FISH CREEK, Wis. (WFRV) – Peninsula Players Theatre will present Frederick Knott’s “Write Me a Murder” starting next week in the professional company’s Theatre-in-a-Garden. Info:

Following the July 6 opening, performances are at 8 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, except for 2 p.m. Sunday, July 24.

According to a press release: Frederick Knott, also author of the Hitchcock classic “Dial M for Murder” and the popular “Wait Until Dark,” was adept at taking audiences on an unexpected ride. 

In “Write Me a Murder,” two estranged brothers are reunited at Rodingham Manor, the family estate, by the family doctor who informs them of their father’s imminent death. The elder Clive, who is a bit of a playboy, and David, a successful author, soon meet an opportunistic businessman, Sturrock. David wants to move back onto the estate and has no interest in selling, however, Clive’s wandering eye for an heiress from Texas gives him other ideas.  

Sturrock has his eyes set on acquiring the estate and encourages David to help his wife, Julie, an aspiring writer, co-author a murder mystery. Together, the two writers create the “perfect crime.” 

The plot thickens when Clive sells the estate to Sturrock and leaves for America. Sturrock then implores David to introduce Julie to the villagers and help her acclimate to village life. In the process, David falls in love with her.  Will the “perfect murder” be implemented?  And if so, on whom?

Peninsula Players Theatre veteran Greg Vinkler directs the thriller, his 36th production as a director with the company.  

Sean Fortunato returns as the rakish Clive, Xavier Edward King portrays his younger brother David, Ryan Hallahan is Sturrock, the businessman whose motives are questionable and Kai A. Ealy is the constable. All four actors are in the theater’s current production of “The Rainmaker” and have extensive stage and film credits. 

Ealy’s television credits include “The 440,” “61st Street” and “Ordinary Joe.” Fortunato has been in “Fargo,” “Chicago Med” and “Chicago PD.” Hallahan has appeared in “Pass Over” and “Chicago Fire,” and King will be in season two of “61st Street.”  

Eva Nimmer portrays Julie, the aspiring novelist and David’s love interest. Nimmer makes her mainstage debut at the theater after performing in this past winter’s play reading of “The Safe House” by Kristine Thatcher. Door County audiences may recognize Nimmer from her work at Northern Sky Theater and Third Avenue PlayWorks.  

Charlotte Booker also makes her Peninsula Players Theatre debut as Dr. Elizabeth Woolley, the saucy village physician. Booker’s credits include the Broadway production of “Born Yesterday” and dozens of television appearances, including “Bluebloods,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Hi Honey, I’m Home.”

Knott is credited for keeping the suspense story alive on stage even though it took him nine years to develop “Write Me a Murder” after “Dial M for Murder” made its debut.

“The most careful kind of plotting is needed and this takes time,” Knott said in an interview in 1962. “You have to devise, plan, invent,” he said. “The attention of the audience must not only be held, but directed and riveted to what the author wants it to see.”  

The entire cast has extensive stage credits at various Chicago theaters such as Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Court Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, TimeLine Theatre Company and Writers Theatre as well as regional theaters such as Actors Theatre of Louisville, Baltimore Center Stage, Long Wharf Theatre and Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

The creative team of “Write Me a Murder” includes Kärin Simonson Kopischke, costume design; Joe Court, sound design; Jack Magaw, scenic design; and Simean Carpenter, lighting design.

The theater’s season continues with “Ripcord,” a spirited comedy by David Lindsay-Abaire, the heartfelt “I and You” by Lauren Gunderson; and the madcap musical mystery, “Murder for Two,” by Kellen Blair and Joe Kinosian.

For COVID-19 concerns, the audience pavilion’s side panels, doors and vents will remain open throughout the performances this season. Patrons should dress for the weather and be prepared for shifting temperatures or breezes off the bay.  

Peninsula Players Theatre is America’s oldest professional resident summer theater.