Nicolet Players to present ‘delightfully absurd’ DEERS
Courtesy of Nicolet College
RHINELANDER – The Nicolet Players are returning to the stage with DEERS, a play structured as four episodes of a live sitcom. Thirteen actors from Eagle River, Hazelhurst, St. Germain, Rhinelander and Tomahawk will bring to life a cast of animals who frequent a bar in the Cascades.
Performances will be held Friday, Nov. 5 through Sunday, Nov. 7; and Thursday, Nov. 11 through Sunday, Nov. 14.
The story follows what Seattle-based playwright Marcus Gorman describes as “a Cheers remix.” Binty and Deer run a bar with regulars Bear, Bobcat, Rabbit, Raccoon, and Turtle. A love story blossoms between barkeep Owl and newcomer Emu and all of the characters get their fur or feathers ruffled by a striking feline visitor, Tiger. The play starts with the pilot episode of DEERS and takes audiences on a hilarious and heartfelt journey through a Dating Game-themed episode, a Christmas episode, and a very special series finale.
“What I love most about this play is that Marcus created it in collaboration with a diverse group of performers in Seattle,” explained K. Woodzick, director of the production. “Audiences will certainly recognize beloved characters from Cheers as the inspiration behind some of the characters, but this ensemble piece is written in such a way that each actor can truly put their own unique stamp on these animals.”
DEERS premiered in 2018 at Annex Theatre, the longest-running fringe theatre in the country. The play was named one of the Top 20 Comedy Stage Plays of 2018 as awarded by ScreenCraft and won Gregory Awards People’s Choice awards for both Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Ensemble.
Leading the pack of animals as Deer is Rhinelander native, Alison French. In addition to the acting talent she brings, French is also well-versed in a variety of creatures by virtue of her work as a small animal veterinarian at French’s Homestead Veterinary Care.
Nicolet Players veteran and former technical director Steve Richardson said he’s ecstatic to be in the play.
“After over a half century of stage work, after playing in everything from high drama to musical comedy, after many accolades and awards, I am on stage playing a drunken raccoon,” Richardson said. “You see, dreams really do come true.”
DEERS features two Nicolet College students who have plans to further their undergraduate studies in theatre: Ashley Gardner, who plays Binty, and Jimmy Rau, who plays Owl.
The rest of the cast includes Cecily Dawson as the Newscaster and other voices, Claire Kafka Duda as Emu, Lynn Grube as Bear, Karina Orlowski as Squirrel, Malia Remme as Human, Jake Schexnaydre as Turtle, JoDee Sherwood as Rabbit, and Deb Stolze as Bobcat.
Audiences can look forward to welcoming the return of another Nicolet Players veteran, Anna Schwartz as Tiger, who audiences may remember from her performances in Noises Off, Becky’s New Car, Outside Mullingar, and The Crucible. This will be the first production with a scenic, sound and lighting design by Theatre and Event Services Manager, Mike Effinger.
All Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances will start at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 general public, $8 for students and can be purchased online at www.nicoletlive.com.