By Nicole S. Colson
Live from New York, it’s opera at Peterborough Players!
The theater’s Arts on Screen series is back for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
In addition to the summer season from June through September, the Players has offered opera and theater on screen including The Met: Live in HD series (for the past 13 years) and plays from London’s National Theatre (for the past 12).
Between the two series (The Met: Live in HD and National Theatre), screenings are once or twice a month from October through the start of the following summer season in June.
The Met: Live in HD series, which continues this Saturday, Nov. 5, with Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata,” consists of 10 high definition simulcast performances from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. The cinematography allows the audience to see every detail of each performance, and the sound is custom designed for the theater. All of The Met: Live in HD series and National Theatre productions include exclusive interviews with singers, actors, directors, and designers.
The Met: Live in HD series includes several classic operas, including Verdi’s “Falstaff” and two operas by Mozart (“Don Giovanni” and “Die Zauberflote”); with a modern title in the list: “Champion” by Terence Blanchard (libretto by Michael Cristofer), based on the life of African-American welterweight boxer Emile Griffith. Blanchard is also the composer of “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” which premiered last year at the Met, the first opera by a black composer performed there.
“I’m very interested in seeing that one,” said Tom Frey, the Players’ artistic director of “Champion.”
“There are people who are really devoted to (Arts on Screen),” he added. “A lot of that is the Met, which is coming back to doing live theater (after COVID-19) like everyone else in the industry.”
Arts on Screen will also include three screenings from London’s National Theatre, beginning Saturday, Nov. 19, with a production of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” the playwright’s most iconic comedy that explores themes of love, marriage, deception and revenge.
The cast includes television actress Katherine Parkinson (“The IT Crowd”) and acclaimed stage actor John Heffernan. It’s directed by Simon Godwin, whose previous National Theatre credits include “Romeo & Juliet,” “Twelfth Night” and “Antony and Cleopatra.”
While The Met: Live in HD series is a package, Frey was able to choose from a larger list of National Theatre productions for Arts on Screen.
He’s excited to see a new production presented by National Theatre, Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull” starring Amelia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”) on Feb. 4.
The 21st-century retelling of the playwright’s tale of love and loneliness, the cast also features Indira Varma and Sophie Wu; and it’s directed by Jamie Lloyd, director of the National Theatre production “Cyrano de Bergerac” with James McAvoy in 2019.
“It’s a groundbreaking production,” said Frey. “People think of Chekhov as tragic; he thought of it as comedy.”
Closing the National Theatre series is “Straight Line Crazy,” a new play by David Hare, showing Feb. 18.
Ralph Fiennes stars as Robert Moses, one of the most influential figures of urban planning and city architecture. The story follows the effects his policies had on the population of New York City, which were very divisive.
Arts on Screen continues this month and runs through June 3. Tickets to The Met: Live in HD series are $25 each; and $20 for National Theatre screenings. The Peterborough Players will have COVID protocols in place for these performances. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.peterboroughplayers.org/arts-on-screen.html
“Opera Bites” meals are available at each of the Met: Live in HD screenings (but not at National Theatre screenings, when the concession stand is open). They come from Sunflowers Catering, and the menu changes a little for each opera. To pre-order, email Carolyn Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org; and there are additional menu items for those who do not pre-order.
Source: The Keene Sentinel - https://www.sentinelsource.com/elf/spotlight/peterborough-players-arts-on-screen-series/article_f2f57a9c-5aed-11ed-b1fb-bb568d904082.html
Peterborough, NH – The countdown to the Players exciting 2022 Summer Season is on, and excitement is in the air! A lineup of attention, transformation, beauty, and joy, the season of shows sizzles with newness, as well as the long-awaited return of Players’ favorite creatives and traditions. As of May 25th, single tickets are on sale, joining popular Players’ Season Subscriptions and Barn Door Flex Passes.
