It was a great representation of community theater when the 2022-2023 PW season opened with 3 weekends of hit performances of Mamma Mia! Some comments heard were “great fun,” “I would come again!,” and “I found myself singing along.” 

            Great work to the entire cast, the directors, and the crew (both front of the house and backstage) for a memorable start to the PW’s 90th year.         



            Players Workshop will continue the 2022-2023 season with the Gary Ray Stapp comedy/drama Lost (and Found) in IKEA, which opens at the Workshop on Fri., Dec. 2, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.

            This show asks the question: Can two strangers find love at IKEA?”  The answer: “Possibly—with a playful ghost involved.” 

            Set in a typical IKEA store, it tells the story of Winifred and Lex—both are lonely hearts, but neither is convinced that true love can be found while shopping. Winifred’s brother and Lex’s deceased wife think differently and have decided to play Cupid for their reluctant loved ones.  Unfortunately, their attempt at romance is distracted by mayhem of all sorts, including a homeless man and a shopaholic fighting over an alarm clock; a snarky, married couple playing a convoluted game of hide-and-seek (resulting in somebody “losing a shirt”); and a protest organizer singing The National Anthem.

           The cast for Lost (and Found) in IKEA is as follows:  Monica Maddox plays the recently deceased

Mags, and Kevin Titus plays her husband, for whom she is determined to find a new romance.  Ali Etchison plays Winifred, and Jeffrey Rodriguez is her brother, who is determined that she will find a new soulmate.  

            Chris and Christa Parry play “Dear Wife” and “Dear Husband,” a long-married couple for whom the romance has vanished.  Rosalind Oster plays shopaholic Dot, and Joe Harman is a homeless man living in IKEA’s bedding department. Jayne Gobble portrays the loony Mrs. Peale, and Kevin Gobble is Oz, the wise IKEA security guard.

            Other shoppers are played by Susan Geren, JoJo Munkee, with her son Kellum Johnson, Catherine Hansen with her children Sarah and Seth, and Amanda Teater.

            Lost and Found in IKEA is co-directed by Becky and Ron Teater, with Jean Ballinger serving as assistant director.  Mary Fox produces.

            Performances are set for Dec. 2-4 and 8-11 at the Workshop.  Performances are at 7:30, except for matinees on Dec. 4 and 11, when the curtain goes up at 2:00 p.m.

            Lost (and Found) in IKEA is produced by special arrangement with Heuer Publishing LLC.

            For more information go to the PW Facebook Page or


            Director Scott Teater announces open auditions for the PW production of Sandra Fenichel Asher’s Little Old Ladies in Tennis Shoes on Sun.-Mon., Dec. 11-12, at 6:00 p.m., at the Workshop.

            Parts are available for 6 females in the following age groups:  mid-30’s (1), mid-40’s (1), sixties (3), 70’s (1), and 2 males: boy aged around 11 (1), and man mid-

to-late 30’s (1).  Note from the director: Only if absolutely necessary, the 11-12-year-old boy could possibly be re-worked for a girl.  No special preparations or experience are needed to audition.

            The comedy-drama involves a successful career woman who moves into a suburban neighborhood and, through interactions with a variety of new neighbors, learns the meaning of family.

            The show runs Jan. 27-29 and Feb. 2-5, 2023, and is presented by arrangement with Dramatic Publishing.

                For more information on auditions, contact the director at 319-572-4279; calls and texts are acceptable.  Information is also available on PW’s Facebook page and at



             Local and internationally renowned artist David Garrison has donated one of his original oil paintings, shown above, to Players Workshop for raffle. (For a picture of the painting, see our home page).


The work is  12.25 x 14.25, and proceeds from the raffle will be used to update the Workshop’s exterior signage, enlarging the sign on Grove St. and adding a sign to the West Ave. side of the building.

            Garrison, an internationally recognized pastelist, has shown his work on 3 continents, and his paintings appear in galleries and private collections throughout North America and Europe.  He has earned many prestigious awards, including 1st place in the Hudson Valley Art Association’s annual exhibit in White Plains, NY, and the “Master of Light” and “Master Pastelist” titles by the Societe Pastellistes de France; he is also the only American ever to be awarded the Lead Crystal award for “art excellence” in the exhibition of contemporary artists sponsored by the City of Bueil, France.

            Of his impressionistic style, Garrison says, “If I can give the viewer an impression of the atmosphere, a sense of light and deep shadows, if I can open their eyes to the simple beauty around us, then I have accomplished a great deal.”

Raffle tickets for the painting are $10 each or 3 for $25.  Tickets are being sold during the intermissions of Lost (and Found) in IKEA, or they may be purchased by mailing a check to Players Workshop at Post Office Box 793, Burlington, IA, 52601.  Purchasers should be sure to include name, address, and phone number, when purchasing tickets by mail.

