Your Regional Guide To The Performing Arts

Mars Lost, A World Premiere at Lake Country Playhouse

Mars Lost, A World Premiere at Lake Country Playhouse
Photo Credit: Katie Behrend Berg

How much would you be willing to give up for the chance at a new life?

Local artist Justin Spanbauer asks this question in his new play, Mars Lost, premiering this month at Lake Country Playhouse in Hartland. 

“It’s not Sci-Fi, really, except for the fact that she’s going to Mars,” said Spanbauer. “You could replace Mars with any other state or country. I just wanted to make it as hard as possible - in this case, impossible - for her to come back home.”

Mars Lost tells the story of Angela, a woman who, on a whim, applies to be a part of The Found Mars space expedition - a one-way ticket to building a new life and helping colonize the planet Mars.

“Applying is not something she takes seriously,” said Spanbauer. “It’s such a longshot that she doesn’t bother to tell anyone about it until she’s selected. That’s where the play starts.”

Spanbauer began working on the script as a class project during his undergraduate time at UW-Stevens Point. “We brought ideas up to our peers, and this was the one that people seemed most interested in,” said Spanbauer. “What kind of person could do this? Who could give up everything in their life and just start over?”

Lake Country Playhouse is not a stranger to producing new plays, and is certainly not a stranger to working with Just Spanbauer. He’s worked there as a performer, a director, and has served on a variety of their committees. “One of the things that makes Lake Country Playhouse attractive to me as an artist is the wide breadth of shows they choose,” said Spanbauer. “I just directed Dogfight earlier this season for them which is a new, contemporary kind of show… and that was bookmarked by The Music Man and Mamma Mia. Those three are very different shows. Now they are producing a brand new play by a local artist, followed up by The Secret Garden. So, you know, there’s a lot of diversity in the shows that they do. It’s cool that they take risks.”

“I want to encourage people to take a chance on it. It’s hard to sell a ticket to any play, especially when there are a lot of interesting projects all over Milwaukee. It’s hard to take a risk on something you don’t know; to want to spend your evening seeing something you’ve never heard of. I just want to encourage people to take a chance on some local art. Something new.”

Mars Lost runs January 31 - February 16. More information on the production can be found by visiting their website:

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We’re giving away a few pairs of tickets to see this world premiere, check out our page for details.


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