The season begins with the classic and bold Kander and Ebb musical, Cabaret. Running from June 23rd – July 3rd, this provocative and daring musical sees Artistic Director Tom Frey at the helm, joined by choreographer Ilyse Robbins (Beehive: The 60’s Musical at the Players, Elliot Norton Award winner for Swan Lake in Blue at Greater Boston Stage Co.). In addition, the Players welcomes music director Jenny Kim-Godfrey (award-winning opera singer and Resident Music Director for Norwegian Cruise Lines). The cast features Players’ newcomers Matthew McGloin (2 Pianos 4 Hands, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park) in the role of the Emcee, made famous by Joel Grey and Alan Cumming; Broadway actor Joy Hermalyn (Caroline, or Change, Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway) as Fraulein Schneider; and Brandon Grimes (National Tours of Jekyll and Hyde and All is Calm) as writer Cliff Bradshaw. Players’ favorites Kraig Swartz (Fully Committed at the Players, The Legend of Georgia McBride at Florida Studio Theatre) and Bridget Beirne (The Drowsy Chaperone at the Players, Mack and Mabel at Stages Repertory Theatre) as Herr Schultz and Fraulein Kost, respectively.
Humorous and touching, Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker runs from July 7th – 17th. Directed by Frey, fabulous Players’ company members Douglas Rees (Arsenic and Old Lace at the Players, Our Town at Alabama Shakespeare Festival), Kate Kenney (Our Town at the Players, National Tour of A Christmas Carol), Philip Kershaw (Our Town at the Players, Apollo 8 at A.D. Players), and Katie Shults (Beehive: The 60’s Musical at the Players, Pride and Prejudice at Lost Nation Theatre) return for the production, joined by new company member Marina Re (award-winner for Master Class at Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre) for this recent, popular piece.
The U.S Premiere of Marcia Johnson’s Serving Elizabeth is up next, running from July 21st– 31st. The Players welcomes Cezar Williams (Artistic Director of the Obie Award-winning Fire This Time Festival) as the director for this monumental production. Popular company members Tracey Conyer Lee (Our Town at the Players, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill around the country) and Andrea Fleming (Beehive: The 60’s Musical at the Players, The Color Purple at The Phoenix Theatre Company) portray mother / daughter duo Mercy and Faith, among others, with Kate Kenney portraying then Princess Elizbeth and more.
The ever-popular 2 Pianos 4 Hands by Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt makes its return to the Players with a new team of actors portraying a dazzling array of characters in this virtuoso performance. Frey directs the previously mentioned McGloin and Jefferson McDonald (2 Pianos 4 Hands at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Jefferson McDonald’s Great Balls of Fire) for this constant crowd-pleaser.
The final Mainstage production of the season, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill by Lanie Robertson stunningly rounds out the summer season. Featuring a tour-de-force performance by Tracey Conyer Lee as Billie Holiday, the Players also welcomes Kevin R. Free (Artistic Director of Mile Square Theatre) as the director of this not-to-be missed production. New company member Jo’Siah Shan makes their Players’ debut as Jimmy.
On dates throughout the summer, the Players welcomes the return of theatre for the young (and the young-at-heart!) with the Second Company show The Emperor’s New Clothes. Directed and choreographed by Ilyse Robbins, this fun-for-all ages show features a score by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and will be performed outdoors on the new and much-loved Elsewhere Stage. Members of the 2022 Second Company hail from around the country, and represent schools like Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, Dillard, Hofstra, and Morgan State Universities, among others. Visit the Players website for performance dates.
Look out for post-show Talkback Nights (the first Sunday of every Mainstage run) as well as an upcoming announcement of pre-show Food Truck Nights! Single tickets are $47, and on sale as of May 25th. Season Subscriptions ($188) available for purchase through July 3rd. Barn Door Flex Passes available throughout the Summer Season. Tickets for Second Company shows are $10 for children, $15 for adults.
Peterborough, NH – Peterborough Players is ready to party, celebrate the return of live theatre indoors, and support the amazing Second Company with a Live Gala and Auction (in person!) on May 14th at 5:30 pm. There will be a select number of big-ticket items for bid, a lineup of exciting performers to entertain, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres to enjoy, and more.
