Peterborough Players 85th summer season starts Wednesday

  • Courtesy Photo—

  • Courtesy Photo—

  • “Arsenic and Old Lace” at the Peterborough Players in a previous summer season. The 85th season opens next week. Photo by Will Howell

  • “The Whipping Man” at the Peterborough Players in a previous summer season. Photo by Tyler Richardson

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, June 14, 2018 9:56AM

The Peterborough Players’ 85th Summer Season opens next week and runs the gamut of theatrical productions from the one-man show to a Broadway musical.

“I always try to make sure that no two plays will be alike and that they all relate to our lives in the world and in Peterborough. Cause what we are trying to do here is to give sustenance for the soul,” said Players’ artistic director Gus Kaikkonen.

The Players 2018 summer season is presenting 9 plays over 13 weeks and opens Wednesday with the award winning one-man show, Tru: From the Words and Works of Truman Capote.

Players’ veteran actor Kraig Swartz is filling the role of Capote, who over the span of his career went from renowned writer to society darling to society outcast.

Tru is being directed by Kaikkonen, who said he has long wanted to direct the one-man show.

“It’s a show that I loved when I first saw it and they wouldn’t let it be done anywhere,” Kaikkonen said Tuesday.

When he was recently able to get the rights to the show he jumped at the chance to put it on at the Players, he said, with Swartz.

“I think Mr. Swartz will be quite extraordinary as Mr. Capote,” he said.

Tru is a Drama Desk Award winner for Outstanding One-Person Show and was adapted from Capote’s words and works and takes place in his New York City apartment at Christmas in 1975.

The show is rated PG-13 and runs June 20 through July 1.

The Players Second Company also kicks off next week with their first show this summer, The Wind in the Willows, which is opening on Saturday, June 23. The show is rated G, for all ages, and tells the story of Mr. Toad of Toad Hall, and his friends, Otter, Badger, Ratty, and Mole. The show runs through July 21.

Kaikkonen said as a nod to the International Thornton Wilder Conference taking place in Peterborough this summer, The Players are bringing Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth to the stage in July.

“I wanted to do The Skin of Our Teeth cause it is a play about the endurance of mankind, as man seems to endure through great change, wars and climate change,” he said, adding the play is “very funny” with “absurdest elements.”

“It has a little bit of Noises Off to it, theatrical things going wrong on stage,” Kaikkonen said. “It could not be a more different play then Our Town, but it has the same emotional and climatic impact as that play.”

Later in July, Kaikkonen will take to the stage himself as Inspector Goole in the “whodunit” mysteryAn Inspector Calls.

“A police inspector shows up at an engagement party because a woman just died in town,” Kaikkonen said. “It’s a whodunit, but it’s a whodunit with a soul.”

The Drowsy Chaperone, the Broadway hit musical, is hitting the Players stage in August.

Kirby Ward, who was nominated for an Olivier Award as the original Bobby Child in the UK premiere of Crazy For You, is starring and choreographing the musical. 

 The musical comedy opens on "Man in Chair" as he puts on his favorite record, the original cast recording of a fictitious 1928 musicalThe Drowsy Chaperone.

“His imagination is so huge that as he listens to a recordings of this 1928 musical it comes to life in his living room,” Kaikkonen said.

Later in August comes The Man of Destiny by George Bernard Shaw, which tells the story of a young Napoleon who meets his match in a mysterious young woman, who is determined to halt his rise to power. 

The Second Company is also bringing a musical version of Pippi Longstocking to the stage in August.

The summer season ends in September with a lot of humor with the comedy Sexy Laundry and the one-man show, by actor Jason O’Connell, Dorknight.

“Sexy Laundry is about a couple that's married and the passion seems to have gone out their their marriage,” Kakkionen said.

In an effort to bring the spark back, the wife rents a hotel room and buys the book “Sex for Dummies.”

“Of course everything goes hilariously wrong in this play,” he said.

In Dorknight, O'Connell lays out how his life went wrong, both professionally and romantically, because of his obsession with superheros like Batman.

“He did a run of it off Broadway two years ago and I just approached him and asked him, ‘would you do this in Peterborough,’” Kaikkonen said. “He was one of those guys who was fascinated with Batman and those superheros. It’s about how Batman screwed up his life and finally rescued him.”

O’Connell brings the one-man show together with his great impersonations of Batmans through the years from Michael Keaton to Christian Bale, Kaikkonen said. 

“He is a wonderful mimic and he is able to mimic all the actors who played Batman through the years – and Cat Woman as well,” he said.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.peterboroughplayers.org and by calling the Box Office at 603-924-7585.

Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on show days from 10 a.m. to showtime.

Single tickets to Tru are $42. The Wind in the Willows is $9 for children and $11 for adults.

The Peterborough Players is located at 55 Hadley Rd in Peterborough.