pere, Birder Players will present of the musical “Mamma Mia!” in Broadway Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 5, 13-15; 2 p.m. Oct. 16; and 4 p.m. Oct. 17. Info:

– In Tisch Mills, The Forst Inn Arts Collective will host Comedy City improvisational comedy players from the Green Bay area at 8 p.m. Sept. 30. Info:

– In Fond Lac, Fond du Lac Community Theatre will present Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5, The Musical” in Goodrich Little Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 2 and 2 p.m. Oct. 3. Info: Snapshot: Pushed to the boiling point, three female co-workers concoct a plan to get even with the sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot they call their boss. When the boss is finally out of the picture, the women give their workplace a dream makeover.

– In Oshkosh, The Grand Oshkosh will host “The Magic of Bill Blagg Live!” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1. Info:

– In Kimberly, Monty’s Secret Theater will present “Halloween Magic Show” at 7 p.m. every Friday and Saturday in October. Info: Shows are present by Monty Witt and other magicians in his company.

– In Sheboygan, Sheboygan Theatre Company will present the Jason Robert Brown musical “Songs for a New World” in person and livestreamed at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1-2; 2 p.m. Oct. 3; 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7-8; and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9. Info: A cast of six presents a mix of song/stories about people at a moment of decision. Director is Amanda Ellis. Music director is John Tengowski. In the cast are singers Jon Delray, Evan Vorpahl, Ava Childs and Kathleen Erdmann and dancers Holly Green and Autumn Schultz.

– In Ashwaubenon, Ashwaubenon Performing Arts Center will host “The Magic of Bill Blagg Live!” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2. Info:

– In Fish Creek, Door Community Auditorium will host Paula Poundstone of NPR’s “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me” at 8 p.m. Oct. 3. Info:

– In Oshkosh, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will present the Eugene O’Neill drama “A Moon for the Misbegotten” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7, 8, 9, 15 and 16 and 2 p.m. Oct. 17 in Theatre Arts Center on campus. Info: Directing is Jane Purse-Wiedenhoeft. Snapshot from the university site: One night on an Irish tenant farm in 1923 Connecticut, two lost souls are searching for love. In Nobel Laureate, Eugene O’Neill’s touching and heartbreaking play, Josie is a lively, misunderstood woman with a sarcastic wit that hides her low self-esteem. It’s been a hard and lonely life, working the farm with her bullying and shaming father. When the farm’s owner, James “Jamie” Tyrone Jr. returns to the farm to settle his mother’s estate, he opens his heart to Josie. She tries to claim him as her own, but the drunken Jamie is drowning in the depths of self-pity and remorse. When the morning dawns, Josie picks up the pieces.

– In Tisch Mills, The Forst Inn Arts Collective will present a preview of the Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori musical “Fun Home” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7 on The Forst Inn stage. Info: Performances continue at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7-8; 2 p.m. Oct. 9; 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21-23; 2 p.m. Oct. 24; and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27-30. Snapshot: The story is about parents seen through grown-up eyes. When her father dies unexpectedly, graphic novelist Alison dives deep into her past to tell the story of the volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life. Moving between past and present, Alison relives her unique childhood playing at the family’s Bechdel Funeral Home, her growing understanding of her sexuality, and the looming, unanswerable questions about her father’s hidden desires.

– In Sturgeon Bay, the newly rebuilt and renamed Third Avenue Playworks will present a preview of “Gutenberg! The Musical!” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7. Info: Performances continue to Oct. 31 (7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday). Written by Anthony King and Scott Brown, the show is a two-man spoof about aspiring playwrights who have come up with a big, splashy show about printing press inventor Johann Gutenberg.


– In Green Bay, Let Me Be Frank Productions will continue its run of “Frank’s Family Feud” (my review) at Meyer Theatre at 1 and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30; 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1-2, 7-9. Info: Other performances: Manitowoc, Capitol Civic Centre ( 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6. Marinette, Activity Hall at REC Center ( 7 p.m. Oct. 15. Kiel, Kiel Performing Arts Center (Facebook): 7 p.m. Oct. 23.