The Players looks forward to this opportunity to joyfully kickoff the season with fun and flare. At 5:30pm, the evening will begin with cocktails, passed hors d'oeuvres, and revelry in the Players’ newly renovated, and not often open to the public, Rehearsal Hall. Guests will be able to mingle in the Rehearsal Hall, as well as under a tent on our new outdoor Elsewhere Stage.
Then at 7:00pm, guests will be welcomed back into the beloved barn for entertainment, merriment, and bidding in the theatre, while they relax in their favorite theatre seats as the fun unfolds. Afterwards, coffee, dessert, and farewells will happen in the lobby, as we bid our guests adieu until opening night of the Summer Season!
Items for bid include a Celebrity Chef dinner featuring the talent behind Luca’s Mediterranean Café, and President/CEO of the Greater Keene and Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Luca Paris and Players’ Artistic Director Tom Frey; a week-long stay in beautiful Hern Cottage on Vinalhaven Island in Penobscot Bay, Maine; an extraordinary 4-course culinary experience for 8 by chef Carolyn Hough of Cranberry Meadow Farm Inn, and more fabulous items.
The evening’s entertainment will feature popular new company member Tracey Conyer Lee (Mrs. Webb in last summer's Our Town) giving a sneak peek at Billie Holliday - who she'll be portraying this summer in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill; exciting new company member Matthew McGloin, who'll be featured this summer as both the Emcee in Cabaret and as Richard in 2 Pianos 4 Hands;
fabulous director and choreographer of Beehive: The 60's Musical Ilyse Robbins, who will be the choreographer of Cabaret and the director / choreographer of our Second Company show, The Emperor's New Clothes; longtime company member Bridget Beirne; and the Players’ new Artistic Director Tom Frey.
Two very special Players Family members will be appearing as the evening’s auctioneers - conversation architect (and magician!) David Baum will be joining the festivities, along with longtime supporter of the Players, Phil Runyon of the very generous Runyon Law Office, PLLC. The Players are thrilled to have these two gentlemen encouraging the bidding!
Tickets for the Live Gala and Auction are $125 per person. A limited number of premium tables for 10 during cocktail time are available for $1500. To purchase tickets, visit the Players website OR call the box office at (603) 924-7585.
Peterborough, NH – The Peterborough Players will round out its three-show Grand Restart with the U.S. Premiere of Where You Are, a new play written by Canadian playwright Kristen Da Silva. Directed by Tom Frey and performed on the new outdoor Elsewhere Stage at the Players, the “dramedy” will run from September 1-12 at 4:30pm.
“The first time I read Where You Are, I laughed a lot,” says Frey. “The second time, I was deeply touched. The third time I was proud of these four people for making some really good choices, especially in the light of all they’d been through.”
Sisters Glenda and Suzanne live a peaceful retirement selling homemade jam on Manitoulin Island. This summer, their usual concerns – trying to orchestrate sightings of their handsome veterinarian neighbor and preparing for the visit of Suzanne’s grown daughter, Beth, are complicated by a secret the sisters can no longer contain. When Beth arrives with secrets of her own, the three women have to face things that will change their lives and relationships forever. Where You Are makes you think and laugh about families, forgiveness, and falling in love. The Players is thrilled to give audiences the opportunity to see this fabulous play for the first time in the United States.
The cast is made up of Players’ favorites, led by Lisa Bostnar (A Doll’s House, Part 2 at the Players, Mr. Pim Passes By at the Mint Theatre) and Kathy Manfre (Morning’s at Seven at the Players, Trick or Treat at 59E59) as Glenda and Suzanne. They are joined by Manfre’s real-life daughter, Katelyn Manfre, (Steel Magnolias at the Players, founding member of Pipeline Theatre Company) as daughter Beth, and Pedro Ka‘awaloa (Our Town at the Players, National Tour of The King and I) as their neighbor, Patrick.
