PSA: American Players Theatre Announces Their 2023 Season

Hot from my email inbox…the announcement for APT’s 2023 season already. I can’t wait to see as many as these as I can fit into my summer!


SPRING GREEN, WIS: American Players Theatre (APT) is thrilled to announce its 2023 lineup, to run June 10 – October 8, with the shoulder season production opening in late October. The Hill Theatre will open with one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, The Merry Wives of Windsor, on June 10. The second Shakespearean classic will be Romeo + Juliet featuring Shakespeare’s words performed both in spoken English and in American Sign Language. Also playing on the Hill, David Ives’ farce The Liar; Thornton Wilder’s great American Classic Our Town; and Anton’s Shorts – a series of early one-act comedies by Anton Chekhov, adapted by award-winning playwright Aaron Posner.

Next season in the Touchstone Theatre offers four productions never seen before on APT’s stages: Once Upon a Bridge by Sonya Kelly; The Royale by Marco Ramirez; and Wolf at the Door by Marisela Treviño Orta, who wrote last season’s The River Bride. Finally, playing late October through November in the Touchstone, David Auburn’s Proof, directed by Artistic Director Brenda DeVita.

Ms. DeVita said, “The 2022 season has been a gift. Which is not to say it was perfect – I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this past season brought more ups and downs than is typical, with weather and COVID cancellations, and an unprecedented number of understudy put-ins. And I think we learned some lessons about how we can make that path smoother in the future. All that aside, in the end, we were able to successfully return to our rotating repertory structure. Which is so huge – it’s hard to articulate how important that was to this company. We were able to welcome back those glorious, large-cast, gorgeously appointed plays. And we were able to perform them in front of very full houses. It was such an unbelievable blessing to have all those faces back in the audience. It truly felt like a family reunion.

And as we move into planning for 2023, we’re carrying that feeling along with us. I’m not saying it’s a theme, because we don’t do themes, but the stories we’ll be telling next year are about community, and taking care of one another, and how vital it is to have that connection to another human being, or group of human beings. And how sometimes that doesn’t look like you’d think it would. We’re incredibly excited to bring back two great, beloved Shakespeares – The Merry Wives of Windsor, a delightful comedy, and Romeo and Juliet, which will feature actors who are deaf playing Romeo and Friar Laurence, sharing Shakespeare’s poetry through ASL. Of course, we have a great American Classic, Our Town, coming back to the Hill for the first time in 30 years, as well as The Liar – a hilarious farce, which our company will just have a blast with. And a piece newly adapted from Chekhov’s early one-act Vaudevilles, and partly created from whole cloth by Aaron Posner, who is a genius. And in the Touchstone, we have four gorgeous, poetic, contemporary plays that are new to us, as we continue our journey into exploring the new classics, and how they connect and intersect with our foundation and our future.

In The Hill Theatre!

The Merry Wives of Windsor By William Shakespeare Director TBA

When the infamous Sir John Falstaff arrives in Windsor, he immediately decides his path to riches lies in finding a wealthy woman to woo. So he sets about writing identical love letters to two married ladies about town – Mistresses Ford and Page. Though the letters fail to have the intended effect, the ladies find them an excellent inlet to toy with Falstaff, resulting in a funny and energetic exploration of marriage, miscommunication and forgiveness, featuring charming characters and shenanigans to spare.

The Liar By David Ives Adapted from Les Menteur by Pierre Corneille Directed by Keira Fromm

Ridiculous situations abound in this warm and hilarious adaptation of Corneille’s famous farce. Charming Dorande is a shameless liar, and he’s just arrived in Paris with good times on his mind. He very quickly falls in love with a local lady, Clarice, who he has mistaken for her best friend, Lucrece. Further complicating matters is that, unbeknownst to Dorande, Clarice is already engaged – to his childhood friend, Alcippe. Throw in a servant who cannot tell a lie, and a father who is anxious to marry off his wayward son, and you’ve got the type of uproarious comedies that APT does best.

