A look ahead at the Peterborough Players season

  • Elyse Collier and Joe Bigelow in The Peterborough Players’ production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” last summer. Photo by Will Howell

  • Tom Frey and Bridget Beirne in the Peterborough Players' production of “Sexy Laundry” last summer.  Photo by Will Howell 

  • Courtesy photos—

  • Courtesy photos—

  • Courtesy photos—

  • Courtesy photos—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/5/2019 9:24:26 PM

The Peterborough Players kick off their summer season on June 19, with “Mahida’s Extra Key to Heaven.”

“This is a play [Peterborough Players Artistic Director Gus Kaikkonen] has been wanting to do for a long time,” said Players Managing Director Keith Stevens. 

The play follows the interaction between an American artist and Iranian college student. The painter, Thomas, played by Steven Michael Walters, offers the student, played by Aliah Whitmore, a place to stay at his mother’s house overnight when her ferry is delayed. 

“It’s a culture clash,” Stevens said. “And it’s certainly topical and current in its content.”

Whitmore, granddaughter of Players’ alum and film and television actor James Whitmore, will appear on the Players’ stage for the first time. Walters started with the Players in 2002 as an intern, and was part of the 2015 season, appearing in “Charlie’s Aunt” and “Born Yesterday.”

The play has a small cast of four characters.

In the center of the Players’ season is its musical production of “She Loves Me,” featuring Tom Frey, Rebecca Brinkley, Joe Bigelow and Bridget Beirne. The romantic comedy is about two co-workers who constantly fight, but fall in love with each other through exchanging “lonely hearts” advertisements in the newspapers.

“It’s a story that’s been around awhile and told in a couple of different ways,” said Stevens. The plot comes from the Hungarian play “Parfumerie,” and has been lifted for film classics such as “The Shop Around the Corner” and, more recently, “You’ve Got Mail.”

“Charming is the word people use to describe it,” Stevens said.

Beirne and Brinkley, who are featured in the musical, will also be appearing in another Players production which features elements of music: “Dumas’ Camille” by Charles Morey. 

Morey is a recent returnee to Peterborough Players, having served as their artistic director from 1977 to 1988.

Set in 1895 Paris, the play centers around the aging author Alexandre Dumas, as he observes a rehearsal of “La Traviata,” the opera adapted from his novel “The Lady of the Camellias.” Through the performance of the opera, Dumas remembers the moments of his affair with a beautiful Parisian courtesan, which inspired his novel. The arias from the opera are sung live by Beirne.

“It’s a wonderfully immersive story,” Stevens said.

The play has only been produced once before, under a different title, and has been reworked since that time. This will be its first performance on the Eastern coast.

One of the most performed Broadway plays of the past season is also on the Players’ line-up: “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” by Lucas Hnath. The play will be directed by Stevens and feature Lisa Bostnar.

Hnath’s has written a sequel to the 1879 play “A Doll’s House” by Henrick Ibsen. At the end of Ibsen’s play, protagonist Nora leaves her condescending husband and their three children. Hnath’s play picks up 15 years after the events of the original, with Nora returning, asking her husband to make their divorce official. 

The season ends with a one-woman show in “Rose”, written by Martin Sherman and directed by Howard Millman. Carolyn Michel will play the titular character, now in her 80s, as she recalls her life – from her youth growing up in a Russian village, to living as a Jewish woman through the Holocaust, to her immigration to America.

For a full list of Peterborough Players productions, including its two family productions by the Players’ second company, visit www.peterboroughplayers.org. Following the first Friday and first Sunday of each performance, there will be a talkback session, where cast members, directors, and designers return to the stage or an open question and answer session about the play.

The season opens June 19.


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

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