Playwright Kristen Da Silva is also an actor, and lives near Toronto, Ontario. Her writing credits include Book Club,Gibson & Sons, Five Alarm, and Sugar Road. Among other accolades, she is the playwright-in-residence at Theatre Orangeville in Ontario. The play comes to the Players through a close relationship with Marquis Entertainment in Toronto, the organization behind the hit play, 2 Pianos 4 Hands.
As with all productions in the Players Grand Restart, 20 Pay-What-You-Can tickets will be available to every performance through Players Gives. Players Gives aims to lower the barriers to access for shows at the Players. The Players gratefully invites anyone who feels they need assistance in accessing shows to partake of Pay-What-You-Can tickets. They must be reserved ahead of time by calling our box office at 603-924-7585.
Tickets for Where You Are are available online at www.peterboroughplayers.org or by calling the box office at (603) 924-7585. Tickets are $47. Shows run Wednesday – Sunday at 4:30pm.
Peterborough, NH – The sounds, sights, and moves of the powerhouse female vocalists of the 1960’s will bring the Players’ new outdoor Elsewhere Stage roaring to life in Beehive: The 60’s Musical!
Beehive: The 60's Musical is a journey of humor and heart that celebrates the female voices of the 1960s, from Shirley Ellis (“The Name Game”) through Janis Joplin (“Me and Bobby McGee”) with many, many hits in between. Told from the perspective of six young women who come of age in the 60's, the show is underpinned by the social upheaval and radical change of that decade. Six amazing female performers sing and dance their way through a playlist of some of the best music of the 60's, backed by a rocking band.
The show features hits from the likes of The Shirelles, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, Lesley Gore, Dusty Springfield, The Supremes, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin and many, many more. While this is the party people need right now, Beehive is also more relevant than ever as the women find their way and find themselves.
The Players introduces audiences to a new director and choreographer for Beehive, Ilyse Robbins. Ilyse is an award-winning director and choreographer who is also the Associate Artistic Director of Greater Boston Stage Company. She is the first woman to ever direct the hit show Million Dollar Quartet; her work has been seen at New Rep Theatre, SpeakEasy Stage Company, Lyric Stage of Boston and many others.
She is joined by a stellar cast of actors, with Players’ favorites Claire D. Kolheim (Little Shop of Horrors at the Players, The Color Purple at Playhouse on the Square) singing Aretha Franklin, Katie Shults (A Doll’s House, Part 2 at the Players, Wicked City Blues at the Actors’ Temple Off-Broadway) singing Lulu, and Bridget Beirne (Always…Patsy Cline at the Players, Beehive: The 60’s Musical at the Cape Playhouse and Maltz Jupiter Theatre) as Janis Joplin and others. They are joined by new company members Sarah Julia Ambrose (Legally Blonde with Arizona Broadway Theatre) singing Lesley Gore, Hallie D. Chapman (Beehive: The 60’s Musical at Broadway Palm) singing Tina Turner, and Andrea Fleming (Motown Tribute Shadows of the 60s) singing Diana Ross. All of the women sing hits from multiple different famous artists.
“Players Gives” Pay-What-You-Can Tickets
In 2019, the Players began “Players Gives” outreach programs which aim to lower barriers to opportunity and access to the arts, show gratitude, and give back to this wonderful community through Pay-What-You-Can tickets and the Community Partners program. This year, the Players is thrilled to announce the expansion of Pay-What-You-Can, offering 20 Pay-What-You-Can Tickets to every performance of each show in the Summer 2021 Grand Restart Lineup, including Beehive: The 60’s Musical. The Players invites anyone who needs assistance accessing tickets to attend, with a guest, for whatever they feel they can pay. Tickets must be reserved ahead of time through the box office by calling (603) 924-7585.
Beehive: The 60’s Musical will be performed outdoors on the new Elsewhere Stage on the grounds of the Players. Performances are Wednesday-Sunday, August 18th-29th. Curtain time for all performances is 4:30pm.
Tickets for Beehive: The 60’s Musical and Where You Are are on sale now and can be purchased by calling our box office at (603) 924-7585 or by visiting our website, www.peterboroughplayers.org. All tickets are $47.
