June 22 through August 21
The Happy Prince: A Radio Play
Door Shakespeare is pleased to announce their annual youth production, The Happy Prince: A Radio Play, by Andrew J. Fenady and Duke Fenady, based on the story by Oscar Wilde. The production will be presented in the Kane Theater at Third Avenue PlayWorks on Friday, December 17, at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, December 18, at 2:00 p.m. Amy Ensign directs the play that features Southern Door High School Senior Dalena Pakalske, Southern Door Freshman Molly Hall, and Sturgeon Bay Senior Scout Feldman.
Building on the strong foundation of Camp Will, their summer theatre program, Door Shakespeare is expanding to create year-round opportunities for Door County students. The Happy Prince: A Radio Play follows 2019’s Something’s Rotten in the State of Denmark and joins their education program Shakespeare in the Schools, which is designed to help students understand the process of bringing Shakespeare’s words from the page to the stage.
Initially published in a collection of children’s stories by Oscar Wilde in 1844, The Happy Prince saw its first radio dramatization in 1936, by the Columbia Workshop. Second and third radio versions followed. The first featured Orson Welles for The Mercury Theatre in 1941 and the second was a Philco Radio Hall of Fame program with Welles and Bing Crosby reading The Happy Prince on December 24, 1944.
The story revolves around a statue of a prince who looks over the once shining city that he ruled. The struggling residents no longer remember the prince or believe in each other or themselves. When a migrating swallow perches on the statue, the prince comes alive. The bird and the prince talk about the weather, the world, and the town below. They soon see how they can help and together hatch a plan to improve the lives of the townspeople.
The pair gives everything to help others. Their altruistic story has led to additional references over the years, including the Bee Gees song, “When Swallows Fly,” the rock opera by the New Zealand rock band the La De Das, and the Oscar Wilde biopic that featured Rupert Everett (who also wrote and directed the film).
This production of The Happy Prince returns to the early roots of the story and presents the tale through a staged radio play. The father–son writing team of A. J. and Duke Fenady construct the backstage happenings of a radio broadcast. Actors arrive on set, welcome each other, and do sound checks before they launch into the broadcast. Live sound effects punctuate the story throughout.
“It’s a very exciting time of year for Door Shakespeare and for the arts in Door County,” shares Producing Artistic Director, Michael Stebbins, “we are thrilled to be adding Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince to the holiday mix.”
Amy Ensign directs a tight-knit cast made up of student actors. “We have worked together so frequently over the past ten years, that we began the project already having a strong ensemble feel,” Ensign relates. “It is great to enter the rehearsal process having already built trust with each other and a deep respect for the production process.”
Dalena Pakalske just completed a tour-de-force performance as the narrator in Southern Door’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Molly Hall has worked many times with Ensign including on the TAP StageKids productions of The Littlest Angel, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and Ken Lugwig’s Twas the Night Before Christmas. Sturgeon Bay Senior Scout Feldman returns to Door Shakespeare after playing Hamlet in 2019’s Something’s Rotten in the State of Denmark.
Amy Ensign began her career with Door Shakespeare fourteen years ago as part of the Acting Company (Elmire in Tartuffe, Ceres in The Tempest). Last seen as Mistress Page in 2019’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, other Door Shakespeare credits include Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Julia in The Rivals, Jane in Pride and Prejudice, and Rosalind in As You Like It (among others). A Door County-based-actor, director, and theatre educator, Amy has performed with Third Avenue PlayWorks, Northern Sky Theater, Teatro Caravaggio, and The Peninsula Players; and directed youth theatre programs for Third Avenue PlayWorks, Sevastopol School, and Door Shakespeare.
Door Shakespeare was founded in 1995 under the umbrella of the then-named American Folklore Theatre. Since becoming its own nonprofit in 1999, the organization has produced 44 productions in the Garden of Björklunden’s 405-acre estate in Baileys Harbor.
While The Happy Prince: A Radio Play is free and open to the public, donations are encouraged and much appreciated. General Admission seating begins one half hour prior to each performance. Masks and proof of vaccination (or a negative COVID test within the last 72 hours) are required.
For more information about Door Shakespeare, The Happy Prince: A Radio Play, and Holidays on Ice, visit www.doorshakespeare.com, write email@example.com, or call 920.854.7111.