A newsletter from Northern Sky Theater • SPRING 2015
Barbeque, Blackguards, Banjoes & Birlers Jeffrey Herbst, Artistic Director
ith the transition to our new name, Northern Sky Theater, and our 25th season upon us, we have doubled down and are doing something we’ve never done before by premiering two book musicals in one summer season. No Bones About It and When Butter Churns to Gold will join last year’s hit, Strings Attached, for what promises to be a rollicking repertory line-up under the stars. And, for the first time, Lumberjacks in Love will play indoors at the DCA, giving many who have never seen it in our summer line-up a chance to enjoy it along with the spectacular fall colors in one fell swoop.
Sizzle! No Bones About It, by Paul Libman and Dave Hudson, makes its world premiere at Northern Sky. With six book musicals now written specifically for Northern Sky, this makes the Libman/Hudson team the most prolific writing team in our 25year history. With a loose spoof on Romeo and Juliet, Bones plays fast and loose with the current phenomenon of barbecue cook-offs. You’ll certainly recognize the nod to the bard as the warring families of the Cappies and the Monties have to come to grips with the youngest members of their clans, Ronnie and Julie, falling in love as the “char-crossed” lovers. Witnessing all of this
Barbeque, Blackguards, Banjoes, and Birlers, continued from the front page is a trio of colorful characters: Larry Friar, of Friars Spices, and a couple of food bloggers, Kelly and Ken, who have every modern technology use on display to get the word out about the competition and the sizzling love affair. Doug Mancheski and Rhonda Rae Busch will play the patriarch/matriarch of the barbecue dynasties, with Chase Stoeger and Eva Nimmer as their love-fated scions. Bill Theisen returns for his second season to play Larry, and newcomers Alex Campea and Kelly Doherty will delight as super-connected, blogging food critics. Pam Kriger and I will co-direct. Our trio of designers for the season will be Lisa Schlenker (set), Karen Brown-Larimore (costumes), and Dave Alley (lights). Nic Trapani will return as our Audio Director and Bryce Foster will join us for his first year as lighting/electrical assistant. Our pit will be chaired by Northern Sky returnees, Tim Lenihan, Craig McClelland and Bruce Newbern. Neen Rock will again be Production Stage Manager and prop designer for the season. She will be aided again this year by fellow Stage Manager, Lisa Mion, and assistant, Shawn Galligan.
Hiss! When Butter Churns to Gold, by Ron Barnett, Peter Welkin, and Randi Wolfe, takes the old theatrical melodrama form and inserts modern-day tongue in cheek to create a delightful, interactive musical complete with a villain, hero, heroine and trusty sidekicks. Will Constance Goodwin (aww!) find the money to pay the mortgage before the mustache-twirling Friederich von Fouler (boo!) expropriates her dairy empire? Will Jack Strongfellow (yay!) save the day with his brave and strong ways? Whatâ€™s up with those graverobbing sidekicks, Helena and Simon Dewannabe? And, most importantly, will the vat of beer play a crucial role in any of this? Displaying plenty of slapstick, our cast of six will be Molly Rhode (aww!), Doug Mancheski (boo!), Chad Luberger (yay!), Chase Stoeger and Kelly Doherty (hah!), and myself as the multiple hat-wearing Narrator/Bank Teller/Justice/Sheriff/Telegraph Operator/Bartender. This is now our second collaboration with New Musicals, Inc. (NMI), which is based in Los Angeles. Our trio of writers started out the writing process on the West Coast, with my first visit to LA to view the initial material being at the end of 2013. The three of them then visited Wisconsin last summer when we did an initial reading. That was followed by a workshop in Milwaukee in January. Peter, who grew up in Milwaukee and still has family in Wisconsin, first came to see us in the summer of 2013 and proposed the idea of a musical melodrama as being a perfect fit for our theater and audience. Iâ€™ve no doubt his instinct will prove prophetic, much like the golden sapphire in our story (hmm . . .)! Strum! Strings Attached, by Dave Hudson and Colin Welford, delighted audiences 2
Barbeque, Blackguards, Banjoes, and Birlers, continued from page 2 last year in its world premiere on our stage. With its return in an immediate subsequent year, it joins the pantheon of hit musicals that our audiences just can’t get enough of. Strings Attached tells of twins separated in childhood, only to be reunited after much mistaken identity hijinks. Last summer, I had as much fun watching our audience watch this show as I’ve ever had. As the characters got more and more confused about who was who, the laughter that erupted in waves was completely infectious. The cast will again include: Chad Luberger and Chase Stoeger as the two twins, both named Hal: Molly Rhode and Eva Nimmer as the requisite love interests; Doc Heide as Bob; and the hotel trio of innkeepers rounded out with Doug Mancheski, Rhonda Rae Busch, and Alex Campea. Janet Anderson will again join the pit on second keyboard. If you missed this one last year, you’re in for a real treat. If you didn’t, come back and “double” your fun.
