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            Crisp, witty exchanges and constant plot twists pepper Murder by the Book, a mystery-comedy by Duncan Greenwood and Robert King, which opens at Players Workshop in late March.

            Set in London, this light-hearted and inventive thriller unfolds as a mystery writer, looking for a plot idea for his next work, indulges in vitriolic word duels with his estranged wife until she finally snaps and shoots him.  An amateur detective from next door attempts to solve the murder before the police are called, but more deadly games are in store when “the corpse arises and the tables are turned more than once for the victim and the killers.”

            Director Kent Lewis has announced the following cast for Murder by the Book:  Allan Allsup of Mt. Pleasant portrays novelist Selwyn Piper; Hadley Fleener plays Christine Scott, Selwyn’s secretary; Joanne Arms plays Imogen Piper, Selwyn’s estranged wife; Joseph Harmon of Ft. Madison takes the part of Peter Fletcher, Selwyn’s neighbor and would-be detective; and James Beres is John Douglas, Selyn’s publisher.

            Assistant director is Njeri Patric, and Bill Ell will produce.

            The play will be at the Workshop on March 24-26, 30-31, and April 1-2, 2023.  All shows begin at 7:30 p.m., with the exception of the two Sunday matinees on March 26 and April 2, when the performances will be at 2:00 p.m.

            Murder by the Book is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Publishing.

            For more information, call the Workshop at 319-753-6623, check out the Workshop’s Facebook page, or go to





            Players Workshop will hold open auditions on Sun., April 2 and Mon., April 3, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. at the Workshop for Ripcord, a comedy by David Lindsay-Abaire, which will be presented in readers theater format.

            According to director Jayne Gobble, readers theater means “minimal set and costumes, and scripts can be used openly during performances.”

            The cast calls for two women, ages 50-80, plus three men and one woman, ages 30-45.

Ripcord tells the story of two older women, one cantankerous and one chipper, who are forced to share a room in a senior living facility, where a seemingly harmless bet between the two quickly escalates into a dangerous game of one-upmanship.

Ripcord will run April 28-30, and May 4-7, 2023, at the Workshop, and will close PW’s regular 2022-2023 season. The play is presented by arrangement with Dramatic Publishing.

For more information contact the director at 319-470-3720, go to, or check the PW Facebook page.


    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


Catherine Hansen (in memory of Mary Peacock)

Lillian Rubin


Supporting Actor:
H. Eugene & Joy Anderson

Dr. Anil Dhuna & Sandhna Jani

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

Wayne & Colleen Heibner

Judy Johson

Donald Kellar

Russ Leuck

Chip & Dana Readinger

Fred & Martha Wetzel

Stage Crew:
Sandra Allgood

Tim & Tonya Binder

Dan & Kathy Cahill

Madi Case

Vicki & Dick Dillion

Barbabra Drozdz (in memory of Jim Drozdz)

Robert Hanines

Thomas Hansen

Betty L. Harter

Alice Hillyer

Kela Lehman
Donna & Jan Logan

Barbara McRoberts (in memory of Susan Diehl)

Milton & Laurine Paule

Tim Roberts
Marlis Robberts

Kathy & John Schneider
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

Mary Saye

Nancy St Clair

Harold & Garnett Swanson

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


            Mark your calendars now for the Players Workshop Young Actors Production of

by Todd Wallinger

            Auditions will be held this spring, and the directors are looking for actors in 5th—8th grades, so watch Facebook and the next issue of The Backstage Pass for more information on dates/times of auditions.

            The Enchanted Bookshop will be presented on June 22-24, 2023, at the Workshop. (presented by arrangement with Pioneer Drama Service.)



            Players Workshop continues its series of free, monthly training sessions on stagecraft in 2023, at the Workshop, 1431 Grove St. 

            Anyone, whether a member of PW or not, is welcome to attend and learn what it takes to put together a successful stage production.

            Come to the Workshop on Sat., March 11, and learn how actors turn into specific characters on stage with the addition of appropriate make-up and hairstyling,

as long-time PW member (and make-up artist) Libba Flores presents “Make-up and Hair—From Conception to Stage.” Learn the “hows” and “whys” make-up is so important on stage and how the correct hairstyle can be used to enhance an actor’s portrayal of the character. 

             Return to the Workshop on Sat., April 15, and enter the world of the “propmaster.”  Responsibility for props, items used on stage to both enhance an actor’s ability to tell the story and to make the setting more realistic, is a much harder job than it first appears to be, as attendees will learn from Robbin Poling and Marlene Holstein as they present “Props (Gathering and Management).”

            The final workshop in the series occurs on Sat., May 20, as Steve Poling and Matt Poling introduce you to “Light and Sound Design and Tech--From Conception to Stage.”   Good lighting and sound can make the stage setting more attractive, thus making the audience’s experience more enjoyable; however, it can also be a vital aspect of  revealing plot and character.

            The workshops have been well-received so far, for which PW is most grateful, and the remaining ones will be just as enjoyable as attendees continue to learn the art of stagecraft.

                Text/call Merry Wiseman at 319-750-2957, for more information.



            Did you know that you can reduce your taxes by making a gift from your IRA to charity?

The IRA charitable rollover permits individuals who are 70-1/2 to roll over up to $100,000 from their IRA to a charitable organization, such as Players Workshop, free from federal income tax. An IRA rollover gift may also qualify as your required minimum distribution (RMD).

            Making a gift to Players Workshop in your will is another way you can ensure that generations to come can enjoy live theater in our community. This may be easily included in your will when it is written, or it may be added through a simple codicil or amendment.

            Naming Players Workshop as a beneficiary on a retirement account or life insurance policy that is no longer needed for your family is a simple way to provide for PW’s future without writing or re-writing your will or living trust.

            Be sure to consult your legal or financial advisor to determine which of these ways of giving would work best for you.

            Thank you for considering Players Workshop when planning future gifts. Please notify us if you include us in your future planning, so that we may properly thank you and acknowledge your generosity.  Players Workshop is a 501(c)3 charitable organization.


     From Member & Community Engagement Comm.

     Because it is important to have as much experience as possible working at the theater, every person who is doing a job at PW--stage manager, props, producer, light/sound tech., etc.—is encouraged to invite a person interested in working in that aspect of theater to be their apprentice for the run of the rehearsals/show.  Once a person has apprenticed several times, the person may be considered to take on that job in a future production.

     Also, if you are volunteering at the theater in some capacity and have not become an “official” member, you can still join PW as a dues-paying member for the 2022-2023 season, by paying your $20 dues and reaping extra benefits.

     For information on how to do either of these things, text/call Merry Wiseman 319-750-2957.

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