5 Wisconsin Theaters to Road-Trip to This Summer

Spotlights – and starlight – make for a dazzling evening of entertainment. Most Milwaukee theater groups go on hiatus over the summer, but summer stock is in full swing on numerous stages around the state.


Peninsula State Park, June 14-Aug. 26
Drive Time* 3 hours
The rustic amphitheater in one of the state’s prettiest parks is filled with happy campers feasting on original musicals from the company that brought us Guys on Ice and Lumberjacks in Love. This year, Northern Sky offers four productions, including Oklahoma in Wisconsin, a 1950s-era tale of big city folks who visit a family-run Wisconsin inn.

* From Milwaukee.


Spring Green, June 10-Nov. 19
Drive Time 2 hours, 10 minutes
This destination for summer theater is one of the few places in America where you can see large-scale productions like this season’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cyrano De Bergerac and The Three Sisters. But one of the highlights of this season is perhaps the company’s smallest play: Yasmina Reza’s The Unexpected Man (June 10-Sept. 30), starring APT company members Brian Mani and Sarah Day. Director Laura Gordon calls it “a little play with big ideas that’s driven by language.”

Last year’s American Players Theater production of Arcadia. Photo by Liz Lauren


Bailey’s Harbor, July 1-Aug. 19
Drive Time 2 hours, 50 minutes
The up-north spot famed for its classical work shakes things up a bit for its 23rd season, offering The Heart of Robin Hood, a contemporary play about the merry men in green. To balance the swordplay and derring-do, the company also presents Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, directed by Joseph Hanreddy and with familiar Milwaukee actors such as Mark Corkins, Deborah Staples and Norman Moses.


Delafield, June 8-Sept. 9
Drive Time 30 minutes
No overnight accommodations are needed for a trip to this nearby outdoor theater and concert venue. Among its offerings is the posh, tuxedoed comedy Present Laughter (July 20-Aug. 5), Noel Coward’s witty story about an actor with a not-so-serious midlife crisis.


Fish Creek, June 13-Oct. 15
Drive Time 3 hours
This 82-year-old American institution is the oldest “summer stock” company in America. This year’s season offers the time-tested blend of comedies, mysteries and family fare that has kept audiences coming back for generations. Among the plays, Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime (Aug. 16-Sept 3.), based on an Oscar Wilde short story, should give a proper taste of the Peninsula style. Greg Vinkler directs. ◆


3 Arts & Culture Road Trips to Take in Wisconsin This Summer



Tune in to WUWM’s (FM 89.7) “Lake Effect” July 7 at 10 a.m. to hear more about the story.

‘Hit the Road’ appears in the July 2017 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning July 3, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

Be the first to get every new issue. Subscribe.





Paul Kosidowski is a freelance writer and critic who contributes regularly to Milwaukee Magazine, WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio and national arts magazines. He writes weekly reviews and previews for the Culture Club column. He was literary director of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater from 1999-2006. In 2007, he was a fellow with the NEA Theater and Musical Theater Criticism Institute at the University of Southern California. His writing has also appeared in American Theatre magazine, Backstage, The Boston Globe, Theatre Topics, and Isthmus (Madison, Wis.). He has taught theater history, arts criticism and magazine writing at Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.