NEW LONDON, Wis. (WFRV) – Three plays, one night, one place – that would be a variety pack.

Producer/director Margie Brown and 23 players in Wolf River Theatrical Troupe leap into that challenge with a comedy, a murder mystery and a farce continuing to April 30 in Wolf River Theater.

Such a thing is not attempted often in this region.

Margie Brown has everybody game for adventure. She gets youth from two high schools involved in one of the plays.

Below is an overview:

The basics:

The performers change the set pieces between the plays.

Music between the plays and beforehand is hit songs from the 1950s to give the aura spirit.

Running time: Two hours, 10 minutes.

Remaining performances: 7 p.m. overall starting time except for 2 p.m. April 30: + “Just Desserts” and “In Memoriam” – April 21-22, 28-30; “The Capricious Pearls” – April 21-22, 28.


Creative: Director/producer – Margie Brown; assistant director – Jenna Beckman; set construction – Clint Danke; set decoration and props – Margie Brown, Jayla Dominguez, Jenna Beckman; lighting and sound – Chris Berberich; make-up and hair – cast and Jayla Dominguez.

The program:

+ “Just Desserts” by Pat Cook


M. Barnaby Simms, the lawyer – Craig LeBeau

Arney Costello, fast talker – Caleb Lauer

Delphine DeLago, Arney’s feisty grandmother – Dorie Attoe

Viola Clairborn, Delphine’s sister, in her own world – Mickey Schmidt

Max Clairborn, blow-hard – Derek Schulz

Maybelle Clairborn, Max’s wife – Sloane Schinke

Frieda Costello, Arney’s mom, a star-child – Debbie Ostrander

Theresa Morgan, honest secretary – Raina Swiggum

Playwright Pat Cook is a seasoned writer of hundreds of plays, and this comedy tumbles along with all sorts of wordplay.

The setup is a comically frayed family has gathered for the reading of a will. Naturally, greed is in the air.

To make sure the audience knows things will be oddball, Pat Cook has the lawyer’s doorbell being a cuckoo clock.

The players are into their characters – a variety pack, too. Some of the fun churns around the bickering between the lawyer (Craig LeBeau) and such people as an argumentative grandmother (Dorie Attoe), a fast-talking slacker (Caleb Lauer) and a flakey astrologer (Debbie Ostrander). A bunch of jokes revolves around a wannabe Marilyn Monroe lookalike (Sloane Schinke) who has a hard time finding somebody to believe her.

The production speaks “community theater comedy.”

+ “In Memoriam” by Marline Remington


Diane Arnette, daughter of wealthy publisher – Brooklyn Billington

Brad Kessler, stockbroker from New York – Caleb Lauer

Dr. Marvin Whitby, physician – Jim Ehrhardt

Miss Amanda Carter, older spinster – Vickie Hale

Tony Patrillo, gangster – Jim Sexton

Adam Holmes, butler – Derek Schulz

This is a murder mystery with people trapped at a remote island mansion. The playwright borrows from Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None,” though with five people rather than 10.

The unseen host has gathered the five to hear a reading of charges of murderous crimes against them… to be dealt with. Especially colorful among the accused is a gruff mobster (Jim Sexton) and a booze-driven physician (Jim Ehrhardt).

And, surprise, surprise, there is a surprise ending.

+ “The Capricious Pearls” by Virginia Kidd


Boss – Nick Leone

Little Auggie – Sam Stillwell

Lefty – Zong Xiong

Clarence – Trevor Bohringer

Angel – Kassie Beyer

Mrs. Hildebrand – Nadia Banaszynski

Mrs. Teasdale – Allie Kloehn

Granny Carson – Maggie Kane

Mrs. Katts – Alaena Wolf

Ellen Landrum – Jule Roehner

Maude – Raina Swiggum

Lucy Lee – Taren Zietlow

Margie Brown, a retired teacher who still directs school plays, involves students from New London and Weyauwega/Freemont high schools in this farce.

The students jump into their over-the-top roles.

Four males play crooks who have just been released from prison. The setup is they are returning to where they hid a pearl necklace they stole, and that place has become the Landrum Home for Aged Ladies. Eight females portray people in the home that include four as dress-up grannies.

Being a farce with such things as the hair from a left-handed person activating voodoo action, this is silliness for fun.


NEXT: “Loved in Return:  A Night with Nat King Cole,” April 23.

THE VENUE: Wolf River Theatre at 304 St. John’s Place in downtown New London is home to Wolf River Theatrical Troupe performances. The building was built as a church in 1906 and most previously was used as Real Opportunities Outreach following its years as Christian Cornerstone Church. The exterior is red brick, with crosses atop the roof and on a side entryway. The rectangular auditorium seats 80 on moveable chairs. The former altar serves as the stage, with an adorned wooden beam and two columns with Corinthian capitals on each side establishing the stage front. The beam holds theatrical lighting fixtures. High above on the walls, wooden shutters cover window spaces. The performance space is unique among theaters in the region. It is especially deep. The stage is about 30 feet wide and at least 35 feet deep. To the left of the stage is the entrance to rest rooms. In the back of the house is the box office and a small area for concessions and displays, including a newspaper clipping from 1980 when the building was an Episcopal church.