Column: Ripon ushers in summer with 20 years of community theater

PERFORMERS IN THIS year’s summer play include, from left, Tyler Sturzl, Bryan Gerretsen, Maic D’Agostino, Sophie Widman, John Ingemann and Megan Gannon. submitted photo

THEATER PROFESSOR Ken Hill recalls how, in 1995, the late Doug Lyke paid him a visit, along with a few members of Ripon Noon Kiwanis.

“[They] said, ‘We should have a summer theater; we should have a community theater. Don’t you think we should have one?’ I said, ‘Sure,’” Ken recalls. “‘Would you like to do that?’ And I went, ‘uh, OK.’”

And that’s how a tradition was born.

Twenty years later, the Ripon Summer Players continues to go strong.

Featuring a cast that’s part veteran and part rookie, it will perform “A Ripon Midsummer Night’s Dream” Friday through Sunday at the Benstead Theatre in Ripon College’s C.J. Rodman Center for the Arts.

Curtain rises Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., followed by a matinee Sunday at 2 p.m.

Their performance will offer a hyper-local take on an old Shakespeare favorite.

“It will be fun,” Ken said.

That’s what it’s always been about for the Ripon Summer Players.

Year after year, cast and community keep coming back, with one feeding energy off the other.

And it’s still fun, even as the troupe prepares for Season No. 20. ...

To read the entire column, including how and why your friends and neighbors have become thespians, see the June 2, 2016 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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