Peterborough, NH – “We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings.” Peterborough Players returns to the stage with these words from the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Our Town, by Thornton Wilder.
In a first for the 88-year-old professional theatre, this production will be performed onsite, outdoors in downtown Peterborough. “Our Town, downtown, in our town. We’re the only professional theatre in the world that can do this play, in this way, in this place. It’s exciting,” says Director Tom Frey, who also serves as Associate Artistic Director of the Players. Our Town will run from August 4th – 15th.
An exploration of the profound experience of everyday life, Our Town looks through the eyes of the citizens of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, in their growing up, loving, living, and dying. Two families, Gibbs and Webb, journey through their lives as told by a character known only as the Stage Manager. Considered by some to be the greatest American play ever written, the play asks its audience to examine the bigger questions and unexpected graces of daily living. Frey notes that the Players “…knew we needed to not only honor what we’ve been through but find a way to celebrate the joy of coming together again.”
The ownership of this Pulitzer Prize-winning American play is strongly felt by the residents of Peterborough, NH (long rumored to be the inspiration for Grover’s Corners, whether confirmed or not…). In addition, the Players has a long and intimate connection to Our Town: since their first production in 1940, on which Thornton Wilder himself consulted, it has become the Players’ most produced play to date.
The production boasts a cast of notable actors, both new additions to the Players’ acting company and longtime company members. Emmy-winner (NYPD Blue) and Players' favorite Gordon Clapp appears as the Stage Manager. Tony nominated for Glengarry Glen Ross, Mr. Clapp’s distinguished career most recently saw him in HBO’s Mare of Easttown. Players’ audiences will remember him for his turn as Robert Frost in Robert Frost: This Verse Business, and others. He will be joined by Carbonell Award winner Tracey Conyer Lee (Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill at Portland Stage Company) as Mrs. Webb; Aliah Whitmore (Artistic Director of Whitmore Eclectic, Mahida’s Extra Key to Heaven at the Players) as Mrs. Gibbs; Erick Pinnick (The Tin Pan Alley Rag at Roundabout Theatre Company) as Dr. Gibbs; Steven Michael Walters (Friday Night Lights, Born Yesterday at the Players) as Mr. Webb; K.P. Powell (creator of Quips and Wit for American Shakespeare Center) as George Gibbs; and Kate Kenney (Romeo and Juliet with Shakespeare and Company) as Emily Webb. Players’ favorites Kraig Swartz (Fully Committed and many more at the Players) and Bridget Beirne (Outside Mullingar and others at the Players) appear as Simon Stimson and Mrs. Soames, respectively.
“Players Gives” Pay-What-You-Can Tickets
In 2019, the Players began “Players Gives” outreach programs which aim to lower barriers to opportunity and access to the arts, show gratitude, and give back to this wonderful community through Pay-What-You-Can tickets and the Community Partners program. This year, the Players is thrilled to announce the expansion of Pay-What-You-Can, offering 20 Pay-What-You-Can Tickets to every performance of each show in the Summer 2021 Grand Restart Lineup, including Our Town. The Players invites anyone who needs assistance accessing tickets to attend, with a guest, for whatever they feel they can pay. Tickets must be reserved ahead of time through the box office by calling (603) 924-7585.
Our Town will be performed outdoors in downtown Peterborough. The entrance to the space is off Phoenix Mill Lane in Peterborough, NH. For those familiar with Peterborough, the show will be on what’s known as R.J. Finlay Green (70 Main Street Green), behind the Monadnock Center for History & Culture and the Town House. Performances are Wednesday-Sunday, August 4th-15th. Curtain time for all performances is 5:30pm.
Single tickets for all shows in the Peterborough Players Summer 2021 Grand Restart Lineup will go on sale July 16th. At that time, tickets can be purchased by calling our box office at (603) 924-7585, or by visiting our website, www.peterboroughplayers.org. All tickets are $47.