– In Fish Creek, Northern Sky Theater continues its performances of the Paul Libman/Dave Hudson musical “Naked Radio” (my review) in Gould Theater to Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, except 2 p.m. Oct. 28. Info:

– In De Pere, The Green Room resumed “ComedyCity Family Fun Show” at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and “Comedy City Improv Show” at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Saturdays. Info:


– In Green Bay, Daddy D Productions show troupe of Green Bay will present its final performance “Rave On!” (my review) Sept. 30 (6 p.m. dinner, 7 p.m. show) at Riverside Ballroom. Info:

– In Marinette, Theatre on the Bay will present its final performances of the Jason Robert Brown musical “The Last Five Years” (my review) in Herbert Williams Theatre on campus at 7 p.m. Oct. 1-2. Info:

– In De Pere, Evergreen Productions will present Christopher Sergel’s adaptation of “Cheaper by the Dozen” (my review) at 7 p.m. Oct. 1-2 and 2 p.m. Oct. 3. Info:


– In Oshkosh, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will host a guest recital with Ongi Suono Duo at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29 in Music Hall in the Arts and Communications Center. Info:

– In Tisch Mills, The Forst Inn Arts Collective will host “Open Mic” at 6 p.m. Sept. 30. Info:

– In Sheboygan, John Michael Kohler Arts Center will host The Belle Weather at 6 p.m. Sept. 30. Info:

– In Tisch Mills, The Forst Inn Arts Collective will host “Open Mic” at 6 p.m. Sept. 30. Info:

– In Appleton, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center will host Gary Allan at 8 p.m. Sept. 30. Info:

– In Green Bay, Backstage (at the Meyer) will host Tuk Concert at 7 p.m. Oct. 1. Info:

– In Ashwaubenon, Epic Event Center will host “An Evening With: Melissa Etheridge” at 8 p.m. Oct. 1. Info:

– In Manitowoc, Capitol Civic Centre will host “Vic Ferrari: Symphony on the Rocks” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2. Info:

– In Sheboygan, Weill Center for the Performing Arts will host Them Coulee Boys at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2. Info:

– In Menominee, Mich., River Cities Concert Association will host The Fabulous Equinox All Stars at 7 p.m. Oct. 3 in Blesch Auditorium. Info:

– In Ashwaubenon, Ashwaubenon Performing Arts Center will present Daddy D Productions of Green Bay in “Celebrate Sinatra” with songs of Frank Sinatra as sung with a band at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7. Info:

– In De Pere, Civic Symphony of Green Bay will present “Fall for All” at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 in person and livestreamed in Walter Theatre of Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts at St. Norbert College. Info: Led by Seong-Kyung Graham, the program includes Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” and “Appalachian Spring,” Eric Whitacre’s “October” and Antonio Vivaldi’s “Autumn” and “Winter” from “The Four Seasons” featuring violinist Samantha George of Lawrence University in Appleton.

– In De Pere, St. Norbert College will host N.E.W. College and University Faculty Brass Ensemble at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3 in Dudley Birder Hall on campus. Info:


+ HAPPENING BUT CLOSED TO PUBLIC: Artist Series concert with Spektral Quartet, Oct. 1, at Lawrence University, Appleton. Note from university: “In our efforts to keep our campus and community healthy, Lawrence University is closed to the public until further notice.”

+ CANCELED: Emily Birsan guest recital, at Lawrence University, Appleton.

+ CANCELED: N.E.W. College and University Faculty Brass Ensemble, Oct. 3, at St. Norbert College, De Pere.


– In De Pere, St. Norbert College will present “2021 Faculty Art Triennial” Oct. 4-28 in Bush Art Center Galleries on campus. The exhibition features recent work by Brandon Bauer, Shan Bryan-Hanson, Jessica Campbell, David Carpenter, Debbie Kupinsky, James Neilson, Brian Pirman and Katie Ries.

