Amongst the glitz and glamour of the downtown Minneapolis theatre scene comes a new entry this season that won’t ever be mistaken for Hamlet at the Guthrie. Deer Camp – The Musical is a humorous farce that follows four fearless deer hunters on their annual quest to bag a deer (something they’ve never accomplished.) This year the pressure is on as the wives have given them an ultimatum: bag a deer or your deer camp days are over. What follows is a fun-filled, light-hearted look at what is a Minnesota tradition.
Being one of the over 200,000 metro area deer hunters, I found the play to be an entertaining and humorous spoof of what many of us experience each fall. It’s no wonder it captures the local feel of a deer camp so well because it was written locally by Gene Jurek of St. Cloud and Doug Spartz of Pine River. While the play has been around since 2007 being performed across the country, this year’s production by the Hennepin County Trust is performed by both of the actors that played “My Brother Darryl” for eight seasons on the Newhart sitcom. “Darryl” Tony Papenfuss was born and still lives in the Twin Cities. During an interview on Outdoor News Radio (link below) he said he uttered one word over eight years as “Darryl” and that was on the last episode.
I’m sure a professional theatre critic would need to point-out items that don’t make this an Ordway-type production. However, after gagging the positive reaction of the audience, I’m not sure they would care. Most seemed thoroughly entertained and “got” the deer camp humor (think beer, flatulence, and general B.S. in a hunting shack with a few songs sprinkled in.)
This might be the very best way to re-introduce theatre to someone who likes fishing, hunting and football more than attending a musical or play. You might even get him or her over to the Guthrie next!
To listen to the Outdoor News Radio interview with Tony Papenfuss (15 min. mark of the show):
To order tickets: