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Summer Theater Season Starts

Within the next few weeks, Door County’s summer theater season will have kicked off in earnest. This year’s slate of local theater performances will transport audiences to places as close as Southern Door and as far away as rural Ireland. 

Third Avenue PlayWorks (TAP) was the first professional theater company in Door County to start its 2024 season, running Ms. Holmes and Ms. Watson – Apt. 2B throughout May. In June, TAP will return with Stones in his Pockets. Equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, the play follows two resourceful Irishmen acting as extras in a Hollywood film that’s being shot in their own homeland. Two actors, Neil Brookshire and Door County’s own Dan Klarer, play 15 characters, from directors and divas to local legends and pub crawlers. 

The cast of Stones in His Pockets rehearses. Photo courtesy of Third Avenue PlayWorks.

A pay-what-you-will preview for Stones in His Pockets will take place June 12; all proceeds will benefit Sunshine Resources of Door County. That performance will be followed by a final preview on June 13 and an official opening night on June 14. The show starts at 7:30 pm, Wednesdays through Saturdays, with Sunday matinees at 2 pm, and one Friday matinee, along with a post-show conversation, on June 21. 

The show will continue through June 30. TAP’s Steve and Jackie Kane Theatre is located at 239 N. 3rd Ave. in Sturgeon Bay. 

As TAP hosts a preview show of Stones in His Pockets on June 12, Northern Sky Theater will premiere The Fisherman’s Daughters on the same day. The play’s book, music and lyrics were all written by local singer-songwriter Katie Dahl, and its story follows two sisters – one living in Chicago, the other in Door County – as they reconnect. The show will run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, 7:30 pm, through Aug. 31.

As a repertory theater, Northern Sky runs multiple plays at the same time, so Hell’s Belgians will premiere alongside The Fisherman’s Daughters. A long-awaited prequel to Belgians in Heaven, the show was penned by the writers of the original play and features many of the same characters (though it’ll also be understandable for people who haven’t seen Belgians in Heaven, too.) The shows run Mondays, Thursdays (except for June 27) and Fridays, June 13 through Aug. 30. 

The production’s sister show, Belgians in Heaven, will start the following week on June 17, running on select Mondays and Thursdays. Showtimes vary for both Hell’s Belgians and Belgians in Heaven; check northernskytheater.com to plan your trip.

All three of Northern Sky’s outdoor summer shows will be held at the company’s amphitheater in Peninsula State Park, 10169 Shore Road in Fish Creek.

June 13 marks the first performance of Rogue Theater’s summer show, On Golden Pond. The touching community-theater production follows Ethel and Norman Thayer as they return to their summer home. The pair’s daughter pays them a visit before heading to Europe with her fiancé and leaving his teenage son behind for the summer.

The play will be performed June 13-30, Thursdays through Saturdays at 7 pm and Sundays at 2 pm. 

Performances will take place at the DC Arts Center, 917 N. 14th Ave. Sturgeon Bay.

Peninsula Players Theatre’s season starts the following week with I Ought to be in Pictures on June 18. In the show, a burned-out screenwriter’s life is turned upside-down when an unexpected visitor turns up at his doorstep: his 19-year-old daughter, who hitchhiked across the country in hopes that her estranged dad could help her snag a movie role.

The cast of I Ought to be in Pictures rehearses. Photo courtesy of Peninsula Players Theatre.

Written in 1980, the poignant comedy will be onstage through July 7 at Peninsula Players Theatre, 4351 Peninsula Players Road in Fish Creek. Shows run Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 7:30 pm, except for a matinee finale show on July 7 at 2 pm.

Door Shakespeare will be the last professional theater to start its summer season, with the repertory company beginning its run of Romeo and Juliet on July 3, and its run of Jane Austen’s Emma the following day. 

Emma is the Door Shakespeare’s world premier adaptation of Austen’s work, adapted to the stage by Joe Hanreddy for eight actors, with Maggie Kettering directing. Hanreddy, according to Door Shakespeare’s Amy Ensign, producing artistic director, likes to connect original stories with Wisconsin audiences. He took that approach when director of Door Shakespeare’s 2018 production of Much Ado About Nothing, setting the production in post-Civil War Door County.

Stay tuned for more info on those shows as they draw closer.