– In Fish Creek, Linda Fortunato has taken over duties as artistic director of Peninsula Players Theatre, the noted Door County professional company. She succeeds Greg Vinkler, who retired from the post after 34 years and remains with the company in on-stage capacities. According to a press release: Fortunato was appointed by the board of directors earlier this year. While easing into her new leadership role, she was a part of the re-opening team of the pared-downed, yet highly successful, 2021 season. “Greg has led and nurtured the theater so beautifully for years,” Fortunato says in the press release. “I am thankful for our many collaborations, and we are all indebted to him for his leadership and artistry. This season has been an honor to work alongside Greg with the whole company to bring live theatre back to the Peninsula Players stage. I eagerly look forward to the future and adding my voice to the magical tradition that is Peninsula Players.” As the new artistic director of “America’s Oldest Professional Resident Summer Theater,” Fortunato will uphold the theater’s historical legacy of collaborating with playwrights on new works and present a variety of plays from comedies and dramas to mysteries and musicals each season.  She has already been exploring possibilities for the winter play reading series, “The Play’s the Thing,” the 2022 season and the possible community outreach programming around it. Options continue to evolve as the world, and the theater, settle into its new reality. Jill Herlache, board president, and Brian Kelsey, managing director, said they are confident Fortunato will build on the theater’s 86 years of success, continuing to make it a vital and celebrated part of the national theater landscape and a quintessential Door County experience. “Linda understands the spirit of the theater’s patrons, artists and mission, and we are very assured its highly regarded reputation, and the future artistic excellence of Peninsula Players Theatre is in good hands,” Herlache said. Along with more than 17 years of collaboration with fellow Peninsula Players Theatre artists, Fortunato is a well-established and award-winning director and choreographer. Her Peninsula Players stage appearances include “Talley’s Folly,” “The Outsider” (formerly “A Real Lulu”), “Wait Until Dark,” “The Importance of Being Earnest,” “Moon Over Buffalo,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Blithe Spirit” and “Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.” Fortunato and Vinkler collaborated on the productions of “Chicago,” “Sunday in the Park with George” and “A Little Night Music,” which he directed and she choreographed. Vinkler also brought her on as director for “Living on Love,” “Lend Me a Tenor” and “And Then There Were None,” and as director/choreographer for the 2019 production of “Ghost The Musical.” “I am exceedingly happy to pass the artistic director baton on to Linda,” Vinkler said. “She has been a talented, trusted and collaborative member of the Peninsula Players family for 17 seasons. Linda and I have always been on the same page when working together, in everything from our artistic goals to the importance of supporting all members of the company. She knows the theater from top to bottom and has been warmly welcomed by Brian (Kelsey), the rest of the staff and the board with open arms. Linda understands the unique culture of this organization and understands this organization’s important place in the life of Door County. I believe deeply and completely that this passage is a natural transition true to the spirit of the theater’s founders and true to the mission it has carried through all of its 86 years.” While at the artistic helm of Theatre at the Center, Fortunato directed “Almost Heaven: John Denver’s America,” “White Christmas,” “Cabaret,” “Big River,” “The Tin Woman,” and “Steel Magnolias;” and choreographed “42nd Street,” “Spamalot” and “Crazy for You.” She received the Joseph Jefferson Award for Outstanding Choreography for “42nd Street,” earning Theatre at the Center’s first Joseph Jefferson Award. Fortunato’s other credits include directing “A Little Night Music,” “Next to Normal” and “Parade” (Jeff Nomination) BoHo Theatre; choreographing for American Players Theatre, Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, TimeLine, Writers Theatre, BoHo (Jeff Award – “Kiss of the Spider Woman”) and many Chicago-area high schools and colleges. She is a graduate of Millikin University with a BFA in theater and a minor in dance. She has taught in the theatre departments at Loyola University Chicago and Columbia College Chicago. “While speaking with patrons, donors and other company members after the announcement of Greg’s pending retirement, all expressed enthusiasm that Linda was a natural and obvious successor,” Kelsey said. “Like Greg and every devoted company member, she understands what Peninsula Players means and why so many people cherish it. I am excited to begin a new partnership with Linda as the theater moves forward into a new decade. I will miss my collaboration with Greg, but I also look forward to continuing to work with him as an actor or director in future seasons.” Peninsula Players Theatre’s 2022 season will run June 14 to Oct. 16. The theater is closely monitoring the public health situation and will make operating decisions for its 2022 season at a later date. More on the company and its rich history is a

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