The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 16, 2011

'Deer Camp' setting up at Pasquerilla arts center


— Those who hunt and those who don’t will enjoy this comedy.

“Deer Camp the Musical” will set up at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center in Richland Township.

Blaze orange and camouflage will be the dress for the evening when four fearless deer hunters make their annual trek to deer camp.

Diesel, Doogski, Digger and Moose, all lifelong friends from Elmwood, Minn., have been coming to the camp for 30 years, but haven’t brought home a single deer.

Their wives are getting suspicious, and this season they need to show them they’re the mighty hunters they claim to be or this might be their last season at deer camp.

Freezing in a tree stand is not as appealing as drinking beer and shooting the breeze, so now it’s the last day of camp with no deer in sight.

Producer Michael Dunne said the entire show is set inside a hunting cabin with no scene changes.

“By now they’re saying, ‘We’ve got to figure this out,’ ” Dunne said. “They could go outside to hunt, but it’s too cold.”

The lighthearted comedy stars John Kunik as Diesel, Tony Papenfuss as Doogski, John Voldstad as Digger and Anthony Zadra as Moose.

Papenfuss and Volstad are best known as “My brother Darryl” and “My other brother Darryl,” two of a trio of Vermont backwoodsmen on the television show “Newhart,” on the air from 1982 to 1990.

“I became involved in the production because it’s a cultural loophole,” Dunne said.

“Men don’t like to go to the theater with their wives, but they’ll go to see this. Then they can say, ‘Don’t tell me we don’t go to the theater. We saw Deer Camp.’ ”

“For those who think theater is too deep and too heavy, this is silly fun. Women can say, ‘Oh, so that’s what goes on.’ ”

As the guys hatch a plan to save their hunting paradise without firing a shot, some hilarious songs are sung, such as “Mighty Hunters,” “She’s Playing Bingo,” “If I Were a Male Dancer,” “Coupon Clippin’ Ladies,” “River of Brew” and “The Grunt Horn Song.”

“It’s silly and nonsensical,” Dunne said.

“Anyone can enjoy it. I think it goes back to “Fargo” and the Minnesota sense of humor.”

“Fargo” is a 1996 film written by Joel and Ethan Coen and set in Minneapolis and Fargo, N.D.

Dunne said the tour went out about three weeks ago and will last until the middle of November before resuming after the first of the year.

Some of the stops will include Minnesota, Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina and New Mexico.

“A good reason to come is it’s good, clean fun,” Dunne said.

“There’s no language. The worst thing is beer and flatulence.”

“Deer Camp the Musical” was written by Gene Jurek and features music by Doug Spartz.

This is Jurek’s first stage play.

He is currently adding the finishing touches to the script for “Holy Bells! A Deer Camp Christmas.”

Jurek, who resides in Waite Park, Minn., said no matter how many times he sees “Deer Camp the Musical,” there is always something different.

“The guys keep adding twists and turns to my script, which keeps it fresh,” he said.

“Sometimes I don’t even recognize what I thought I wrote.”

Spartz, who lives in Pine River, Minn., was recently named Americana Artist of the Year and is executive director of the Mid-America Hall of Fame.

He has the uncanny ability to take a few words or a simple idea and change it into memorable song.

His last album, “The One Who’s Leavin’,” was on the Top 10 Americana chart for months.


What: “Deer Camp the Musical.”

When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3.

Where: Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, Richland Township.

Tickets: $30, $26 and $24.

Information: 269-7200, (800) 846-2787 or


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