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Monday, January 18, 2010

The Big Read Continues!

Just got this press release from the Peninsula Players

January 15, 2010 920 868 3841 or 920 370 1034

The Big Read Continues

Keynote Address Among Week’s Highlights

January 15, 2010—Fish Creek, WI— Door County’s popular Big Read program welcomes keynote address speaker, Dr. Susan Maher, to Crossroads at Big Creek on Friday, Jan 22 at 7:00 p.m. Maher, chair of the University of Nebraska English Department and Willa Cather scholar, will discuss the powerful connection people have to the lands that surround them, particularly as reflected in the 2010 Big Read selection, "My Ántonia." Dr. Maher currently serves as vice president on the executive board of the Willa Cather Foundation and has published widely on the literature of the American and Canadian West. She is currently working on a book-length study of Plains nonfiction writers entitled Deep Maps: A Literary Cartography of the Great Plains.

Dr. Maher’s address, “Landscape as Home Place in Willa Cather’s ‘My Antonia’” is being sponsored by the Door County Land Trust, the White Lace Inn and Crossroads at Big Creek. Laurel Hauser, development director for the Door County Land Trust, explains that the land preservation community has strong ties to the artistic community in Door County. “We often hear from and work with writers and artists who find inspiration from Door County’s landscapes and open spaces. The bluffs and orchards and old fields are what make Door County unique and we’re thrilled to have this opportunity to explore how a region’s landscapes can inform its literature.”

The Big Read Door County kicked off its third year with a crowd of 156 people at the Door Community Auditorium enjoying the preview activities Jan 11. The evening included an enthusiastically received speech by Dr Estella Lauter on the major themes of the book and the appeal it holds for a variety of readers, a lively collection of teens and adults learning traditional American folk dance with the Door County Folk Alliance, and the unveiling of a historical rendering of Willa Cather that will be sold through silent auction to raise funds for next year’s Big Read. The second rendering, of Ántonia model Anna Pavelka, will be unveiled at Crossroads at the keynote address.

Other events included the opening of “Barbara’s Farm,” an exhibit of Daniel Anderson’s rural landscape photography at the Miller Art Museum running through March 2 and a professionally staged reading by Peninsula Players company members Sean and Linda Fortunato of Stephen J Miller’s stage adaptation of “My Ántonia” directed by Joe Foust at Birch Creek’s Juniper Hall on Monday.

Events celebrating and exploring Willa Cather’s “My Ántonia” continue through February 10. Third Avenue Playhouse will screen the 1995 USA Network film version of “My Ántonia” Saturday Jan 23. The film stars Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Robards, Eva St Marie and Elina Löwensohn.

The full range of book discussions, family activities and other events can be found at or The Big Read Door County is produced by Peninsula Players in partnership with Door County Library and in collaboration with dozens of community organizations and schools throughout the county.

Funding for The Big Read is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Friends of Door County Libraries and Door County Community Foundation’s Arts Fund. The NEA also provides reader’s guides and audio guides, available at each Door County Library branch, as well as providing teacher’s guides to each Door County school district.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest. For more information about The Big Read visit

Peninsula Players is America’s oldest professional resident summer theater and is unique in the country for its diverse productions, continuing loyalty to a resident company, and its beautiful setting of 16 wooded acres along the cedar-lined shores of Green Bay. In the past 73 years, the theater has become a Door County landmark and its cornerstone arts institution, attracting audience members from throughout Wisconsin and across the country.
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts—both new and established—bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities and military bases. For more information, visit
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. For more information, visit
Arts Midwest connects people throughout the Midwest and the world to meaningful arts opportunities, sharing creativity, knowledge, and understanding across boundaries. Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 25 years. For more information, visit


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