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Byron Civic Theatre stages Escanaba in Da Moonlight

January 19, 2011

From press release

BYRON, Ill.—Escanaba in Da Moonlight is Jeff Daniel’s hilariously twisted comedy about five Yoopers—residents of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula—and their escapades at a ramshackle deer camp on the eve of the Opening Day of the 1989 hunting season.

For nearly three-quarters of a century, Soady men have trekked to their little “home away from home” north of Escanaba—the heart and soul of the U.P.—to drink, cause a little bit of trouble, and bag bucks. But in the words of Patriarch Albert Soady (Dan Danielowski), “Dat year, camp was as tense as a moose’s butt durin’ fly season.”

Reuben Soady (Brian Wygant) goes to the hunting camp cottage, otherwise known as deer camp, with his father Albert, brother Remnar (Steve Walters) and Jimmy “the Jimmer” Negamanee from Menominee (Chris Palmer). If Reuben doesn’t manage to shoot a buck by the end of the season, he will become the oldest Soady in recorded history not to have achieved this task, a taboo that leads people in the community to believe he is jinxed.

Reuben breaks with tradition, taking advice from his Native American wife Wolf Moon Dance (Sara Joy Boeke), who offers him spiritual remedies involving a drink made with moose testicles, and porcupine urine to protect him from evil spirits. After various unexplainable phenomena, they meet a DNR officer, Tom T. Treado (Ron Harvey), who claims to have literally seen God on the ridge.

At various times, Reuben, Jimmer and Ranger Tom all get possessed by spirits. Eventually, Reuben runs out into the cold wearing only his long underwear and a hat, and finds himself face-to-face with his dead great-grandfather Alphonse.

Michigan’s own Jeff Daniels penned this Michigan classic, to be performed by Byron Civic Theatre (BCT) beginning Jan. 28. David Zumdahl directs the BCT production. Tickets for Escanaba in Da Moonlight are on sale now. They are available by calling the BCT Box Office at (815) 312-3000 from 6 to 9 p.m., Monday-Thursday, and 9 a.m.-noon, Saturday, or by e-mail at tickets@bctmagic.com. You may also order online using the BCT website at bctmagic.com.

Escanaba in Da Moonlight opens Jan. 28 and runs through Feb. 6. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $6 for students and children. Because of unforeseen circumstances, Charley’s Aunt, which was originally scheduled for the third production, had to be canceled. Escanaba in Da Moonlight contains adult humor and is not appropriate for children.

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