Peterborough, NH – In a long-anticipated announcement, the Peterborough Players is thrilled to share the lineup for their Summer 2021 Grand Restart. Three fabulous shows presented in bold, fresh, and safe ways: a perennial classic with an intimate connection to the Players, a high-energy musical with heart and relevance, and a U.S. Premiere play.
“After a year spent asking big questions of ourselves and confronting a global pandemic with lasting impact on the performing arts, we knew we had to come back in a meaningful way,” says Associate Artistic Director Tom Frey, “We knew we needed to not only honor what we’ve been through but find a way to celebrate the joy of coming together again.”
The lineup will begin with a play of great importance to the Players: Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. “There was only one play the Peterborough Players could return with, after all the world has been through,” says Frey. An exploration of the profound experience of everyday life, Our Town looks through the eyes of the citizens of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, in their growing up, loving, living, and dying. The ownership of this Pulitzer Prize-winning American play is strongly felt by the residents of Peterborough, NH (long rumored to be the inspiration for Grover’s Corners, whether confirmed or not…). In addition, the Players has a long and intimate connection to Our Town: since their first production in 1940, on which Thornton Wilder himself consulted, it has become the Players’ most produced play to date.
In a Players’ first, this production will be performed onsite, outdoors in downtown Peterborough. “Our Town, downtown, in our town. We’re the only professional theatre in the world that could do this play, in this way, in this place. It’s exciting,” says Frey. Our Town will run from August 4th – 15th.
The Players will return to the grounds of Stearns Farm for Beehive: The 60s Musical, running from August 18th-29th, and performed open-air on the new, outdoor Elsewhere Stage at the Players. According to Frey, “An incredibly generous donor has made it possible for us to not only build an outdoor stage, but also renovate our rehearsal hall, to which the stage will be connected. I’ve had the pleasure of working on Beehive twice in the past. It will be great to christen the Elsewhere Stage with this production.”
Beehive: The 60s Musical is a journey of humor and heart that celebrates the female voices of the 1960s, from Shirley Ellis (“The Name Game”) through Janis Joplin (“Me and Bobby McGee”) with many, many hits in between. Told from the perspective of six young women who come of age in the 60s, the show is underpinned by the social upheaval and radical change of that decade. Six powerhouse performers sing and dance their way through a playlist of some of the best music of the 60s, backed by a rocking band. Featuring hits from the likes of The Shirelles, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, Lesley Gore, Dusty Springfield, The Supremes, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin and more. While this is the party everyone needs right now, Beehive is also more relevant than ever.
The Grand Restart will conclude with the U.S. Premiere of a new Canadian play, Where You Are, by Kristen Da Silva, also performed on the Elsewhere Stage from September 1st-12th. Where You Are follows sisters Glenda and Suzanne as they live a peaceful retirement, selling homemade jam on Manitoulin Island. This summer, their usual concerns – trying to orchestrate sightings of their handsome veterinarian neighbor and preparing for the visit of Suzanne’s grown daughter, Beth, are complicated by a secret the sisters can no longer contain. When Beth arrives with secrets of her own, the three women have to face things that will change their lives and relationships forever. “Kristen’s lovely play is an opportunity for us to reflect on how our most important choices affect those closest to us, as well as to laugh about our families and the divine goofiness of falling in love. We’re thrilled to be able to bring this U.S. Premiere to our audiences.”
While typical Players’ subscriptions and Barn Door Passes won’t be sold this summer, the Players has a special ticket package to celebrate their return. The Curtain Up! Pass is on sale now. Those who’d like to purchase one can do so by visiting their website, www.peterboroughplayers.org, or by calling our box office at (603) 924-7585 Monday through Friday, between 10am-4pm.
Peterborough, NH – With hearts full of gratitude for 25 years of incredible art, vision, and friendship, the Peterborough Players announces much-loved Artistic Director Gus Kaikkonen will be passing the torch in 2021.
