If you enjoy Northern Sky Theater you might want to think about what they have to offer in 2020 before it’s too late. If you have never experienced the Northern Sky Theater it is truly a wonderful time either at their Peninsula State Park Amphitheater or in their new indoor Gould Theater (9058 county Rd. A, Fish Creek, WI).
The story of Northern Sky Theater (Northern Sky) begins with Dave Peterson, a Madison, Wis., professor who taught a one-month course about the folklore of the Great Lakes at the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay in January 1970. He and his students wrote Song of the Inland Seas, an epic to celebrate the American heroes of the Upper Midwest.
Soon after, while camping at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Peterson came across a pine-rimmed theater with a tree vaulting through a corner of its stage. The theater was used for occasional slide shows or naturalist programs. Feeling the magic in this beautiful wooded setting, he put together a cast of 18 singers and instrumentalists and performed Song of the Inland Seas on the Peninsula Park stage for two weeks in the summer of 1970. It was described as, “One part Peter, Paul and Mary; one part Broadway show tune; one part folksy Wisconsiana; and the rest pure cornball spunkiness.” The show was a hit and was presented on the Peninsula stage for the next two years by the newly formed company known as “The Heritage Ensemble.” The Heritage Ensemble performed on the stage in Peninsula State Park for the next 20 years.
During those 20 years, The Ensemble produced and performed original shows covering many aspects of Midwestern lore, such as the history of Milwaukee, the settlement of the Fox River Valley, Carl Sandburg, Mark Twain, railroad workers and miners. Each show became deeper and more complex as the troupe evolved toward a higher standard of quality. “The main thing was the material. The songs and stories seemed to grow from the very soil of the Wisconsin woodlands,” said Fred “Doc” Heide, who joined the Ensemble in 1972 and now serves as Northern Sky’s artistic advisor. Heide, a student of history and a psychology professor, wrote his first Ensemble show, The People’s Song to Sing, in 1975, when he was a senior at UWGB.
Each year over 35,000 devoted patrons enjoy a cozy night of comedy and musical theater under the stars at the Northern Sky Amphitheater in glorious Peninsula State Park (10169 Shore Rd, Fish Creek, WI ).
Summer Outdoor: June 10 – August 29, 2020
Summer Indoor: June 16 – September 5, 2020
Courtesy: Northern Sky Theater
BOOK & LYRICS BY RICHARD CASTLE
MUSIC BY MATTHEW LEVINE
Summer 2020 World Premiere
A new musical comedy from the writers of Oklahoma in Wisconsin. The plot is adapted from a P. G. Wodehouse story revolving around idealistic Bill Zapper. While planning a lavish wedding on a 1960s Door County bee farm, Bill begins to wonder if he and his reluctant fiancée are truly right for each other. Will the outrageous wedding go off without a hitch? Or is this the calm before the swarm? This honey of a show is sure to be all the buzz.
Showing June 10 – August 29, 2020
ASSEMBLED BY RAY JIVOFF
MUSIC BY BRETT RYBACK
A new collaboration between Northern Sky and Write On Door County. The show will feature the writing of local students, presented by professional actors. The writing will center on nature and conservation, making it a perfect companion piece to The Mountains Call My Name.
Ray Jivoff has worked with students for years, unlocking their creative writing potential and weaving the results into a collection of stories, poems, songs, and vignettes. “We thought hearing one of the earliest voices on the subject of conservation along with the voices of our young people would be a wonderful synthesis on a very relevant topic,” explained Associate Artistic Director Molly Rhode.
Showing Thursdays July 2 – August 27, 2020
Dad’s Season Tickets
BOOK, MUSIC & LYRICS BY
Fall 2019 World Premiere
A musical comedy celebrating family, folly and football.
Which of Frank’s three daughters will inherit his treasured season tickets? The Kosinski sisters employ every trick in the playbook. From kick off to the final Hail Mary, it’s anyone’s game. To reach the end zone, our home team must first relearn that family isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.
Show Length = 2 hours, 10 minutes plus one 15 minute intermission
Showing June 23 – September 5, 2020
Belgians In Heaven
BOOK AND LYRICS BY
FREDERICK HEIDE & LEE BECKER
STORY BY FREDERICK HEIDE
MUSIC BY FREDERICK HEIDE & JAMES KAPLAN
The world’s only metaphysical cheese curd musical returns for its 10th season — one of Northern Sky’s longest-running musical comedies! Belgians follows the antics of bachelor farmers and brothers, Roger and Leo Dewarzeger. Angelique, a clumsy guardian angel, and Mildred, the invisible chicken, help Roger and Leo discover the meaning of life and save the universe. An audience favorite!
Showing June 11 – August 27, 2020
Fishing for the Moon
BOOK AND LYRICS BY FRED ALLEY
MUSIC BY JAMES KAPLAN
Will confusing calamities ensue when a Southern gentleman rides north, seeking a crazy Union officer who thinks his cows are soldiers? You betcha! Set in rural Wisconsin after the Civil War, this lighthearted romantic comedy features a harebrained cast of characters. Shirlene, the officer’s weary wife, has made his life forever miserable by selling his prize bull while he was off at war. Meanwhile, the local school teacher rebuffs the smooth talk of a persistent raconteur while an earnest young woman tries to awaken her true love from amnesia with the smell of Parisian soap. Fishing for the Moon was produced at AFT in 2008, 1999 & 1992, and was the first collaboration between Fred Alley and James Kaplan, the team that created AFT hits Lumberjacks in Love and Guys on Ice.
Showing June 16 – August 28, 2020
Song of the Island Seas
CREATED BY DAVID PETERSON
The inaugural show of the Heritage Ensemble in 1970, Song of the Inland Seas is a musical revue of the nineteenth century on the Great Lakes. Weaving jokes, journal entries, and narration together with authentic folksongs, three different companies of performers over the years have given their voices to this music. All told, close to twenty songs combine in this production to evoke the powerful, dashing world of Great Lakes sailors. Produced in 1990 & 2001.
Six Performance Special for 50th Anniversary
Showing June 16 – 27, 2020
The Mountains Call My Name
CREATED BY FREDERICK HEIDE
A one-man show depicting the life of John Muir, founder of the national park system and the Sierra Club. The towering pines around the amphitheater in Peninsula State Park prove an ideal setting for the stories of Muir, a Wisconsin native. Written by AFT/Northern Sky co-founder Doc Heide, the show contains both original and traditional music and has been aired on PBS. Produced in 1990.
Showing July 8 – August 15, 2020
For tickets, please contact Northern Sky Theater at 920-854-6117 (Winter hours: 10-4 pm, Monday-Friday) or go online to northernskytheater.com.
If you are looking for a wonderful place to stay, consider the Egg Harbor Lodge and we still have rooms available providing you with one of the best bay views in Door County!