Ice fishing musical is timeless fun

BY RITA DALZELL FOR THE ENTERPRISE The minute the guys, Ed Bolton as Marvin and Denny Skjonsby as Lloyd, step onto the stage, the fun begins. Immediately! With their honed "up north" brogue and their attachment to ice fishing set right out there,...



The minute the guys, Ed Bolton as Marvin and Denny Skjonsby as Lloyd, step onto the stage, the fun begins. Immediately!

With their honed "up north" brogue and their attachment to ice fishing set right out there, you will feel the chuckles start and then stay on the surface for the entire show.

Wrapped around the intentions of ice fishing are the conversations dealing with Marvin's hopes to be the next Tee Vee star in the area and Lloyd's concern and bafflement about the slight rift between him and his wife.


No musical about ice fishing can be without the usual banter of past misdeeds thoughts about nothing, and football allegiance to one's favorite pro team. Marvin roots for the Vikings, Lloyd cheers for the Packers and the third "guy," Ethel, worships the Bears.

Oh, yes, Ethel. Her nickname is the moocher and you will quickly catch on to why that is. Lynne Presson plays the role of Ethel, except for the week of July 23rd, when Renae Spangler of Bemidji steps in while Lynne attends a son's wedding. (An aside: Renae is a former high school student of mine and did an outstanding job for me as Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls." She also appeared on stage at Long Lake Theater in "Proof" as the sister, as well as in several Bemidji productions.)

The music in "Guys on Ice" is catchy, silly, outrageous and sweet. Watch especially for the influence from a widely proclaimed and beloved musical when Marvin and Lloyd perform "Fish Is the Miracle Food." It's a stitch.

As usual, Ed Bolton does not disappoint the theater goer. He is so funny in this musical and brings his precise and humorous manner to the role of Marvin. Everything he says and does is so good but when he pretends he is both the interviewer and the interviewee in one of the scenes, you will be so entertained.

When he goes into "The King," the words, music style and choreography will break you up. Throughout the entire musical, he winds his clear, beautiful tenor voice around all his songs... absolutely delightful.

Denny Skjonsby played the part of the father in "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" last December. And from that exposure, it wasn't difficult to figure out he is made for the stage. We get to see him expand his talents and his natural bent for theater through his character, Lloyd. He, too, is a tenor and teams up well with Ed and soars on his own. He can sing in the baritone range but manages to get his mellow voice right up there for the high notes.

His sense of humor shines through the fun songs but his interpretation of "Everything Is New" is Denny at his best.

Lynne Presson has been on stage several times at Long Lake Theater and never misses a beat. As Ethel Koppelmyer, the moocher, both she and Renae are superb. They manage to be feminine while dressed in ice fishing clothes and, at the same time, irritating the guys.


They each belt out Ethel's crazy songs and do not care one bit that the guys are trying to push Ethel out the door and on her way.

Ethel's "half time show" is so comical and very northwoods.

Prizes: $11.99

Costume: $19.99

Headpiece: $10

Presentation: Priceless

The director, Fred Rogers, is new to Long Lake Theater having traveled north from the Cities for the summer. He helped build the set for the recent run of "Taffeta Memories" and has done an excellent job of directing "Guys on Ice." He has a fine eye for detail and has come up with many hilarious moves and props for the actors.

The set is pure Minnesota Ice House. It was designed and built by Rogers and Laine Nelson, the light and soundman for "Guys on Ice." I am quite sure that one of the props on the set has never been in any other production of this musical. I'll tell you this much: it took several men to get it on stage.


Gary Stennes was working two musicals at once during June. He was the accompanist for "Taffeta Memories" and rehearsing with the cast of "Guys on Ice." He will be relieved to be back to only one show now that July is here. He brings his magic keyboard and his musical director background to any show he accompanies. His laid back and happy personality are always a welcome addition to a show.

Probably the question most often asked about an ice fishing musical is what kind of music could possibly be inserted into that type of story?

If you are the team of James Kaplan and the late Fred Alley, your fertile imaginations dream up Wishing Hole, The Guy from Tee Vee, Ode to a Snowmobile Suit, Everything is New, The King, Things Ain't Like they Used to Be, The One that Got Away, Fish Is the Miracle Food, Leine's is the Best Beer, What's Mine Is Yours, The Marvin I Knew, Your Last Day on Earth, Beer in the Bucket and When on Thin Ice.

The musical runs through Aug. 2 at Long Lake Theater in Hubbard. Show time on Wednesdays is 3 p.m. Shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday are at 7:30. You can purchase tickets at Beagle Books and Sister Wolf Books or reserve them by calling Long Lake Theater at 732-0099.

This tribute to ice fishing is timeless fun. "Out at the wishing hole, auger and fishing pole, coffee and venison are the best medicine..."

Rita Dalzell is a retired English and vocal music teacher, who also played the saxophone, enjoys being at the keyboard to accompany musicians and has directed musicals and school orchestra rehearsals.

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