The Peninsula Players, also known as the “theater in a garden,” is beloved by many. It’s Door County’s premier professional theater and astounds anyone who visits for the first time. Remarks like “I had no idea,” “this is amazing,” and simply “wow” are quite common. Here are five reasons the experience of Peninsula Players is truly magical.
Despite its Contemporary Feel, the Theater is America’s Oldest Resident Summer Theater
Since 1935 and the opening of Noel Coward’s Hay Fever, the Players have been entertaining, educating, and uplifting generations of audiences. The Players’ resident company maintains high-quality ensembles and artistic standards. Many alumni have become Broadway, regional theater, screen, and TV personalities. Present company members appear regularly in major regional theater, Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, on TV, and in films. Directors and designers are hired from across the country.
The Theater is Surrounded by 16-Acre Cedar Forest
After you park your vehicle, you’ll take a short walk, which leads you further down the sloping peninsula toward the lake, where there's a forest full of green cedar trees. Follow the walking paths to discover lush gardens—called the “Far Gardens”—and, closer to the lakefront, a Beer Garden complete with a bonfire pit that is lit at intermission.
The “Lobby” Features 1,000 Feet of Western Shoreline
If you make your way through the Beer Garden, you’ll come toe-to-water with Lake Michigan, facing west. You know what that means: spectacular sunsets and golden-hour views. As the season progresses, you can watch the sun set and then an amazing show. If you have the time, come early with a picnic and enjoy an outdoor meal before showtime. Wisconsin state statute prohibits the carry-in of alcohol, but food baskets are welcome in the Beer Garden.
The Luna Bar Offers Cold Beer, Cocktails, and Wine
The Luna Bar in the Beer Garden is open 90-minutes before showtime and during intermission to give patrons the option of sipping on a glass of wine, beer, or a featured cocktail. Or, mosey over to the Canteen to buy fresh coffee, ice cream, chips, candy, soda, freshly baked cookies, and hot cider and cocoa in the fall. Drinks and food are not allowed in the theater, which is just all the more reason to arrive early and enjoy the grounds. Plus, on Saturdays, the Luna Bar opens again post-show, and guests can mingle with the cast.
The Open-Air Theater Feels Like a Blend of Treehouse and State-of-the-Art Performance Venue
The new pavilion and stage house was completed in 2006, which was a major update of the original stage, which was first built in 1937. The building is in the same place on the property and was designed to match the trees surrounding it with a vegetative roof and large timber framework with multiple levels. The performance space is open-sided with cedar panel, which can be closed in inclement weather and while there is no air conditioning or central heating, there is radiant floor heat for the fall. Explore the balconies and peer off the second level deck to see the twinkling string lights in the Beer Garden and feel entranced by the setting!
Here is what visitors have to say about their experiences, from TripAdvisor:
“Professional and talented theater group presenting the highest quality live entertainment such as you would expect to find in New York and Chicago!” –zimmys57, Delavan, Wisconsin
“The performances are excellent and the setting is magical.” –Rilart, Chesterfield, Missouri
“A romantic theater in the woods! This setting is so lovely! The theatre is in a landscaped woods, and right on the water. There are paths and party lights, a cantina, bonfire, tables and chairs. Watching the sunset over the water is a beautiful experience. Arrive early and enjoy the ambiance. There are indoor restrooms, and a very comfortable seating, including handicapped locations without stairs. The plays and musicals have mass appeal and are always excellent. This is an experience not to be missed!” –Pokey N
“It’s the oldest resident summer theater in the country. Lovely spot--professional shows in a bayside, woodsy atmosphere. Beautiful theater, nice staff, and great productions-- had a fun night here. Try the drink specials at the bar.” –Jheals, New Jersey
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