“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.