Chop! Lumberjacks in Love, written by Fred Alley with music by James Kaplan, makes its fall debut. Nineteen years ago the burly boys from Haywire lumber camp first stomped and romped on the old Northern Sky stage. And now, for the first time in Door County, we will present this delightful show indoors for a fall run in September and October. I’ll never forget that crazy day in March of 1996 when Fred called me and said that he and James had a new show that they wanted to do that summer. The craziest thing of all is that it needed to be ready by May. We got it open and everyone delighted in getting to know Slim, Moonlight, Muskrat, Dirty Bob, the Kid, and of course the Mail Order Bride. A few years later, Milwaukee Rep expressed an interest in the show and wanted an expanded version. Fred and James went back to the drawing board and revised a fair amount of Lumberjacks, adding songs and scenes and fleshing out more of the characters’ stories. This revised version of Lumberjacks played at Northern Sky in 2000, and this is the version we’ve been doing ever since. The stalwart Birlers returning to the show are Chase Stoeger as Moonlight, Doug Mancheski as Dirty Bob, and myself as Slim. Craig McClelland will spring from the pit to make his onstage debut with Northern Sky as Muskrat. Molly Rhode will reprise her role of Rosemary, and Eva Nimmer will make her mark as the Kid. Every year we get more requests for Lumberjacks in Love than for any other Northern Sky show, so we’re delighted to bring it to our fall season followers. We look forward to seeing you under the Northern Sky. 3
A Place to Create With a Little Help From Our Friends Dave Maier, Managing Director
For the past 25 years we’ve been entertaining thousands of folks with our special brand of musical theatre at the Northern Sky Amphitheater in Peninsula State Park. As we celebrate this anniversary, we have special cause to look forward to what the next 25 years “under the stars” will bring. Yes… prepare to be teased. Our success and survival depend on satisfying an ever-increasing public demand for original musical theater. Creating these musicals requires a ton of preparatory work that mostly happens offsite. But what most folks don’t realize is that our organization has never had a central base of its own. While the park will always be our summer performance venue, our behind-the-scenes operations take place in a host of rented facilities spread all over the county. We rent offices in Ephraim, shop and costume space in Baileys Harbor, rehearsal space in Egg Harbor, storage space in Fish Creek, and various town halls and the DCA for fall performances. The rehearsal space we used for years (a converted barn room we
only half-lovingly referred to as the “chicken coop!”) was not climate-controlled and had no dedicated restrooms. We still often find ourselves not knowing if a venue will be available to rent for our purposes, making it difficult to map out long-term plans for development of the new works that are vital to our future. The consensus at our recent long-range planning meeting is that the primary tool we’re missing is a place to create - a place that is customized for doing what we, and only we, do: create musicals especially written for our Door County audience. We need a facility that stimulates and supports creative experimentation - a professional facility that we control. We need a home—a place to nurture all the great things that need to happen before we get to the park. And the big news is, we’re finally ready to make that happen! What will this new integrated campus look like? We’re busy figuring that out, and to help us define that vision we’ve partnered with the renowned architectural firm Strang, Inc. out of Madison, WI. Strang continued on next page
A Place to Create, continued Exciting stuff! First things first. Our immediate quest is to secure the perfect piece of land for this new creative campus. Our goal is to remain as close to the park as is practical and affordable. We’re searching for a commercial property that has the potential to be a place of serenity, reflection and artistic inspiration. And as I write this, we’re hopeful that we’ve located just such an ideal location. Our board is fully committed to this project and assuming we can secure the appropriate piece of property in a timely manner, we hope to break ground in the spring of 2017. We trust this is great news for those who love Northern Sky’s “can do” spirit. We’ll obviously need your help as we embark on making it all happen. This will certainly be one of our biggest “new works” ever, and we look forward to bringing you many more exciting details in the very near future.
designed the beautiful Touchstone Theater for American Players in Spring Green, WI and has a reputation for incorporating a special reverence for the local ecology and history of the land into their design work. One thing we’re certain of, the campus we create will include a rehearsal space capable of converting, with relative ease, into a professional, yet warm and intimate, 200seat flexible performance space. This will give us the option of hosting our own fall performance season and other events going forward. The campus will include other “Door County” design elements that will represent Northern Sky with style - a place where anyone that has been to our amphitheater in the park will feel right at home. Perhaps most exciting of all, this newworks super “incubator” will also give us, for the first time really, the opportunity to share our creative process with our fans.
