American Players Theatre
5950 Golf Course Road
P.O. Box 819
Spring Green, WI 53588
Box Office: 608-588-2361
Considering which plays to see this season? Season Selects are here to help. Learn more about Our Town and why this season is the perfect time for it.
Directed by Tim Ocel
Playing: Hill Theatre | June 23 - September 22
Featuring: Tracy Michelle Arnold, Teri Brown, Nate Burger, Sarah Day, Jim DeVita, Tim Gittings, Kailey Azure Green, Josh Krause, Brian Mani, Jamaque Newberry, Samantha Newcomb, Ronald Román-Meléndez, James Ridge, Jefferson A. Russell
Genre: American Classic
Last Seen at APT: 1992 (!!)
Go If You Liked: A Raisin in the Sun (2022), A View From the Bridge (2017) ,Arcadia (2016)
Every moment holds a mystery. We set them free without a thought – endless choices slipping past us with every breath. But then, there are the ones that flash with inevitability, when we are frozen for a beat in the light of our shifting stars. Emergent love. Stunning comprehension. Shattering grief. Brilliant shards of life that are universal, and completely unique to the folks that bear them. Grover's Corners is a town made up of these moments, brought to life by its irresistible residents. Each charming soul experiencing a life that’s uniquely their own, within the embrace of their community. They share a simple human truth – that even when we feel most insignificant, we are part of something grand and endless. An American Classic not seen on this Hill in a generation. See it this summer with fresh eyes and an open heart.
If there's one play that's about all of us, it's Our Town. It focuses in on the relationships we have with the people closest to us, and to the people who dip in and out of our orbit. It is about caring for each other, and the moments we miss as people we love become more and more familiar. And then there's the third act, which, just in case you haven't seen or read it, we are absolutely not going to spoil.
But one more thing about this production before we move on - the Stage Manager will be played by Sarah Day. Sarah. Day. Brenda will fill you in on all the reasons to see it, but this is a big one.
Now, a bit more about how the play came to be. Thornton Wilder was born in Wisconsin, but Our Town was not written in Wisconsin. In fact, he didn't even write it in the country. Wilder was abroad as part of the MacDowell Colony Artists' Retreat while he worked on this play. He decided to write Our Town in part as a protest to what he considered overly-lavish and foolish plays and musicals that had taken over stages across the country. It was published and produced to great acclaim in 1938 and won Pulitzer Prize for drama.
Favorite Wilder quote: “I hate being alone. And I hate writing. But I can only write when I’m alone. So these working spells combine both my antipathies.”
Our Town is one of my favorite plays. And I know, lots of folks who studied this play in high school might be asking why this play? Why this play now? Artists have asked me that very question. And the answer is that it’s a beautiful play, with poetic language that’s also simple and clear, about community, and about the moments of connection that we miss when we’re not paying attention. It’s about how small lives are big, and about who we are in all of our different stages of life, and how each of those stages holds value for us, and for the people around us. And we are blessed with an extraordinary cast – Samantha Newcomb and Ronald Román-Meléndez playing Emily and George, as well as a whole host of Core Company and other tremendous actors – who are going to tell this story with their whole hearts, in a way that we believe will resonate with audiences in 2023. It was written by Thornton Wilder, a Wisconsin playwright, so even though the actual town of Grover’s Corners only exists within this play, and within our hearts and minds, Wilder understood small town communities like the ones that exist in our home state. And don’t get me started on the director, Tim Ocel. You know his work from the last time we did Merry Wives in 2015, and from the incredible production of Stones in His Pockets last year, and many more. And he can just pull on every thread that connects one human to another, and to their community, in this incredibly honest and poignant way. And Sarah Day will be playing the Stage Manager, and that feels so true to our own community, and to our theater, as well as to this story. I can hardly think about it without crying. It’s going to be so beautiful, I can’t wait for it to start its run on the Hill stage, for our amazing audience.
Check out this 2012 New Yorker piece about Thornton Wilder (where we found our favorite quote in the top section), and also The birth and life of an American classic: 'Our Town' from the Pulitzer Prize files. Plus, more about Wilder and his works at thorntonwilder.com. And download a timeline of his works here.