Romeo + Juliet By William Shakespeare Directed by John Langs

In this gorgeous new production originated at ACT Theatre in Seattle, American Sign Language is seamlessly united with Shakespeare’s sweeping poetry. The story is one you likely know – the feuding Montague and Capulet clans come crashing together when the star-crossed Romeo and Juliet fall utterly in love, even though, in this case, they speak different languages. As characters speak their truths with their whole hearts, a chorus of actors speaks along with the signing in this lush, full-hearted imagining of one of the greatest tragedies ever written.

Our Town By Thornton Wilder Directed by Tim Ocel

Wilder’s Pulitzer-Prize winning classic returns to the Hill Theatre for the first time since 1992. That little town of Grover’s Corners contains multitudes. Centered around George and Emily, a young couple in love, the story of their lives together evolves as the acts carry on, intertwined with the story of the town itself, the narrative stewarded by an all-knowing stage manager. A timeless tale that gently reminds us about the importance of appreciating the life we have, and the people with whom we share it.

Anton’s Shorts Brief Plays & Vaudevilles by the Young Anton Chekhov Freely adapted for the stage by Aaron Posner Directed by Jake Penner

Sometimes, Russian comedy isn’t so much comedy in the traditional sense (just ask anyone who’s seen The Seagull). That said, Anton Chekhov had a phase in his youth where everything seemed very funny indeed – even when the topics are serious ones: the complexities of love and life; of marriage and moving on. Adapted by award-winning playwright and regular stage director at APT, Aaron Posner, who weaves the pieces together with an original work of fiction featuring Chekhov himself.

In The Touchstone Theatre

Once Upon a Bridge By Sonya Kelly Directed by Laura Rook

Based on a true story, three lives intersect for an instant, and are changed forever. A young woman starting out in a new city is bumped – or is she pushed? – or did she fall? – into the path of an oncoming bus, her life spared by bare inches. One man hustles off, while another risks his job to stay. Structured as a series of flowing monologues, these strangers tell a tale of the distance between our hopes and realities; our perceived futures and unchangeable past; between ourselves and the people around us. A poetic and hopeful meditation about choices, consequences and picking up the pieces when they fall. 

The Royale By Marco Ramirez Directed by Tyrone Phillips

In the early 1900s, Jay Jackson, known in boxing circles as “The Sport,” is primed to become the first Black heavyweight champion of the world. It’s an opportunity to open doors for himself, and all the potential prize-fighters who come after him – most immediately, his young could-be protégé, Fish. But what is the price of bringing those barriers down? And who is reaping the rewards of his sacrifice? What do his accomplishments mean to those who come after, and what do they mean to the safety of his family in an intolerant time? A graceful, theatrical play about boxing, without a single punch thrown.

Wolf at the Door By Marisela Treviño Orta Directed by Melisa Pereyra

Wolf at the Door leans into the darkness that can live inside marriage vows, and the extreme lengths that people must sometimes go to break free from them. A mysterious woman arrives at the steps of Isadora and Septimo’s abusive and unhappy home. A pregnant woman, who Septimo sees as the answer to his quest for an heir – whether she’s interested or not. A second play in Orta’s ongoing cycle of Latine fairy tales, along with The River Bride, which APT staged last season. Contains adult themes and language.

Proof By David Auburn Directed by Brenda DeVita

Catherine has lived alone with her father, who had once been a world-renowned mathematician, in order to care for him during a period of mental decline. But the nature of their conversations is starting to cause her to fear that she may share more with her father than a love of numbers. Complicating this is one of her father’s former students, Hal, combing through his journals for something of value, while anxiously wondering if his own best days are behind him at 28. And Catherine’s sister, Claire, who only wants the best for Catherine, though her motives may not be entirely unselfish. A poignant and surprisingly funny look at what we’re willing to sacrifice for those we love – and what we’re not. Contains adult themes and language.

APT is a professional repertory theater devoted to the great and future classics. It was founded in 1979 and continues to be one of the most popular outdoor classical theaters in the nation.

The Theatre is located in Spring Green, Wis., on 110 acres of hilly woods and meadows above the Wisconsin River. The outdoor amphitheater is built within a natural hollow atop an oak-wooded hill. Under the dome of sky, 1,089 comfortably cushioned seats encircle three sides of the stage. In 2009, APT opened the 201-seat indoor Touchstone Theatre, offering a different type of play and experience.

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