Want to Share in the Applause?
who camp at Peninsula State Park for a week and want to volunteer at every show during their stay, and volunteers who help at just one or two shows. In other words, we’re looking for you!
What qualifications do we require? The main requirement is enthusiasm about Northern Sky! As a show volunteer, you’re almost always the first representative of Northern Sky that a patron sees. We need you to be a friendly face for our guests and to be able to stand for about an hour and a half – those are about the only tools you need, we’ll train you on any task we give you.
Northern Sky Volunteer! Northern Sky relies on, and is always looking for, fans ready to step up and lend a hand! To make a show go, we need volunteers to usher, sell merchandise and concessions, assist with traffic flow in the parking lot, assist patrons to our handicapped seating area, and to drive the golf cart shuttle. All told, there are more than 80 opportunities to volunteer at our shows each week – that means you have about 1000 chances to volunteer over the course of the summer!
If you’d like to volunteer or just to get more information, we want to hear from you! Just tell us, “I want to volunteer at Northern Sky!” in person at the office, over the phone at (920) 854-6117 x104, or email ann@NorthernSkyTheater.com.
What type of commitment are we looking for? We love to have volunteers who can commit to helping out once a week through the summer season, volunteers who we can call at the last minute in case someone else cancels, volunteers 5
The Godfather of Northern Sky Theater Doc Heide, Co-founder of Northern Sky, Playwright, Artistic Advisor a woodchuck and helped his granddaughter direct it. He created and performed a one-man show, Folklore Fights the Nazis. He arranged songs for the Madison Norwegian Grieg Chorus. The man never let up. Who would have thunk you could write an entertaining musical about the Rhinelander Hodag – a mythical beast half elephant and half dinosaur? Dave not only thought so – he wrote it, toured Europe with it, and presented a command performance of it for Lady Bird Johnson. Could you actually divert battlehardened US troops in the Far East with historic American railroad songs? Dave thought you could, and it worked. There were many keys to Dave’s success. He could spot talent. He had a nose for great melodies. He had a sterling intellect and unlimited creative drive. His arrangements were exhilarating. Part of his accomplishment was taking songs you’d never heard of and giving them such a luster of Broadway polish that you’d swear you learned them at your mother’s breast. But another part of what Dave did was even bigger. He not only converted the content of the folk tradition into musical theater – he lived the folk process with us. With Dave there was never a hierarchy. Any good idea was welcome. If you wanted to add a song you’d unearthed in the appendix of a moldy library book in Packwaukee to one of his shows, he’d be delighted. If you wanted to weave three songs together, he’d be thrilled. I can’t tell you how empowering that was. We were all in this together. On the afternoon of Sunday, June 28 in the Amphitheater there’ll be an all-star celebration of Dave’s life, spearheaded by our old friend Amy Chaffee. Many former Ensemble members will be there singing and reminiscing. We hope you can make it. It will honor the indispensable man who offered the healing balm of America’s music and tales to untold thousands in the goodness of Nature. And by that gift, became the godfather of Northern Sky Theater.
