News Letter

"The Backstage Pass"


Live productions will resume at Players Workshop on Oct. 1, 2021, with the opening of the 2021-2022 season!

The 2021-2022 season will be as follows:

A Fox on the Fairway

Farce by Ken Ludwig

Oct. 1-3 and 7-10, 2021

Director Carol Hinkle


The Outsider

Political Satire by Paul Slade Smith

Dec. 3-5 and 9-12, 2021

Director Libba Flores



Dramatic Comedy by Sam Bobrick

Feb. 18-20 and 24-27, 2022

Director Mary Fox


The Kitchen Witches

Comedy by Caroline Smith

Apr. 22-24 and April 28—May 1, 2022

Director Ron Teater

            Ken Ludwig’s A Fox on the Fairway, Sam Bobrick’s Passengers, and Caroline Smith’s The Kitchen Witches are all presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc., and Paul Slade Smith’s The Outsider is produced by arrangement with Playscripts, Inc.

Season tickets are expected to go out in the mail the first week of August.  If you wish to receive season ticket information (and are not already a season subscriber), contact Mary Krohlow at 319-752-8501 or



Players Workshop’s annual general membership meeting was held on Wed., May 26, 2021.

The by-laws were changed to allow for attendance and voting via internet, for both the general membership and board of directors’ meetings, when circumstances warrant it.


The membership voted by acclamation to re-elect Mary Fox to a fourth, one-year, term as president of Players Workshop.

The 5 individuals elected to the board of directors were Gene Anderson, Brittany Gerst, Christopher Jackson, Steve Poling, and Randy Wischmeier. Each will serve a 3-year term. While Anderson, Jackson, and Wischmeier are incumbents, Gerst is a newcomer, and Poling is a former member of the board. Congratulations to all!

Pres. Fox thanked outgoing board members Al Fabel and Rod Reeves for their service to the board; both chose not to run again.



          Open auditions for the first show of the 2021-22 season, Ken Ludwig’s hilarious farce A Fox on the Fairway, will be held Aug. 15-16, 2021, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. (please note this is different from the usual audition times), in the Players Workshop Auditorium, 1431 Grove St.

             Filled with mistaken identities, slamming doors, and over-the-top romantic shenanigans, A Fox on the Fairway is “a charmingly madcap adventure about love, life and man’s eternal love affair with . . . golf.”   Parts are available for three males (one in the 18-30 year range and two above  50 years) and three woman (one in the 18-30 year range and two above 50 years).

            While no special preparation or stage experience is necessary to audition, actors will be required to work closely together, so Covid vaccinations are strongly encouraged. For more information, contact director Carol Hinkle at 319-850-1394 or

             Ken Ludwig’s A Fox on the Fairway is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.


            Players Workshop video production kept pace with the rapid onset of summer, saluting the various special days of the time.

            June featured a video montage looking back at the work of youth actors in Players Workshop productions throughout the years; it was narrated by Kevin Gobble against a backdrop of pictures provided by Mary Krohlow.  On Flag Day Nikki Critser read A Flag for All to her children, Aurora, Regina, and Carson. Father’s Day received the royal treatment with 6 videos. Jordyn Engel presented the dramatic reading Tears in Daddy’s Eyes. Young actors Luke, Abi, and Kayleigh read What Makes a Dad?  There followed 3 different “Father’s Day Funnies” videos, featuring respectively Duane and Kayleigh Hartman, Chris and Abi Ritter, and Eric and Luke Puryear. Last was a video montage of actors in “father roles” in PW plays throughout the years.

            PW honored July 4th with  Gene Anderson reciting the original Star Spangled Banner, backed by the local color guard. Nikki Critser read Fourth of July Mice, and Steve Poling gave Red Skelton’s explanation of The Pledge of Allegiance.  

            Directors of the videos were Mary Fox, Libba Flores, Carol Hinkle, Mary Krohlow, and Kent Lewis. Video editor on all of the pieces was Jayne Gobble.

            Remaining summer videos will be performances of short, royalty-free plays (part of a collection of plays for kids and teens on Drama Notebook),  presented by PW’s youth theater.

            Jack and the Beanstalk by Ruth Giordano is a radio play of the fairy tale, so sound effects are generated live, using household items and actors’ voices. The actors are Bella Plath, Addison Bleim, Kayleigh Hartman, Simi Khinda, Abigail Ritter, and Shannan Skeens. It is expected to drop at the end of July. Another radio play, Aunt Lottie’s Leftover Café by Donald A. Reason, Jr., is currently being cast and is expected to drop in August.

            Watch for these videos on PW’s Facebook page and YouTube Channel.



        On May 28, 2021, PW Pres. Mary Fox received notification that Players Workshop has been awarded a $1500 grant from the Community Foundation of Des Moines County.  This  money is to be used specifically for PW’s “covid remodel,” meaning it will go to help with unexpected expenses incurred in the Workshop’s safe re-opening for live productions, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. 