            THE DRAWING FOR THE WINNER WILL BE ON DEC. 11, 2022, DURING THE INTER- MISSION OF THE FINAL PERFORMANCE. The winner does NOT need to be present to win.

            Proceeds from past raffles of artwork allowed PW to replace the roof and survive the pandemic; now Players Workshop is asking for help in updating the exterior of the building, and they are most grateful to Mr. Garrison and his donation, for helping them reach their goal.


            Cobwebs draped the doors and lobby, a giant spider lurked (waiting for its prey), and shrunken heads floated in the “bloody” punch on Oct. 22, when PW members and their guests, in an assortment of costumes ranging from Glinda the Good Witch to a scary pirate to nursery rhyme characters to the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire cat, entered Players Workshop for a spooktacular Halloween party, hosted by PW’s membership committee, something they hope will become an annual tradition.

            Christa and Chris Parry served as the evening’s emcees, and winners of various contests were presented with skeleton goblets.  Costume winners were Mary Fox (scariest), Christa Parry (most beautiful), Sunshine Zioui and Sofia Gilbert (best couple), Jim Beres (most original),

 and Rod Reeves (funniest).  Merry Wiseman won for best spooky snack (Kaitlynn Broeg was runner up).  Game winners were Jadi Zioui (1st bingo), Sunshine Zioui (1st whole card bingo), Jadi Zioui (guess the number of pieces of candy), & Carol Hinkle (witch hat ring toss).

            The committee would like to thank Robbin Poling for providing food and punch, and Steve Poling for serving as photographer.

            The Board of Directors would like to recognize the membership committee who conceived and carried out this successful event:  Merry Wiseman, Jayne Gobble, Carol Hinkle, Rod Reeves, and Brittany Gerst.



             The 90th Celebration/Member and Community Engagement Committee is preparing for Players Workshop’s participation in Downtown Burlington’s annual Living Windows!

            This year’s event, a highlight of Burlington’s Christmas season, will be held on Dec. 8, 2022, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

            Players Workshop will be putting the “lively” into its living window at PGV Accounting (in the old Schramm Building) at the corner of 3rd and Jefferson.  PW will be sending Mrs. Claus, some elves, at least one living toy (maybe more), and a tiny reindeer to join in the fun!

            The committee is still preparing for this event, and anyone who wants to help or participate (and you are certainly welcome), should call or text Merry Wiseman at 319-750-2957.

            See you there!


            PW’s annual Christmas party for its members (and their guests) will be on Sat., Dec. 17, starting at 7:00 p.m., at the home of long-time member Jim Beres (822 N. 4th St.), who has graciously agreed to host the event.

            Please bring what you want to drink (alcohol is permitted at this party), a snack to share, and a gift to exchange (maximum $15 per gift).

            This party is always a “laid-back group of fellow Workshoppers enjoying their camaraderie and the Christmas spirit,” according to Merry Wiseman, chair of the Member and Community Engagement Committee.  And. . . you may even get to meet Santa Claus, so plan to attend for an evening of Christmas fun.

             It’s a wonderful chance for all members, both old and new, to get to know each other better, and, since PW has a lot of new members, this is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Workshop family in a purely social setting.

    Here is your chance to support Players Workshop with a one-time financial gift as a member of PW’s Supporting Cast for 2022-23.  
   There are six donor levels:  
Usher $25-$99    
Stage Crew $100-$249
Supporting Cast $250-$499
Star $500-599
Director $1000-$2499
Producer $2500+

The following have already joined:
Barb Bonnett (George Bonnett Memorial)

John & Judith Gram

Supporting Actor:
H. Eugene & Joy Anderson

Carolyn Dorting
Bonnie Downes
Eva Ann Elmer (in memory of Jim Elmer)
Mary Fox
Jayne & Kevin Gobble

Russ Leuck

Chip & Dana Readinger

Fred & Martha Wetzel
Stage Crew:
Tim & Tonya Binder

Barbabra Drozdz (in memory of Jim Drozdz)

Betty L. Harter
Donna & Jan Logan

Tim Roberts
Marlis Robberts
Earl & Peggy Stott
Olive Sullivan

Bray-Deuitch Family (in memory of Mel Bray)

Lois Close

Russ Fry

Karen Hassel

Marilyn Henderson

Pat Mayle
Lori Moore
Morning Sun Community Volunteers

Harold & Garnett Swanson
Mary Saye

Kathi Waterhouse
Kay Wilson
     Your gift will be acknowledged in each newsletter and play program of 2022-23 and will also be listed on the PW website.
     You may join by filling out the form at the end of this newsletter or the brochure included in your play program; or, for more information, go to the Workshop’s website at




             Many people have joined Players Workshop, meaning they are signing up to be active (volunteer) members; however, they may need some instruction in stagecraft, to make them feel more comfortable in helping with productions, in whatever capacity.

