FISH CREEK, Wis. (WFRV) – One of the professional theaters in Northeastern Wisconsin takes a path that few travel.
Northern Sky Theater presents musicals of its own creation.
Putting together all shows from scratch makes the company special among American theater.
The stories are about something in Wisconsin, whether historical or fanciful.
“Love Stings” is the company’s latest all-new production that’s running beneath the “roof” of tall pine trees right above the stage in Peninsula State Park Amphitheater.
The musical comedy is set in the early 1960s of President John F. Kennedy.
The leading character is Bill Zapper, an idealist who is trying to overcome his family’s ties to destructive DDT.
His almost-fiancée is a theater star with the age of 40 in the rear-view mirror.
Through hocus-pocus, the writers of the show, Richard Castle and Matthew Levine, place $1 million in Bill Zapper’s hand and take him to a bee farm in Door County.
It is there that Bill is stung by true love.
Meantime, Bill’s almost-fiancée meets up with a classmate who was a nerd in high school and is now loaded with money.
Along the way, there’s a bit of education – what it is like to nurture bee hives and the importance of bees.
In true theatricality, hostile bees are puppets.
In true Northern Sky Theatre form, puns abound, like the almost-fiancée being the star queen bee in low-budget B-movies.
A line in my review tells how “Love Stings” is off the bee-ten track.
Messages are woven in, from environmental concerns to expanding roles for women in a changing society.
Sixteen more performances continue to Aug. 26 in the amphitheater, which is where the company has been presenting original productions since 1970 under the names of The Heritage Ensemble and American Folklore Theatre.
Many, many busy bees have put together the popular populist theater’s world-premiere offerings.
One of the “bees” on stage in “Love Stings,” Lachrisa Grandberry, is a co-author of Northern Sky Theater’s next premiere production. “Sunflowered,” opens Sept. 9 at the company’s indoor Gould Theater near Fish Creek.