Last fall our community lost an amazing man most of you never met. He didn’t perform on our stage, and for the last 25 years visited Door County only once in a blue moon. But without him, there’d never have been an AFT or Northern Sky Theater. Dave Peterson was his name. While camping in 1969, he stumbled upon our beautiful amphitheater in the pines and decided it would be a perfect place for shows. Then he gave birth to our predecessor troupe, the Heritage Ensemble, and hired folks like Fred Alley, Jeff Herbst and me to perform in it. It’s hard to write about Dave without getting personal. We were never close friends, yet nobody outside my family had a bigger influence on my life. Although I was just a psychology student when we met, he gave me a performing career, invited me to manage his troupe and write shows, and then when he retired in 1990, gifted Gerald Pelrine and me with the theater. Without him I wouldn’t be living in Door County, wouldn’t have so many fine friends, would never even have met my darling wife Jody. I suspect all who knew Dave saw him as larger than life. Physically, he resembled one of those colorful lumberjacks or Great Lakes sailors whose songs he devoted himself to preserving. He smoked constantly, drank hard, laughed often. And every time I visited his UW office bursting with old tomes, he had some fine new idea that sounded like a show you wanted to see. He’d bring obscure folktales to the stage with original book and lyrics. He packaged traditional folksongs into shows that sensitized you to the struggles of our progenitors, and lifted your heart in the telling. Shows about farmers, river pilots, Woody Guthrie, Wisconsin Indians, Carl Sandburg, Kentucky settlers in the Wolf River Valley. Even into his late 70’s he was unbelievably prolific. He wrote a children’s musical featuring 6
Out of the Woods of Broadway, A Christmas Story: The Musical, and The Broadway Songbook of Rock and Roll. This summer he’ll be in The Ordway’s Damn Yankees and Pirates of Penzance. DAN KLARER has been working on his Masters degree in Classical and Contemporary Text at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Their Renaissance project included a residency at Shakespeare’s Globe and a NYC showcase. KATIE DAHL spent most of the winter writing songs for and then recording a new album with DAVE ALLEY and ERIC LEWIS. She also toured Wisconsin and Illinois with CLAUDIA RUSSELL and BRUCE KAPLAN with a special appearance by JIMMY KAPLAN, and joined the Northern Sky board. CHASE STOEGER spent a lot of his winter with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, appearing in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] and Jeeves Takes a Bow. MOLLY RHODE performed, choreographed, and directed for First Stage, but the highlight of Molly’s winter was joining Northern Sky’s year-round staff as Associate Artistic Director. In January and February she facilitated workshops for this summer’s two world premieres and can’t wait to see the shows come to the stage in the park. Both Chase and Molly appeared with Katie Dahl and RICH HIGDON in AFT’s Home for the Holidays. CHAD LUBERGER and his wife Angela welcomed a new daughter to the world. CORRIE BEULAH KOVACS worked on writing a musical about the secession of Winneconne from the USA, performed in a revue called Dream Role: Radioactive, started yoga teacher training, and is offering dance classes in Appleton. BILL THEISEN returned for his second year as Director of Opera at the University of Iowa where he directed The Consul by Gian
Wondering what folks at Northern Sky Theater were doing during the off-season? Here’s some news from those we heard from. PAUL LIBMAN wrote music for a Pentax commercial as well as for this summer’s Northern Sky world premiere No Bones About It. He also created scores for The Good Knight for Actor’s Garden, After They've Gone with Chicago bookwriter and lyricist Lauren Taslitz, and Going Once with New York librettist/lyricist Gary Apple. PAM KRIEGER got a new grandson, Samuel Reuben! She also choreographed The Wizard of Oz for the Skylight, directed Toy Camp for Cardinal Stritch, and directed/ choreographed Legally Blonde, the Musical for UW-Madison. JAMES VALCQ continues as co-Artistic Director of Third Avenue Playhouse (TAP) in Sturgeon Bay, where he directed productions of The Drawer Boy (featuring DOUG MANCHESKI), The Fantasticks and Yuletide Tales. He received a Broadway World nomination for his set design of Talley's Folly and won the ‘Best Musical’ award for Anatole, a collaboration with LEE BECKER. Lee performed in Private Lives at TAP, played the beloved prospector Yukon Cornelius in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical at First Stage in Milwaukee, and completed a second draft of the forthcoming prequel to Belgians in Heaven with DOC HEIDE. Doc continued to befuddle grad students at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in San Francisco, delivered grand rounds at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and wrote up research on how Belgians in Heaven inspires people to be kinder and more tolerant. RANDY SCHMELLING got married. He’s been at The Ordway Center in St. Paul in The Broadway Songbook: The First 100 Years 7
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Out of the Woods, continued
(Children’s Theatre of Madison), and As We Wait, a world premiere show included in the Young Playwrights Festival Showcase at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. TIM MCNURLEN continues to work in the Park Bank in Madison and perform in community theater productions and at senior centers in that area. This June he’ll become a grandpa for the second time. AMY CHAFFEE teaches voice and speech at UCLA, coaching shows like The Odd Couple, Frankenstein and Grimm. She’s neck deep in creating the Dave Peterson Celebration of Life for May 31 in Madison and June 28 in Door County. MARTHA ORTINAU started a new position as Principal Gifts Officer at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL, her high school alma mater. She’ll get married on Halloween this year with a masquerade ball-themed reception. CHRIS IRWIN is living in Los Angeles and flying airplanes. The feature film he produced last summer in Door County, June Falling Down, will be released this year. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a Master of Arts Management degree, DAN GORCHYNSKY became the Director of Brand Strategy and User Experience at Agency 1903 in Pittsburgh. With his Pittsburgh triathlon count up to 4, he’s anxious to get back to take on Door County's one more time. COLIN WELFORD spent the fall in Europe as Music Supervisor for a new production of Billy Elliot in Dutch. More recently he helped cast the summer season of the MUNY in St, Louis, worked on the pre-Broadway tryout of First Wives Club in Chicago, and conducted a new production of Billy Elliot there at the Drury Lane. Finally, GERALD PELRINE will be singing a set of original songs at the Steel Bridge Song Fest, and on his 60th birthday (June 13) will perform his Tale of Stickeen as John Muir at Fountain Lake, Muir’s boyhood home near Portage, WI.
