HARTLAND'S HOME FOR THEATRE.
Lake Country Playhouse (LCP) and it's dedicated group of volunteers known as the Lake Country Players have been providing entertainment to audiences for over 58 years, presenting dramas, comedies, and musicals (over 100 at last count!) in a variety of locations around the Lake Country of Waukesha County.
In early spring of 1959 an article appeared in the Lake Country Reporter asking that any area people interested in forming a community theater group meet at Arrowhead High School. Marvin Solomon, an AHS English teacher, initiated the article. About 40 people responded and got busy at once to produce a play. They elected officers, set up a play reading committee and by-laws committee. Within a few weeks tryouts were held, and in June 1959 LCP presented its debut production,Sabrina Fair, for 2 performances. Solomon directed this first play, and became the founding President of the organization. By the end of the year, the Lake Country Players were incorporated as a non-profit arts group, and were off and running!
During the first five years, LCP performed all productions at Arrowhead High School’s South Campus gymnasium. Increased school enrollment made stage availability difficult, so LCP began a four-year residence in the second floor of the old Hartland Community Hall. A tent ceiling was created to improve acoustics, and some memorable shows were done, including a production of Deadwood Dick where the hall was converted into a Saloon, with actors mingling among the spectators.
The second floor of the Community Hall was condemned in 1967, so LCP became an itinerant troupe, performing in a variety of locations over the next four years, including the Swallow and Merton Schools, Lakeside Country Club, and Oconomowoc High School. In 1971, LCP returned to Arrowhead High School, which had constructed the Little Theatre on its North campus. This became the artistic home for LCP over the next 3 decades.
LCP's association with Arrowhead High School has been long and fruitful, but there was a long-standing dream to eventually acquire a home of its own. This dream became a reality in 2002 with the acquisition of the Masonic Lodge building at 221 E. Capitol Dr. in Hartland. After extensive renovations, the Lake Country Playhouse was unveiled with a series of events including a revival of the spring production of the Kander and Ebb revue And the World Goes ‘Round.
Since moving to the new home, LCP has expanded its offering of productions. Before 2002, LCP had traditionally done 2 shows per season, with a straight play in the fall and a musical in the spring. SInce 2002, LCP has gradually expanded the slate, and starting with the 2006-07 season, LCP has been presenting 8 shows per season.
LCP celebrated its 50th season in 2009-2010, highlighted by a staging of Sabrina Fair, the show that started it all.
We look forward to another 50 years of providing quality entertainment for our patrons. If you haven’t visited us, we look forward to meeting you! For those who have enjoyed our productions through the years, thank you, and we look forward to welcoming you back!
This history was compiled from articles and reports from Phyllis Agnew, Ruth Behrend, and Barb Christensen. Additional thanks to LCP historian Barb Lancelle for gathering and providing these documents.