Thirty-five years after TV’s “The Love Boat” left the air, Timber Lake Playhouse will welcome one of its stars to direct the fall opening show, “Hank Williams: Lost Highway.”

Ted Lange, 74, who played bartender Isaac on the 1977-87 hit series, is directing at the Mount Carroll, Ill., theater.

“When one of our actors suggested Ted to direct the show, I immediately reached out to him,” TLP executive director Dan Danielowski said in a release. “We talked a few times, Ted’s schedule allowed him to do the show, and the rest – as they say – is history.”

Lange (as he appeared in TV’s “Love Boat”) is now 74, and is a prolific theater actor, director and playwright.

Lange is a graduate of London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, an outstanding actor of stage and screen, an exceptional movie and television director, and a prolific writer (including 65 acting credits since “Love Boat”), the Timber Lake release said.

He made his Broadway debut in the 1968 musical hit Hair and his theater acting career spans over 40 plays, including Galileo and a national tour of Driving Miss Daisy. Lange received the Best Actor Award from the NAACP Theatre Committee for his portrayal of Louie in the Gus Edwards’ play Louie and Ophelia.

Behind the Mask, Lange’s one-man show based on the life and poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar, has played to sold-out houses across the nation. He has appeared in the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Production of King Lear, and starred in I’m Not Rappaport.

Lange has penned 23 plays. Four Queens – No Trump, a bodacious comedy about four Black women, played to rave reviews in Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, and Omaha and won Los Angeles NAACP Best Play award. Evil Legacy – the Story of Lucretia Borgia was nominated by LA Weekly for Best One-Woman Show.

Also written, directed, and produced by Lange was Born a Unicorn, a rock musical depicting the life of Black Shakespearean actor, Ira Aldridge, and the musical, The Heart of Biddy Mason. Continuing his American historical play trilogy, George Washington’s Boy has received standing ovations at the National Black Theatre Festival and his new play Lady Patriot completes the series, the release said. 

Lange’s theater directing career includes over 50 productions — including Othello, in which he directed and starred in the stage and film version. Lange’s film directing career includes the feature film For Love of Amy, as well as the TV shows, The First Family, Mr. Box Office, Are We There Yet?, All of Us, Eve, Dharma and Greg, In The House, Moesha, and 17 episodes of the original Love Boat.

Timber Lake Playhouse is at 8215 Black Oak Road, Mount Carroll, Ill.

“When we found ourselves in need of a director for Lost Highway, we began a nationwide search,” said Danielowski. “We had a lot of interest, but being able to secure a director with Ted’s experience and resume was great for TLP.”

Lange will be hosting a “Talk Back” after the Friday, Sept. 9 performance. Patrons with tickets for any of the Lost Highway productions are welcome to attend the Talk Back.

“Lost Highway” opens Sept. 8 and runs through Sept. 18. Tickets are available from the TLP Box Office or online. Fall subscriptions are also available for Lost Highway, Defending the Caveman in October, and Plaid Tidings in December.

On Saturday, Sept. 3, the Six One Five Collective will be in concert at TLP. The Six One Five Collective performs a musical mix of Country, Americana, Folk and Pop. Information and tickets for all Timber Lake events are available HERE or by calling the Box Office at (815) 244-2035. The Box Office is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.