Carlo Menotti and The Rivals by Kirke Mechem. He also returned to Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee as guest director/choreographer for Once On This Island. JON HEGGE appeared in Cyrano at Park Square Theatre in St. Paul. He and darling wife LAURIE FLANIGAN-HEGGE worked together in Garrison Keillor’s first stage play, Radio Man at the History Theatre in St. Paul, where Jon also appeared in Working Boys Band. Laurie is hard at work on Boxcar for Northern Sky Theater and a musical adaptation of Sweet Land. Their circus girl, Celia, is ten years old. PAUL HELM toured Japan for three months with Disney and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, singing the roles of Olaf (Frozen) and Pumbaa (The Lion King). Paul also worked with the Florida Studio Theatre, Marquette University, and First Stage Children’s Theater. This summer, he plays Ernie in Guys on Ice at the Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson. Living in the Windy City, MICHAEL CHRISTMAN is in his second season creating scenery for the NBC-TV show Chicago Fire and is collaborating with Walkabout Theatre Company as a scenic and lighting designer. CRAIG MCLELLAND spent the winter doing ukulele festivals and workshops out west with the Sukey Jump Band as well as teaching another uke class at The Clearing Folk school. HOWARD and PATTY WILLIAMSON’S winter events included the wedding of a St. Louis granddaughter on the beach in Destin, FL, in November and the arrival of Everett Alleyne Artim, their 11th great-grandchild in Ft. Worth in March. The count is now six “great” girls and five “great” boys. EVA NIMMER appeared in several projects in the Milwaukee and Madison areas, including The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (Splinter Group), A Christmas Carol 8
NO BONES ABOUT IT! probably would have added a pound to our body weight for every song that we wrote, but by gosh, it would have been worth it. The nice thing is, barbecue is universal. Chicago and Milwaukee have some great places that specialize in barbecue from different regions. Heck, I have a little place right around the corner from my house in Forest Park, IL that specializes in ribs and smoked sausage. Sadly (or perhaps fortunately from a dietary standpoint), I’ve kept my so-called research in check, but it has been a lot of fun writing this tale of two smokehouses. I’ve learned phrases like ‘low and slow’, and read up on boiling pans, hard wood, natural lump charcoal, and more. I’ve absolutely made the determination that I will never be a ribfest champion, though I would readily volunteer to be a judge. It has also been a lot of fun revisiting Shakespeare. While Strings Attached was slightly related to Comedy of Errors it had a lot more in common with the Roman
Dave Hudson, Playwright
One of the things I love the most about writing a new show is how it allows me to learn something new. With Muskie Love I had to learn about fishing in Northern Wisconsin. With Bing! we paid a visit to the Seaquist family to learn some of the intricacies of taking care of orchards. Each show presents a new opportunity. So, when Paul Libman suggested a Romeo and Juliet inspired musical centered around the world of competitive barbecue, I was both happy for my taste buds and concerned for my waistline when I pondered the kind of ‘research’ we would be doing. Had we been writing for a major Broadway producer, I must confess that I would have tried to work a ‘researching road trip’ into the budget. From Memphis to Kansas City, from the Carolinas to Central Texas, I think Paul and I could have easily spent half a year on the road doing some very serious research. Of course, we
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Set model for No Bones About It by Lisa Schlenker 9
No Bones About It, continued ribs would be a particular favorite at the Henry IV plays, and especially Merry Wives of Windsor. Of all of Shakespeare’s characters, I would wager that Falstaff would be the one who would like barbecue the most. For someone who signed his name many different ways, I would guess Shakespeare would have had a lot of fun with the subject of our play and the many spellings: barbecue, barbeque, bbq, barbq, barbque: I bet old Will would have had a lot of verbal fun with that word. What do you call the alternate waiting line for a pub? The Bar B Queue. Okay, maybe not. Combining Shakespeare, barbecue, and working with my great friend Paul Libman, I have had an incredible amount of fun putting No Bones About It together. I truly hope audiences enjoy our dry-rubbed and saucy adventure, and I can only beg forgiveness if people feel the need to do their own research on this very tasty subject after seeing our show.
