News Letter

"The Backstage Pass"




            The magic of theatre was on stage for all to see as the cast of Aladdin JR sparkled through 3 audience-packed performances at the Workshop the last weekend in June.  Their energy and enthusiasm was contagious, and anyone who did not see that show missed a real treat!  Kudos to PW’s YAP, the cast and crew, for a job exceedingly well done.


Season tickets for 2022-23 are going on sale, and, since this is the Workshop’s 90th year, PW will be celebrating by presenting 5 main stage shows, instead of their usual 4, but for the same cost! (Normally, a season ticket holder gets 4 shows for the price of 3.)   Another perk of being a season ticket holder is that, if you miss a show, you can use that unused stub to bring someone with you to a later show! 

     Below is the schedule of shows and a little bit of information about each:

     Mamma Mia!, a musical comedy set on a Greek island, is about free spirit Donna and her daughter Sophie, as told through the songs of pop group ABBA, as Sophie prepares for her upcoming wedding.  When Sophie becomes determined to discover the identity of her father, so he can “walk her down the aisle,” Donna becomes determined to keep her past “in the past.” Music & lyrics are by Bjorn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson, and book is by Catherine Johnson. The show will run Sept. 23-25, Sept 30-Oct. 2, & Oct. 6-9, 2022. (Presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).  All

authorized performances materials are also supplied by MTI.)

     Lost (and Found) in IKEA, a comedy drama by Gary Ray Stapp, asks “Can two strangers find love at

IKEA?” Two lonely people answer that question with the help of a couple of playful ghosts, various episodes of mayhem caused by IKEA shoppers, and a wise security guard. Dates for the show are Dec. 2-4 & 8-11, 2022. (Presented through arrangements with Heuer Publishing.)

     Sandra Fenichel Asher’s Little Old Ladies in Tennis Shoes is a comedy drama, in which a woman who thinks her life is finally “in order”—lucrative job, no

strings-attached man, new home in the suburbs—is forced to re-think her choices when confronted with quirky new neighbors.  The show runs Jan. 27-29 and Feb. 2-5, 2023. (Presented by arrangement with Dramatic Publishing.)

     Murder by the Book, a mystery/thriller by Duncan Greenwood & Robert King, will be presented March 24-26, 30-31, April 1-2, 2023. A thriller writer indulges in nasty word duels with his estranged wife until she shoots him—but is he really dead? An amateur detective attempts to solve the murder, leading to macabre twists and turns for both victim and killers. (Presented by arrangement with Concord Publishing.)

     Closing the season is David Lindsay-Abaire’s comedy Ripcord, to be presented as Reader’s Theater. Set in a senior living facility, cantankerous Abby, who lives in “prime real estate” in a sunny room, is forced to share her quarters with a consistently chipper, new-arrival Marilyn, whom Abby determines to get rid of by any means necessary! It runs April 28-30, & May 4-7, 2023. (Presented by arrangement with Dramatic Publishing.)

     The annual mailing of season tickets will be the first week in August.  Season tickets are mailed to anyone who has had season tickets in either, or both, of the last 2 years and to anyone who has requested that they be a recipient of the mailing.  They are the usual price of  $45 for adults and $30 for students (through high school). When you receive them, just follow the directions, included in the mailing, on how to pay.

 If you have not been a season ticket holder and wish become one, contact Jean Ballinger (319-759-3617 or or Merry Wiseman (319-750-2957 or, to purchase yours today.  (Online sales will open up after the season tickets have been mailed out.) Season tickets are always a great value, but 2022-2023 is really a super bargain.


     Players Workshop invites you to help kick off its 90th Year Celebration with their open house at the Workshop, 1431 Grove St., Burlington, on Sunday, August 14, 2022, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Everyone is invited, and it’s FREE!  It doesn’t matter whether you want to actively participate in live theater, on or off stage, or if you just want to sit in the auditorium and enjoy it.

     From skits to short presentations on preparing for and being part of a performance, to taking a backstage tour, to sharing birthday cake in the lobby, let PW entertain you!

     Once you have completed your tour, you will be eligible to register for prizes:

1st  Prize: Two (2) 2022-2023 season tickets, $50 gift certificate to The Drake Restaurant (donated by The Drake Restaurant), and preferential seating for Mamma Mia! (the first show of 2022-23)

2nd  Prize: Two (2) 2022-2023 season tickets

3rd  Prize: Two (2) tickets to Mamma Mia! with the right to call in and reserve seats before tickets go on sale online (usually reserved for season ticket holders)

     Note:  While you need to be present to register, you do not need to be present to win. (People who have been paid, active members in either, or both, of the last 2 years, their significant others, and minor children are NOT eligible to register for prizes.)

     The Players Workshop will also have an informational space at the Jefferson Street Farmers Market in Burlington on July 28, Aug. 4, Aug. 25, and Sept. 1 (with season tickets on sale on the last 2 dates)---

stop by and say “hello;” we would love to see you.