Gus began his tenure as Artistic Director of the Players in 1996. Under his creative leadership, the Players has grown, thrived, and raised its admired profile in the theatrical community. He has enriched and challenged Players’ audiences by programming a wide range of works from all areas of the theatrical canon. He’s expanded the number of offerings in the summer season – including a big book musical, introduced a winter season, developed a nationally recognized Second Company, and created indelible work, the likes of which prompted Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout to call the Players “American summer repertory theater at its most accomplished.”
Kaikkonen has grown the Players repertory company giving legions of artists a theatrical home, encouraged professionals to reach impressive artistic heights, inspired countless careers, mentored hundreds of young people, given many their first professional opportunities (which propelled them on to fruitful careers), and built strong, longstanding relationships with audiences – especially in the Monadnock Region. All of this while creating brilliant performances, designs, and direction of his own in numerous seasons.
Over the course of his time at the Players, he has staged more than 85 plays. His Peterborough productions of The Cherry Orchard, You Can’t Take It With You, About Time, Inherit the Wind, Heartbreak House, Freud’s Last Session, Measure for Measure, Auld Lang Syne, Outside Mullingar, and many others have all won New Hampshire Theatre Awards for Best Professional Production.
Widely respected and admired in the industry, Kaikkonen’s career includes noteworthy work as a director, actor, playwright, and educator, in addition to his long relationship with the Players. Kaikkonen made his Broadway acting debut in the original cast of Equus. His film, television, and theatre experiences include Tommy Tune’s Cloud 9, The Country Girl with Hal Holbrook, PBS’s Paul’s Case with Eric Roberts, as well as performances at the Long Wharf, Folger, Goodman, Asolo, GeVa, Arden, American Heartland, Aspen, and BoarsHead Theatres, and the Coconut Grove Playhouse and others.
As a director his work has been seen in New York and across the country; his Off-Broadway production of Hindle Wakes was nominated for the 2018 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival.
Off Broadway work also includes productions of Antigone (Wall Street Journal Best of 2006) for the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble; Arms and the Man, The Gentleman Dancing Master and Heartbreak House at the Pearl; Macbeth with Stephen McHattie, Candida with Laurie Kennedy at Playhouse 91, Richard III with Austin Pendleton at Riverside Shakespeare; the New York premieres of Harley Granville-Barker’s The Voysey Inheritance, The Charity That Began At Home, Farewell to the Theatre, and The Madras House; and Susan Sandler’s Under the Bed at HB Playwrights Theatre. At the Mint Theatre he directed his own new translations of two plays by Jules Romains, Donogoo and Dr. Knock, and at Manhattan’s United Solo Festival he directed Andy Dolan’s Robert Frost: This Verse Business, starring Gordon Clapp, which was selected the Best Production. In the regions, he has directed at Ford’s Theatre, the Asolo, the Philadelphia Theatre Company, Goodspeed, and the Coconut Grove Playhouse.
His writing awards include two grants from the New York State Arts Council as well as the Michigan Arts Council, the Lecomte du Nouys Playwriting Award, and Thurber and MacDowell Fellowships. The American Theatre Critics Association selected his play Time Steps as one of the ten best plays to open in regions. He has worked as a visiting artist at Juilliard, NYU, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, University of Houston, Hofstra, Ohio State, Michigan State University, and Connecticut College.
While celebrating Kaikkonen’s leadership, the Players Board of Trustees is very pleased to announce that current Associate Artistic Director Tom Frey will become Artistic Director in 2021. Gus is thrilled to be passing the torch to a longtime company member and friend “Tom Frey is the real thing: a genuine artist with a love of theatre and an understanding of the value and meaning of a theatre company. I know the Players is in good hands, and it’s joyous to have Tom becoming the Players next Artistic Director.”
The Players is currently imagining and planning the possibilities for re-starting live theatre, safely, in 2021. The theatre will celebrate Kaikkonen’s career while looking forward to welcoming Tom Frey’s artistic vision for the future.