playwright, Plautus. This time around, we have really had a lot of fun embracing the source material, and even the language (which you can hear in several lyrics). Of course, we did need to adjust the plot a bit. There’s a reason it is called ‘musical comedy’, so without too much of a spoiler, I will just say that the ending of No Bones About It differs significantly from the original Shakespeare. Speaking of Shakespeare, I find myself wondering how popular barbecue might have been in his day. Not unlike Northern Sky, Shakespeare’s company performed in a big open air theater called The Globe. At The Globe, food was common. There were chestnut sellers and orange girls who circulated among the crowd during the plays, much like the peanut and hot dog sellers at our baseball games. As I envision The Globe, I like to imagine the haze of barbecue smoke wafting over the stage as the King’s Men performed. I’d think that
Creative Kids Day Friday, July 17 9:30-12:00 pm or 1:00 pm-3:30 pm 2015 Creative Kids theater workshop sessions take place on and around the Northern Sky stage in Peninsula State Park and are led by Northern Sky Company Members. For children ages 6-16. Register early! Limited number of children accepted. Fee is $25 per child or a maximum of $60 for 3 siblings or more. 10
Tickets on Sale Now! Tickets for all shows, including our fall season, are on sale now. Reserved seats sell for an additional $7 per seat. And of course, there will always be 350 general admission tickets for sale at the park box office one hour prior to each performance.
How to buy advance tickets: Visit our web site at www.NorthernSkyTheater.com To order Northern Sky tickets on your smartphone or iPad, download our free mobile app today! Search “American Folklore” at Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or scan the QR Code to the left.
Buy tickets at our office in the Green Gables Shops 1.5 miles north of Wilson’s Ice Cream. Office hours are 10am-4pm Monday thru Friday and 10am-3pm Saturday, June thru October. Order via the phone, 920-854-6117: Visa and MasterCard accepted. Gift cards are available for any occasion!
You can also follow us on: Please review us on TripAdvisor.com for those unfamilar with the Northern Sky experience!
Thank You to Our Sponsors! A huge thank you to our sponsors of this year’s shows. Their support helps so much with the costs of putting a show on the stage at Northern Sky while still keeping our ticket prices affordable.
Season Sponor: The Cordon Family Foundation
No Bones About It sponsored by
Coyote Roadhouse, Julie’s Park Café & Motel and Neighbor-to-Neighbor
When Butter Churns to Gold sponsored by
Main Street Market, On Deck Clothing Company and The White Gull Inn
Strings Attached sponsored by
Parkwood Lodge and Wilson’s Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlor
Lumberjacks in Love sponsored by
The Cookery, Dave’s Tree Service and Oneida Nation 11
WHEN BUTTER CHURNS TO GOLD seed of an idea about two years ago when Scott Guy, Executive Director of the Academy for New Musical Theater in Los Angeles, and I were attending Northern Sky’s season of Muskie Love, Loose Lips Sink Ships, and Windjammers, which I also had a hand in developing through this same LA based musical writing workshop. After one of the shows, Scott had a little brain storm based on his knowledge of my previous work at a melodrama theater, and an idea was hatched. Scott pitched the idea to Jeff Herbst and he liked it, he really liked it. So, Scott aligned the LA based team of Ron Barnett as composer and Randi Wolfe as lyricist with me as book writer. Even though none of us had written anything together before we quickly dove in and started working up the first 15 minutes of material to share with Jeff. About a month later, Jeff came out to LA to check out the various show pitches. After our presentation, he gave us a smile and a
Peter Welkin, Playwright
