The Year in Theater & Performance 2023

A New Twist on Broadway Classics

Northern Door Pride founder Owen Alabado sings during Broadway with a Twist. File photo by Rachel Lukas.

Members of Northern Door Pride performed songs from Wicked, Heathers, Mean Girls and more during Broadway with a Twist: A Cabaret at the Kress Center this January.

Actors Collaborative Door County Performs First Show

Hello Out There cast members rehearse. File photo by Actors Collaborative Door County.

A newly-formed classical theater company, Actors Collaborative Door County, performed its first show, Hello Out There, at Sturgeon Bay’s Margaret Lockwood Gallery this January and February.

Step Afrika! Introduces Local Students to Stepping

During an hour-long matinee at Fish Creek’s Door County Auditorium this February, dance troupe Step Afrika! taught local school children about the percussive African-American dance style of stepping.

Northern Sky Launches NOVA Initiative 

Lachrisa Grandberry. File photo by Rachel Lukas.

This spring, Northern Sky Theater launched the NOVA (Nurturing Original Voices and Artists) Initiative. Directed by playwright/composer/actor Lachrisa Grandberry, the program aims to create more opportunities for alumni, emerging and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) playwrights. 

New Executive Director for Peninsula Music Festival

Scott Stolarz. File photo.

Peninsula Music Festival’s months-long search for a new executive director ended this spring when the organization hired Scott Stolarz, a former performing-arts consultant with family history in Door County. 

Local Theaters Participate in World Premiere Wisconsin

The Fish Whisperer cast members rehearse. File photo by Rachel Lukas.

Three local theater companies took part in the inaugural World Premiere Wisconsin festival, a summer-long celebration of new theater shows organized by Madison’s Forward Theater Company, the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and Door County’s Northern Sky Theater. Third Avenue PlayWorks presented I Carry Your Heart with Me by Jennifer Blackmer in May; Peninsula Players performed A Rock Sails By by Sean Grennan from June to July; and Northern Sky Theater staged The Fish Whisperer by Scott Guy and Robin Share, with music by Dan Wessels and Ron Barnette, from June to August.

DC Arts Center Opens

The cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. File photo by Rogue Theater.

Sturgeon Bay’s newest performing-arts venue, DC Arts Center, opened with Rogue Theater’s performance of The Savannah Sipping Society in July. In November to December, the venue hosted its first full-production show, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

New Autumn Music Fest at Midsummer’s Music

Featured oboist Lindsay Flowers performed at the Autumn Music Fest’s opening-night gala. File photo.

Midsummer’s Music launched its first-ever Autumn Music Fest from September to October, playing pieces by Brahms, Mendelssohn and Mozart, alongside works by female composers and musicians of color.

Governor Grants $330,000 to Peninsula Players Theatre

File photo courtesy of Peninsula Players Theatre.

In November, Fish Creek’s Peninsula Players Theatre was notified by the office of Gov. Tony Evers that it would receive a $330,000 grant, ending its capital campaign to build two new dormitories to replace the dated structures that house the seasonal company. The Peninsula Players grant was among the $36.6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds Evers granted to five building projects across the state.

Inaugural Blues, Roots and Hoots Festival at DCA

Bobby Rush. File photo.

This November, Door Community Auditorium debuted a three-day music fest, Blues, Roots, and Hoots Festival. It featured Joey Alexander Trio, a group led by a prodigy jazz pianist; legendary bluesman Bobby Rush, accompanied by guitarist Phil Cook; and gospel powerhouse Phil Cook Spiritual Helpline Gospel Revue.