Busy bees, indeed, at this theater

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FISH CREEK, Wis. (WFRV) – One of northeast Wisconsin’s professional theaters is treading a path that few travel.

Northern Sky Theater presents musicals of its own creation.

Assembling all shows from scratch makes the company special among American theater.

The stories are about something in Wisconsin, whether historical or whimsical.

“Love Stings” is the company’s newest production set under the “roof” of tall pine trees just above the amphitheater stage at Peninsula State Park.

The musical is set in the early 1960s of President John F. Kennedy.

The main character is Bill Zapper, an idealist trying to overcome his family’s ties to the destructive DDT.

His quasi-fiancée is a theater star with the age of 40 in the rearview mirror.

As a sleight of hand, series writers Richard Castle and Matthew Levine place $1 million in Bill Zapper’s hand and take him to a bee farm in Door County.

This is where Bill is stung by true love.

Meanwhile, Bill’s quasi-fiancée meets a classmate who was a nerd in high school and is now full of money.

Along the way there is a bit of education – what it is to maintain bee hives and the importance of bees.

In true theatricality, hostile bees are puppets.

In true Northern Sky Theater form, puns abound, like the quasi-bride being the queen bee starring in low-budget B-movies.

One line in my review tells how “Love Stings” is off the bee trail.

Messages are woven, from environmental concerns to expanding the role of women in a changing society.

Sixteen more performances continue through August 26 in the amphitheater, where the company has presented original productions since 1970 under the names The Heritage Ensemble and American Folklore Theater.

Many, many busy bees have rounded up the world premiere offerings of popular populist theatre.

One of the ‘bees’ on stage in ‘Love Stings’, Lacrisa Grandberry, is co-writer of the Northern Sky Theatre’s upcoming premiere production. “Sunflowered,” opens Sept. 9 at the company’s indoor Gould Theater near Fish Creek.

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