“You must pay the mortgage!” “But, I can’t pay the mortgage!” “You must pay the mortgage!” “But, I can’t pay the mortgage!” Modern mortgage meltdown? No, just one of the most classic plot set-ups from a by-gone era of scheming villains trying to make themselves rich by ruining the innocent. Welcome to Melodrama! The most common definition of a melodrama is a sensational dramatic piece with exaggerated characters and exciting events intended to appeal to the emotions. In the late 1800’s/early 1900’s, melodramas were the TV of the era, serving up everything from frivolous comedies to extremely dark yet socially relevant stories. But, this ain’t your great-great-grandparents’ melodrama. Our musical melodrama, When Butter Churns to Gold, came into being as a mere
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Set model for When Butter Churns to Gold by Lisa Schlenker 12
Butter to Gold, continued big thumbs up. Taking the Herbst-meister’s cue we pushed ahead to the next stage of defining the show’s story line and characters. Now we had to deliver on the promise with our opening number. In order for Melodrama to work, you must have a heroine whose life is put into peril by the onerous villain. And, of course, there must be a hero to save the heroine and overcome the dreadful villain. Add in some melodramatic music to build the tension and underscore the plot and we’re off and running. My favorite parodies of classic melodramatic stories have always been the Dudley Do-Right cartoons that were part of the Rocky and Bullwinkle show. The tongue-in-cheek humor always cracked me up, as well as the self-aware sensibility of the characters. I wanted to bring that playful self-referential “with a wink and a nod” kind of fun to the story. And, I wanted it to be rooted in at least some of the realities of living in this region just before Wisconsin became a state. Having been born and raised in Wisconsin, I grew up doing chores on our neighbor’s farm, going snowmobiling, hunting, and yes, making homemade butter. (I also had a pet raccoon named Bandit. Seriously!) One of my first paying acting jobs took me to the West Coast at the Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville Theater in Oceano, CA. I performed in classic and notso-classic melodramas there for nearly five years. It opened my eyes to how passionate an audience can get when they get involved in a good story. Just beware the shows when the Hells Angels would stop in to boo or hiss. Talk about passionate! Good thing we had bouncers handy! I shared as much of my experience as I could there with Ron and Randi. We met on
an almost weekly basis as we worked our way through numerous drafts of the show conferring with Jeff and Molly along the way. Northern Sky Theater invited us to do a table read of the show in July of 2014, which taught us a huge amount about the need to musicalize more of the script. It also made us aware of some of the technical limitations (no control over lighting in the early evening) and the lack of toilet facilities requiring that there be no intermission. Keep editing! We got word in October that we had been selected for production for summer 2015! Like…wow! So, we geared up to come to Milwaukee in January to meet the designers and workshop the show with the talented Northern Sky actors over the course of a sub-zero week. These Angelenos came prepared with thermals galore, but it was still awfully cold for our tastes. (Don’t hate us for being a little weather spoiled.) But, it was incredibly helpful to see the shape of the show that was starting to come together and what parts still needed some attention. But now, we couldn’t be more excited to see how the Northern Sky Theater audience responds to our orphaned Wisconsin farm girl trying to save the family farm from the treacherous villain, while our strapping hero tries to save her from ruin. We hope you have a blast booing and hissing, and cheering the hero! Thank you, Northern Sky, for this awesome opportunity! 13
2015 Summer Schedule
11 BTG - 8:00
14 NO SHOW
Where there’s smoke, there’s laughter Begins Monday, June 15 at 8:00 pm Mondays at 8 pm; Wednesdays at 8:30 pm Fridays at 8 pm
21 NO SHOW
28 NO SHOW
NB - 8:00
SA - 8:00
NB - 8:00
29 NB - 8:00
SA - 8:00
Begins Thursday, June 11 at 8 pm Wednesdays at 6 pm; Thursdays at 8 pm; Saturdays at 6 pm
12 NO SHOW
19 NO SHOW
26 NO SHOW
BTG - 6:00 NB - 8:30
NB - 8:00
13 NB - 8:00
20 NB - 8:00
27 NB - 8:00
18 BTG - 8:00
25 BTG - 8:00
BTG - 8:00
19 NB - 8:00
26 NB - 8:00
20 BTG - 6:00 SA - 8:30
27 BTG - 6:00 SA - 8:30
SA - 8:00
BTG - 6:00 NB - 8:30
A dash of dastardly deeds and dairy delights!