Peterborough, NH – Peterborough Players wraps up its first season of new, popular interactive theatrical workshops, Playgroup, online on December 4th and 11th at 7:30pm EST. The two-session workshop will introduce Players’ audiences to playwright, actor, NHIA graduate, and 2020-2021 member of American Theatre Group’s PlayLab writers group for BIPOC and LBTGQIA+ voices, Tracey Conyer Lee.
Alongside an acting career spanning 27 years and including performances across the country on stage as well as in film and television, Tracey Conyer Lee has explored and developed a unique and powerful voice as a playwright. Her work has been commissioned, developed, workshopped, and / or produced by institutions like the National Black Theatre, Ally Theatre Company, and Congo Square’s August Wilson New Play Initiative, among many others. As a student in the MFA Program at NHIA, her studies brought her to Peterborough where she honed her voice. She is the author of Retreat, Rabbit Summer, Standing Up: Bathroom Talk & Other Stuff We Learn from Dad, and others.
She embraces the idea of “The Inspired Multihyphenate”, saying “There is a book called Steal Like an Artist, and I do just that. I steal from the truth to create fiction. My truth includes finding funny where you didn't know it lived. We will explore how my plays about gun violence, addiction, mass incarceration, racism and this pandemic, for example, should be directed as comedies, although no one would read them as such. I use my life without getting stuck in the (undramatic) details; my work is inspired by my surroundings, my dreams for the world, and the work of my favorite artists.”
Moderated by Associate Artistic Director Tom Frey, Session 1 on December 4th will be a presentation, discussion, and exploration of Lee’s process and ideas. Session 2 on December 11th will feature Lee and a theatrical colleague discussing excerpts from her work, and the many layers within it, in a rehearsal-type setting. Participants will be able to submit questions to the artists via chat during each session, and will have the opportunity to be on screen with the participants during a Q&A portion, if they’d like.
Sessions are free, but registration is required, and space is limited. Those who would like to participate in this special event must email email@example.com with the subject line Playgroup - Lee. A reservation confirmation email will be received shortly after, and a second email with log-on instructions for the online sessions will follow a few days prior to the event.
For more of the Players’ digital offerings, visit their website, peterboroughplayers.org, and look for Players Online, follow their social media channels, and be sure to sign up for eblasts.
Peterborough, NH – Peterborough Players pulls back the curtain on Shakespeare in the next offering of their interactive theatrical workshop series, Playgroup. The two-session workshop will occur online on November 13th and 20th at 7:30pm EST.
It's an open secret that there are many different versions of Shakespeare's plays, but there is one considered the "definitive version" - the First Folio, complied by Shakespeare's acting company as they performed it at the time, after the death of the Bard.
Players Artistic Director, MacDowell Fellow, actor, and playwright Gus Kaikkonen will lead attendees through the difference between acting and directing this definitive version as opposed to the myriad others published throughout time. Moderated by Associate Artistic Director Tom Frey, Session 1 on November 13th will be a presentation, discussion, and work on this idea. Session 2 on November 20th will feature Players' favorites Lisa Bostnar and Kathy Manfre performing a scene from Shakespeare’s canon in a rehearsal-type setting with direction, thoughts, and adjustment from Kaikkonen. Participants will be able to submit questions to the artists via chat during each session, and will have the opportunity to be on screen with the participants during a Q&A potion, if they’d like.
The series will conclude with playwright, actor, NHIA graduate, and 2020-2021 member of American Theatre Group’s PlayLab writers group for BIPOC and LBTGQIA+ voices, Tracey Conyer Lee on Playwriting on December 4th and 11th. All sessions start at 7:30pm and will last approximately one hour.
Sessions are free, but registration is required, and space is limited. Those who would like to participate in these special events can email firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate in the subject line which workshops they’d like to see. (For example: Playgroup – Kaikkonen and Lee, Playgroup – Kaikkonen) A reservation confirmation email will be received shortly after, and a second email with log-on instructions for the online sessions will follow a few days prior to the event in question.
For more of the Players’ digital offerings, visit their website, peterboroughplayers.org, and look for Players Online, follow their social media channels, and be sure to sign up for eblasts.