            To that end, at the Nov. 2 meeting of PW’s Board of Directors, 90th Celebration/Member and Community Engagement Committee Chair Merry Wiseman announced that the committee is planning some trainings in stagecraft for the theater; these training sessions will be on one Sat. morning each month, starting in Jan. 2023 and running through May 2023.

            Because that only yields 5 Sat. mornings, the Board determined that the highest priority training should be in set construction, sound and light tech, properties (gathering and making of), make-up and hair, and costuming (coordination and sewing).

            These training sessions will be taught by PW’s own people who are experienced in those areas; they will be from 10:00 a.m. until approximately noon; sessions will start in the lobby with some coffee and lecturing (thus, the name “Coffee and Stagecraft”), and go on to more hands-on instruction.

            The training is open not only to “Active” (volunteer) members, regardless of experience or whether they indicated an interest in the particular area (as all are encouraged to attend to get a broader view of all that goes into production, including, but not limited to, directors, assistant directors, and producers), but also to anyone in the community who would like to attend.

            The specific dates and subject matter will be announced at a later date.


 Because it is so important to have as much experience as possible working at PW’s theater, every person who is doing a job at Players Workshop (stage manager, props, producer, bookholder, light and sound technician, etc.) is encouraged to invite a person interested in working in that aspect of the theater to be an apprentice for the run of the rehearsals/show. 

That way more people can learn from an experienced teacher(s) and might then feel more comfortable volunteering to do the same job later on.  Call it “on the job” training;  people usually learn more from actually doing, than from just being told how to do something.

            The list of Active (volunteer) Members is on the Player Workshop website under “Members Only,” which has all of each person’s interests listed.   Scan down the columns under a particular job and find all of the people who have expressed an interest in that job.  Once a person has apprenticed several times, they may be considered to take on that job in a future production.

            For help getting to the list or with the list, call or text Merry Wiseman at 319-750-2957.



Every organization depends on the work of committees to keep things functioning smoothly—one person alone cannot do it all.  Below is a list of the current Players Workshop committees and their members.


Fundraising: Mary Fox, Chair; Chris Parry, Linda Garwood, Jim Beres, Rod Reeves, Libba Flores

90th Celebration/Member & Community Engagement:

Merry Wiseman, Chair; Carol Hinkle, Jayne Gobble, Rod Reeves, Brittany Gerst

Ticket Sales: Gretchen Lewis, Chair; Robbin Poling, Rod Reeves, Al Fable, Steve Poling, Mary Fox, Jean Ballinger, Merry Wiseman

Marketing:  Kara Ewinger, Chair; Mary Fox, Jayne Gobble, Bonnie Downes, Chris Jackson, Njeri Patric

Play Selection for 2022-2023: Jayne Gobble, Chair; Kevin Gobble, Karen Cahill, Colleen Heibner, Libba Flores

Play Selection for 2023-2024: Jayne Gobble, Chair; Kevin Gobble, Steve Poling, Libba Flores, Scott Teater

Youth Theater: Carole Hinkle, Chair; Duane Hartman, Scott Teater, Kara Ewinger, Al Fabel

House and Grounds: Gene Anderson, Chair; Kent Lewis, Steve Poling, Kevin Gobble, Duane Hartman, Randy Wischmeier, Al Fabel

Archives: Mary Krohlow, Chair; Merry Wiseman, Herb Price, Colleen Heibner, Dave Beckman

Cleaning Committee: Libba Flores, Chair; Gene Anderson, Karla Mundt

Strategic Planning: Mary Fox, Chair; Scott Teater

Covid 19 Response: Kent Lewis, Chair; Gene Anderson, Steve Poling, Rod Reeves, Gretchen Lewis

Theater Handbook: Mary Fox, Chair; Al Fabel, Bill Ell

            Players Workshop thanks these committees for their service.



            After serving on the PW Board of Directors for 22 years, long-time Workshop member Steve Poling, decided to “step away . . . just to take some time for myself;” however, in 2021 he was re-elected, running because he felt he can “still make a difference” and wants to help keep the theater alive and well.

            Born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, he came to Burlington in 1978; he is now retired from the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant. 

            At the Workshop he has acted in  productions over the years, directed shows, and worked in several backstage areas.  He was previously the Workshop treasurer and, over the years, has been a member of several committees; he currently serves on the Ticketing, Play Selection, and House and Grounds Committees.  He says, “Keeping the theater alive and active is what I feel is most important.  To do this, we, as members, must work together, even if we don’t always agree, for the common good and what is best for the theater.”

He has “always enjoyed the people that make up this group and how close a lot of us have become.” Of the future, he would like to see an even stronger social media

presence and feels PW should continue to do short clips for all types of media.

One highlight of PW for Steve was that he has “had the honor of appearing onstage with both of my adult children” and has worked with his wife Robbin on many different productions.

Outside of the theater, Steve enjoys singing with both his church and the Bel Canto Chorale.  He also enjoys playing golf “even if I don’t play the game very well.”

Past Backstage Pass Newsletters