BTG - 6:00 NB - 8:30
8 SA - 8:00
14 SA - 8:00
21 SA - 8:00
28 SA - 8:000
BTG - 6:00 NB - 8:30
15 BTG - 6:00 NB - 8:30
22 BTG - 6:00 NB - 8:30
29 BTG - 6:00 NB - 8:30
BTG - 8:00
NB - 8:00
BTG - 8:00
NB - 8:00
17 NB - 8:00
BTG - 8:00
24 NB - 8:00
BTG - 8:00
4 BTG - 6:00 SA - 8:30
11 BTG - 6:00 SA - 8:30
18 BTG - 6:00 SA - 8:30
25 BTG - 6:00 SA - 8:30
BTG - 8:00
NB - 8:00
BTG - 6:00 SA - 8:30
3 NO SHOW
A tuneful tale of tangled twins Begins Tuesday, June 16 at 8 pm Tuesdays at 8 pm; Saturdays at 8:30 pm
16 Adult - $20 Teen - $10 Child - $6 Reserved Seating Available - $7 additional
23 NO SHOW
NB - 8:000
10 NB - 8:00
17 NB - 8:00
24 NB - 8:00
SA - 8:00
11 SA - 8:00
18 SA - 8:00
25 SA - 8:00
5 BTG - 6:00 NB - 8:30
12 BTG - 6:00 NB - 8:30
19 BTG - 6:00 NB - 8:30
26 BTG - 6:00 NB - 8:30
6 BTG - 8:00
13 BTG - 8:00
20 BTG - 8:00
27 BTG - 8:00
7 NB - 8:00
14 NB - 8:00
21 NB - 8:00
28 NB - 8:00
BTG - 6:00 SA - 8:30
15 BTG - 6:00 SA - 8:30
22 BTG - 6:00 SA - 8:30
29 BTG - 6:00 SA - 8:30
• Advanced tickets for both summer & fall seasons may be purchased • Rain policy – Northern Sky never cancels a show until show online, over the phone, at our office, or by free phone app. time. If the show is less than half over when interrupted due • Box office opens at summer and fall venues 1 hour prior to bad weather, we give out refund applications or rain to each performance. checks. If the show is more than half over, we issue rain • Will Call tickets can be picked up at Merchandise Stand one checks, good for any future summer show without expiration. hour before the show. For additional info: 920.854.6117 • Limited handicapped parking is available backstage – Please www.NorthernSkyTheater.com reserve in advance. 14
2015 FALL SHOW SCHEDULE September 4 - October 17 Tuesday – Friday 7:30PM Saturday 4:00PM & 8:00PM
at Door Community Auditorium Adult: $28 Teens (13 - 19): $18 Children (12 & under): $14
ALL SEATS RESERVED
Four burly lumberjacks live in a state of manly bliss – until an encounter with a plucky mail order bride interrupts life as they know it.
With your help… We make amazing things happen! Name ________________________________________________________________________________________ Address ______________________________________________________________________________________ City ____________________________________________________ St ________ Zip ________________________ Phone _______________________________________ E-Mail __________________________________________
The Fred Alley New Musical Fund is the creative engine behind all of Northern Sky’s new play development.
(For General Operating):
❑ $10,000 & up - Visionary ❑ $5,000 to $9,999 - Benefactor ❑ $2,500 to $4,999 - Producer ❑ $1,000 to $2,499 - Director ❑ $500 to $999 - Actor ❑ $250 to $499 - Designer ❑ $100 to $249 - Stage Manager ❑ $50 to $99 - Donor ❑ $1 to $49 - Friend
❑ Please accept my gift of $ ________________ for the Fred Alley New Musical Fund.
The Northern Sky Endowment Fund, managed by the Door County Community Fund, helps to ensure Northern Sky’s long-term financial health and stability.
❑ Please accept my gift of
$ ________________ for the Endowment Fund.
❑ My employer will match my gift Paperwork: ❑ is enclosed
Employer Name: _______________________________________
❑ will be sent
❑ My check for $ _______________________ payable to Northern Sky Theater is enclosed. ❑ Please charge $ _______________________ to my ❑ MasterCard ❑ Visa (Please provide info below) ____________________________________________ ____________ _________________________________ ACCOUNT NUMBER
Please clip & mail to: Northern Sky Theater - PO Box 273, Fish Creek,WI 54212
Your donation from May 1, 2015, through April 30, 2016, will be recognized in our 2016 playbill.
Frederick J. Heide Michael J. McCoy Carla Peterson Paula Wright-Keller
The Theater is dedicated to maintaining standards of artistic excellence; celebrating and illuminating the human condition; reaching a large audience of all ages, including families; and fostering a humanistic work environment with adequate and appropriate emotional, financial and creative support for all those associated with us.
The mission of Northern Sky Theater is to create, develop, and present professional musical and dramatic productions which will further the knowledge and appreciation of the culture and heritage of the United States.
Kenneth C. Boyd Mark Breseman Katie Dahl George Gorchynsky
Thomas A. Moore Treasurer
Cynthia Stiehl Vice-Chairperson
Mary Seeberg Chairperson
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Northern Sky Theater, Inc. PO Box 273 Fish Creek, WI 54212-0273
The newsletter of Northern Sky Theater (the new name of American Folklore Theatre)