By Josephine Hinderman
“Welcome, our tropical tour guides will be checking your boarding passes and directing you to your cabins on the S. S. Minnow’s exotic 3 hour tour… We hope to recreate the fun and share the steadfast spirit that united the castaways on that little island.”
These are some of the director’s notes for Gilligan’s Island: the Musical that will be put on by Evergreen Theater starting Sept. 22.
Based on the classic 1964 sitcom of the same name, this production revitalizes the television show into a lively, interactive, immersive and familiar musical for those that grew up with or are fans of the Gilligan’s Island program.
Gene Guenther, director of Evergreen Theater’s production of Gilligan’s Island: the Musical, said, “I was 9 years old and in third grade when my parents and siblings would anxiously gather around our black-and-white TV to watch the weekly installment of Gilligan’s Island.”
This is a memory that can seemingly be shared throughout many households in the Green Bay area and led Gilligan’s Island: the Musical to become a performance of beloved nostalgia.
“I will talk to people around town and they’ve at least heard of it,” Guenther said. “It appeals to memories and nostalgia for those who have watched it and grew up with it. Because of that I thought it was a great choice for Evergreen! It was something we’ve been enjoying doing in rehearsals. The music is catchy, and it engages with the audience… It’s something that we thought would be fun and would appeal well to an older demographic… [With younger people], there’s an age of innocence. We also want this performance to be educational and entertaining to younger people because we’re going back to the 1960s with patriotism and how people interacted with one another and the attitudes of the time.”
Geunther said the musical will be immersive, with guests being greeted by tropical tour guides and being treated as though they’re fellow guests on the fateful U.S.S. Minnow, and are shipwrecked alongside the musical’s main characters and are involved with trying to get off of the island.
“We do what’s called ‘ breaking the fourth the wall,’” he said, the fourth wall being a common theater definition, referencing an imaginary wall that separates audience from performers; interacting with the audience directly breaks this metaphorical wall, “and talk directly to the audience, as though they’re on the island and trying to get off with the main cast. We want the audience to be as engaged as possible and be a part of the performance.”
In his director’s notes, Geunther declares, “We start the fun tonight by inviting our 3 hour tour audience to sing along with the opening number. So please join our fun cast, crew and the rest, that I am most thankful for, with those well known lyrics: ‘Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…’”
Tickets will cost $25, and performances will be Sept. 22, 23. 28, 29 and 30 at 7 p.m., and also Sept. 24 and Oct. 1 at 2 p.m., and will take place at St. Norbert’s Hall of Fine Arts – Webb Theatre at its 315 Third St. location in De Pere.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit evergreentheater.org.