William Gillette Biographer Henry Zecher Speaks at Pen Players Tonight
Sherlock Holmes' adventures have been in print since 1887. Arthur Conan Doyle's literary creation has been made into radio dramas, major motion pictures and television dramas. William Gillette was the first playwright/actor to write a play and then star as Sherlock Holmes on stage. William Gillette as a character is making his debut on stage in Peninsula Players' production of Ken Ludwig's "The Game's Afoot," which runs through Sept. 1.
Henry Zecher, William Gillette's biographer, will give a presentation to ticket holders at 6:30 p.m. prior to tonight's August 28 performance of "The Game's Afoot" at The Players. Advance registration is highly appreciated for this event.
Gillette played Holmes more than 1,000 times on stages across the country and worldwide. Gillette's image became an iconic look for Sherlock Holmes, a deerstalker cap and calabash pipe.
In 1899, Gillette adapted "Sherlock Holmes" for Broadway. Many characteristics of the great detective, which we still associate with him, were created by Gillette not Conan Doyle. The London cast included a 12-year-old Charlie Chaplin.
Gillette traveled to Ulster train station to present a script to Doyle. Disguised as Sherlock Holmes and using the character's posture, he approached Doyle slowly and said, "You're the writer, no doubt about it." Conan Doyle approved the script, and the two became life-long friends.
From his major successes Gillette became a wealthy man, and decided to build a Norman-style castle on a hill above the Connecticut River, the setting for Ludwig's comedic whodunit, "The Game's Afoot." Gillette designed the grounds and the castle himself, with 24 rooms and walls that taper from five feet at the base to three feet at the top. After five years of construction the castle was completed in 1919, at a cost of one million dollars. Gillette died in 1937. In 1943, the state of Connecticut took over management of the castle and to this day continues to operate Gillette Castle State Park.
Wednesday, August 28 at 6:30 p.m. the Peninsula Players will host a presentation by Gillette's biographer Henry Zecher. To register for the pre-show presentation please phone The Players Box Office at 920-868-3287.
Peninsula Players performs "The Game's Afoot" Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. with a 4 p.m. matinee September 1. Discount tickets are available for groups of 15 or more. Individual tickets are also available. Individual ticket prices to "The Game's Afoot" range from $34 to $40. There are no performances on Mondays. For more information or to reserve tickets phone the Peninsula Players box office at 920-868-3287 or visit the website at www.peninsulaplayers.com.
Peninsula Players is America's oldest professional resident summer theater and is unique in the country for its diverse productions, continuing loyalty to a resident company, and its beautiful setting of 16 wooded acres along the cedar-lined shores of Green Bay. In the past 78 years, the theater has become a Door County landmark and its cornerstone arts institution, attracting audience members from throughout Wisconsin and across the country. For more information, visit www.peninsulaplayers.com or call (920) 868-3287.