The cast of “An Ideal Husband” pose for a photo during a rehearsal on May 19, 2019, at Pier One Theatre in Homer, Alaska. (Photo provided)

The cast of “An Ideal Husband” pose for a photo during a rehearsal on May 19, 2019, at Pier One Theatre in Homer, Alaska. (Photo provided)

Pier One season opens with Wilde play

First performed in 1893, ‘An Ideal Husband’ takes place at a London dinner party.

Along with king salmon fishing, the opening of shops on the Spit and school ending, add another sure sign of the start of summer: the first Pier One Theatre play of the season.

On Friday, Homer’s little red theater on the Spit features this year’s opening show, Oscar Wilde’s “An Ideal Husband.” The show continues Saturday and Sunday and May 30, 31 and June 1. Pier One has done several productions of Wilde’s well known “The Importance of Being Earnest,” but Pier One artistic director Jennifer Norton said she wanted to do a Wilde play equally witty but more serious.

“This one is a little bit more political,” she said. “It’s about a politician who has skeletons in his closet. He’s been mostly blame free throughout his political career. He did this one foolish thing in his younger days that’s coming back to haunt him.”

First performed in 1893, “An Ideal Husband” takes place at a London dinner party. It concerns Sir Robert Chiltern, a member of the House of Commons, played by Mike Tupper; his wife, Lady Chiltern, played by Adele Person; Sir Robert’s bachelor friend, Lord Arthur Goring, played by Connor Schmidt, and an unwelcome guest, Mrs. Chevely, the ex-fiance of Lord Goring, played by Alison Rambo.

Mrs. Chevely knows a dreadful secret about Sir Robert and how he earned his wealth. She blackmails him into supporting a fraudulent scheme. Meanwhile, Lady Chevely also seeks to win back Lord Goring’s affection.

“It’s about redemption, our imperfections, the folly of youth, the standards our political figures should be held to,” Norton said.

“An Ideal Husband” also presents several new actors to Pier One. Some have previously had small, nonspeaking roles, while for others this marks their Homer stage debut. One actor, Emily Munns, who plays Miss Mabel Chiltern, returns to Pier One 11 years after attending its summer Youth Theatre Camp. The play also features seasoned Pier One actors such as Peter Norton — Jennifer Norton’s father — and Brian Duffy. Laura Norton, Jennifer’s mother, directs the play, and Rachel Friedlander is the assistant director.

Along with “An Ideal Husband,” the first plays of the season are classic plays: Peter Clapham’s “Little Women,” showing in early June, and William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” While Pier One has had several Broadway musicals over the years, this year’s musical production is the Shakespeare, with songs of the era arranged and compiled by Susan Biggs. A small orchestra performs.

“It’s a musical; it’s just a small musical,” Norton said.

The second half of the Pier One season features more contemporary works. In July is Alan Ball’s “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress,” written in 1993 by the screenwriter who wrote “American Beauty” and created the television series “Six Feet Under” and “True Blood.”

In August, Pier One shows Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” and Kieran Lynn’s “Breaking the Ice.”

As in previous years, this summer also includes Youth Theatre productions. In early August is “The Jungle Book” and on June 20 and 21 is a Skills Camp showcase.

Also returning is Johnny B with his “Rhythm of the North” multimedia show on weekdays through the summer and Outrageous Jazz by Karen Strid-Chadwick and Friends on June 22 and 23.

For showtimes and prices, visit Shows are at 7:30 p.m., with tickets $15 general admission, $14 seniors, $13 Raven’s Club, $10 youth and $55 family. Tickets are on sale at the Homer Bookstore and on the Spit at Sea Lion Art & Lodging.

Reach Michael Armstrong at

More in Life

In 1964, two years after the Fairs moved to their homestead at the end of Forest Lane, Calvin Fair took this photo from neighbor Dan France’s SuperCub. Note the dearth of large trees in the foreground, where the 1947 Kenai Burn wiped out much of the hillside forest. (Courtesy Fair Family Collection.
One man’s misfortune becomes my family’s good fortune

Without his misfortune, almost everything changes for me.

Snickerdoodle cookies have a distinct cinnamon sugar scrawled shell, photographed on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: Memories of snickerdoodles

I asked my grandma if she had her mother’s snickerdoodle recipe.

Russell Wagner graduated from the dental school within the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco in the spring of 1931. Shortly thereafter, he made his first trip to Seward. (Photo courtesy of college archives)
When the Kenai had just one full-time Dentist, Part 2

Part One discussed how Dr. Russell Wagner, the Kenai Peninsula’s only full-time dentist in 1960.

Christina Whiting poses for a photo on Oct. 5, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Taz Tally)
Homer artist takes pandemic project on road

‘Behind the Mask - Our Stories’ invites people to share experiences

Homemade ice cream steeped with chai spices and churned with local honey is frozen and ready to be enjoyed, on Monday, Oct. 5, 2029, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Churning ice cream at home

Winter is a great time to break out the ice cream machine

This is the 1908 birth certificate of Russell Martin Wagner. (Certificate courtesy of
When the Kenai had just one full-time dentist, Part 1

Wagner graduated from dental school at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco.

Butternut squash soup picnic is enjoyed on the rocky beach at Eklutna Lake, on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: A soup to match the color of the leaves

Getting outside can be a balm to that isolation and grief many of us are experiencing.

Minister’s Message: Are we seeing flowers or weeds?

In diffiult times, we need to watch what we watch

A plate of fried fish is photographed in this undated photo. Frying up cod or halibut in a beer batter is a delicious way to enjoy Alaska’s catch. (Courtesy Victoria Petersen)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: A secret ingredient for fried fish

Victoria Petersen serves up beer-battered halibut with a not-so-secret ingredient.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: So sayeth the almanac 2020

Once again, the summer has rocketed by and we find ourselves on the precipice of the autumn equinox.

Photo from the Anchorage Museum of History and Art 
                                Dr. David Hassan Sleem stands on the front porch of his large Seward home in 1906.
The multitalented D.H. Sleem, Part two

Syrian-born David Hassan Sleem settled in Seward in 1903.