     For those of you who volunteer or would be interested in doing so at Players Workshop by acting, directing, being part of the back stage action, working on the reservation line, ushering, working on clean-up days, or doing any of the dozens of other tasks necessary to operate a live theater,--or if you simply want to support live theater--why not become an active member (or continue to be one), by paying your annual $20 active membership fee?  Active membership fees are now due for the 2022-2023 season.

Here’s how to become a PW member: For more information and to fill out your “I am willing to help with. . . .” list, just go to the Workshop’s website,, click on “About,” and then click on “Get Involved.”  There is a link in the text to PW’s membership brochure which explains it all.  Also, you can sign up and pay your dues at the 90th Year Celebration Open House at on August 14.

     PW looks forward to welcoming you into the Workshop family.



     Players Workshop opens its new season with the popular musical comedy Mamma Mia! by Bjorn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson (music/lyrics) and Catherine Johnson (book), on Sept. 23, 2022.

As previously announced, auditions are July 31-Aug. 2 at 7:00 p.m.; contact the director (319-750-0334 or, or the producer (319-750-1724 or at, with questions.

     Featuring the music of ABBA, Mamma Mia! will be directed by Matt Poling, assisted by Kent Lewis, with musical direction by Scott Teater and choreography by Bobbi Huebner. Robbin Poling will produce.

     The story of the young girl searching for her biological father so he can “walk her down the aisle” has been wildly popular on both stage and screen, and this big budget musical is just the thing to get the Workshop off to a great 90th year start.

     Complete cast list and details will appear in the Sept. issue of The Backstage Pass, and you won’t want to miss PW’s production, so save that date!

     Mamma Mia! is presented through special arrangement with and all authorized materials are supplied by Music Theater International, New York, NY, 212-541-4684


     People were lined up, waiting to get into PW’s annual garage sale, when the doors opened at 8:00 a.m. on Sat., July 9, at the Workshop.

     According to co-chair Libba Flores, the day was “a major success,” and the committee is grateful for all the items contributed and the patrons who bought them.  Total Sales: Almost $1800!

     If you do not wish to receive this newsletter, contact Gretchen Lewis (753-0470 or to have your name removed from the mailing list.

(Prefer an email version? Contact, to have the newsletter converted to electronic format.)

     Thanks to co-chairs Libba Flores and Mary Fox, an extra big “thank you” to Bill Ell and Eric Smith who came to help, for all of their hard work, and to the community; stated co-chair Fox, “Our success depends on this great community support.”


PW extends thanks to Julie Stafford who added a donation when purchasing her tickets for Aladdin JR.



     Players Workshop’s newest standing committee, established last season, is the Lobby Committee.  They have the official responsibility for organizing and coordinating a number of what are called “house” activities that were previously managed by a variety of different people.

     The committee was the brainchild of past Pres. Mary Fox, who felt that “It is extremely important that Players Workshop maintain a safe, clean, and welcoming atmosphere in our lobby as this room is essentially the introduction to our theater and may impact our patron’s first impression.”

     She approached Karla Mundt about taking on the role of chairperson.  Karla acquiesced, and her committee for 2022-2023 is composed of Linda Garwood, Marlene Holsteen, and Robbin Poling, but they depend on many PW volunteers for help with each show. These workers are readily recognizable by their bright red aprons with the PW logo.

     Among their many responsibilities are recruiting show ushers; finding willing people to man the concession stand for each show; making sure the concession stand and  restrooms have plenty of supplies before each show; decorating the lobby prior to each show and making sure lobby tables are arranged for optimal patron use; creating the ”show wall” which contains photos of cast members of that particular play; making sure the lobby video monitor is up and running before the lobby doors open for each show; and making sure the lobby and concession areas are cleaned up and everything is turned off after the final intermission. 

     There is a lot of work involved with this committee, and PW thanks those who have taken on this task of presenting a welcoming face to the theatrical public.



     As Covid-19 dangers have decreased significantly from where they were during the last theatrical season, the PW Board of Directors has amended the Covid-19 Response Policy.

     The following changes will impact the patrons: the lobby doors will open 45 minutes (formerly 30 minutes) prior to the play’s start, in order to avoid overcrowding in the lobby;  patrons may decide for themselves whether or not they wear masks; touchless hand sanitizers on stands will be located by the ticket booth and by each door to the auditorium; the lobby water fountains will now be in service; and the concession stand will again be open before the show and during intermissions, offering concessions in exchange for free will  donations. All lobby workers may decide for themselves whether or not they wish to be masked.

     In the auditorium, social distancing is now voluntary for vaccinated individuals, and all hard surfaces (such as armrests) will be wiped down after each performance with CDC approved disinfectant.

     These changes will remain in effect whenever the CDC certifies on their website that Des Moines County is classified as low risk. 

     PW’s Board of Directors again thanks the patrons for their cooperation as they continue to navigate this health phenomena.

Past Backstage Pass Newsletters