Set in Bunyan Bay, MN, the show by Phil Olson (book and lyrics) and Paul Olson (music) is a collaboration between NJ Rep and Shotgun Productions. Gail Winar directs, with musical direction by John McMahon and choreography by Amy Uhl.
The musical features the talents of Clark Carmichael, John Little, Cortnie Loren Miller, Michael Nathanson and Darcie Siciliano.
"It's the coldest day of the year and cantankerous bar owner, Gunner Johnson (Little), wants to sell the business and move to Florida," according to NJ Rep. "Clara (Siciliano), his wife and former Winter Carnival Bunyan Queen, wants to stay put. Bernice Lundstrom (Miller), the pretty waitress, wants to pursue a singing career. Her fiance, Kanute Gunderson (Carmichael), wants her to stay home. It's a battle of wits and wills, and when a fast-talking salesman, Aarvid Gisselsen (Nathanson), arrives on the scene promising to bring romance into their hum-drum lives through the 'magic' of karaoke, all heck breaks loose."
The score features such songs as "I'm a Walleye Woman in a Crappie Town," "My Smorgasbord of Love" and "I Wanna Go to the Mall of America." The show had a 2004-05 run in Minneapolis.
According to Linda S. Nelson, co-artistic director of Shotgun Productions, and SuzAnne Barabas, artistic director of NJ Rep, the two companies have been looking for a project to produce together. Nelson stated, "We have been hoping to work with NJ Rep as we have admired their work for a few years, especially their high production values. We are excited to be working with a company we highly respect." Barabas noted, "Shotgun sent us Don't Hug Me after they presented it in their reading series in New York City. Then we included it in our reading series in Long Branch, and our audience loved it. We both decided to give a gift of pure entertainment to our audiences for the holiday season."
The creative team includes stage manager Rose Riccardi, set designer Quinn K. Stone, lighting designer Jill Nagle, costume designer Patricia E. Doherty, properties designer Jessica Parks and assistant stage manager Jon Dalin.
For more information, visit www.njrep.org.