               Players Workshop has received the following donations since the last issue of The Backstage Pass: Roxanne Ray Laguna, TX (paypal) and Eva Ann Elmer, Burlington. PW THANKS YOU SO MUCH!



            Susan Diehl, among Players Workshop’s brightest and best, took her final bow Sat., June 26, 2021; she was 73.  She had performed in 21 productions, directed 8 more, served as president and as secretary for several years each, and was frequently producer, stage manager, costumer, etc.

            When Susan came to Burlington in 1983, she joined Peggy Ell and David Adams as Burlington’s “highly regarded” public defenders; in the same year all three were cast in their first PW production, The Shadow Box, and Susan never looked back.

            Susan’s career at PW included a variety of genres, but “those of which she was proudest were also those of most substance—in keeping with her life’s focus on making this community, state, country, and world a better place.”

            It was In the Matter of Ralph in which she was “at the top of her game.”  This historical play recounts the 1839 trial, held in Burlington and presided over by Iowa Territory Supreme Court  Justice Charles Mason, which decided that Ralph could not be forcibly returned to slavery, a verdict which held until the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision reversed it a few years later.

            Susan put her all into this production, which was held in a Burlington Courthouse courtroom; she “marshalled the forces” of the local NAACP, Des Moines Co. Bar Assn., DMC Historical Society, and Burlington Human Rights Comm., to work alongside PW, a massive undertaking, according to letters, schedules, and notes found in the PW archives.  Then, 25 years later, in 2014, she directed a revival of the show, this time at the Capitol theater.

            Many PW members, past and present, have memories of Susan’s smile, her sense of humor, and her enthusiasm for enlightening theatre.  Players Workshop extends its condolences to Howard Mosena, Barbara McRoberts, Jim Beres, and all family members and friends.



It’s that time again.  Bring all your “junque” down to Players Workshop for the upcoming garage sale on Sat., Aug. 14, from 8:00 to 2:00. The $1 bag sale starts at 1:00.

Someone will be at the workshop to accept donations from 5-7 p.m. on, August 9-13, but you can call Libba Flores at 319-750-3533, for another time if those dates do not work for you. Do not bother pricing anything.

*Would the person who donated the wedding dress for the last sale please contact Libba Flores-there was something in the box you might want back.*

These garage sales have been tremendous money-makers for the workshop, thanks to everyone’s generosity.  SEE YOU AT THE SALE!



            Players Workshop’s “Tall Scotsman” is Christopher (Chris) Jackson, who was just re-elected to the PW board of directors for a second term.

            Chris’s hometown is Burlington, but he spent 10 years as a high school band and vocal director in Illinois; in fact, when PW-goers have seen Chris on stage, it has usually been in a musical role.  He returned to SE Iowa to help manage the family trucking company, when his father became ill; however, he says “since the pandemic hit, I decided to take the opportunity to look at a potential career shift,” and began taking ABA approved courses, working toward a legal assistantship.

             Previously on PW’s production committee, Chris is now chair of the nominating committee. He acknowledges that, while the pandemic “has darkened our performance stage for live audiences,” he praises the board for “rethinking the possibilities of how to not only survive, but to flourish and expand within these adverse conditions.”

            Chris has faced his own adverse conditions, battling cancer, but is “thankful that it was discovered when it was and that I’m able to keep it managed for now . . . .”

            In addition to his other responsibilities, Chris keeps occupied in managing a property for a friend who is currently out of state, and, since the yard was designed by a master gardener, the landscaping and upkeep is time-consuming.

            As for PW, he is looking forward to when “we’ll once again be joining together in a live performance setting for the 1st time in over 19 months.”



            The pandemic gave the archive committee the chance to gather all PW scripts, anthologies, and  theatre books in one central space, resulting in  a fully shelved and catalogued theatre library.

            Kara Ewinger, committee member and librarian , has everything ready for you to check out materials. The library is located backstage in the makeup/dressing room area. Catalogs are in a binder in the makeup area on the counter nearest the shelving.  Checkout sheets are on a clipboard next to the catalog binder.

            However, the following titles are missing:

The Floating Lightbulb, Woody Allen

Woman in Mind, Alan Ayckbourn

All That Fall/Embers by Samuel Beckett

I Love You, Your Perfect, Now Change, Joe DiPietro

Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, C. Durang

A Flea in Her Ear, George Feydeau

Pippin, Roger Hirson

Impressionism, Michael Jacobs

The Giver, Lois Lowry

The Anglophile by Ean O’Neill

The Birthday Party, Harold Pinter

Girls Only, Eric Smith

            Please contact Mary Krohlow (319-752-8501 or if you have any of these scripts or know where they can be found.

Past Backstage Pass Newsletters