This summer’s production of “Life Could Be A Dream,” at the Frost Fire amphitheater west of Walhalla, is “a wonderful throwback to the late 1950s,” said David Paukert, assistant director.
The show, which opened June 30, continues on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays through July 30.
The company is marking its 35th anniversary and continuing its celebration of rock-and-roll music by hosting Robby Vee and his Rock-n-Roll Caravan for concerts set for 2 p.m. Aug. 10 and Aug. 11.
Also, the Grand Forks band Mudbucket will perform from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 10 in the lodge. Advance tickets are $20 each, or $25 each at the door, for the concert which will benefit youth arts activities at Frost Fire.
Paukert and his wife, Amy Jo Paukert, “saw a stage production of ‘Life Could Be A Dream’ six years ago and fell in love with it,” he said. “We knew someday we would want to produce it at Frost Fire.
“It’s a feel-good story that is cleverly written and celebrates some of the best doo-wop music of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s,” he said.
It’s the story of “Denny and the Dreamers,” a fledgling doo-wop singing group preparing to enter the Big Whopper Radio Contest in their quest to make it to the big time.
Trouble comes in the form of Lois who arrives to put some polish on the boys, said Paukert.
“Denny falls in love. Wally falls in line. Eugene falls apart, and along comes handsome heartthrob Skip to send the whole situation spinning," he said.
The “hilarious musical comedy” takes audience members on a stroll down memory lane, featuring 20 classic rock-and-roll hits of the doo-wop era, which are woven into the story line, Paukert said.
Popular songs, such as “Run Around Sue,” “Devil or Angel,” “Only You,” “Duke of Earl,” "Rama Lama Ding Dong,” “Tears on My Pillow” and “Unchained Melody” are sure to delight audience members, he said.
The show will remind them of “a lot of nuances of the era, including the fashions, hair-styles, popular stores of the day, and even some corny phrases like ‘What’s buzzin’ cousin?’ or ‘I’m rubber and you’re glue. Everything that you say bounces off me and sticks on you.’ ”
For anyone growing up in the late ‘50s or early ‘60s, the show will trigger memories of kids playing, at full blast, the greatest hits of the day on portable record-players, he said, “then rushing home from school to plant themselves in front of the TV set, idolizing ‘American Bandstand’ and the popular groups of the day; ‘Life Could Be A Dream’ really embodies that era and spirit.”
Written by Roger Bean, the show won the Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Best Musical Award.
The Frost Fire cast features Peter Foss (as Denny Varney), Sam Rath (Eugene Johnson), Nick Hovey (Wally Patton), Drew Relling (Skip Henderson), Caitlin Becks (Lois Franklin and Mrs. Varney voice over) and Jeff McMahon ("Bulls-eye" Miller voiceover).
The show’s production crew had a lot of fun designing a set “that re-creates the look and feel of a 1950s basement rec-room, including a vintage radio/phonograph, a Maytag wringer/washer, and shuffleboard,” Paukert said.
“One of our audience members at our opening show said it reminded her of the rec-room she spent time in as a youth, what with the artwork on the wall and the various vintage items on the shelves,” he said.
Designed by Amy Jo Paukert, the set was built by Pete and Pat Danielson with the assistance of Carol Clark, scenic painter.
“They created the perfect setting for the show,” David Paukert said.
Other members of the production team are Charity Stegman as stage manager and Sara Larson, in charge of lights and sound.
Pit musicians are Emily Bilbow, Anita Matheson, Spencer Black, Joshua Rau and Alex Stroth.
The Frost Fire venue also features Hattie’s Gift Shop, which offers handmade and regional artisan gift items and popular Pride of Dakota products.
IF YOU GO
What: “Life Could Be A Dream,” a musical comedy
When: 2 and 6 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays and Wednesdays, through July 30
Where: Frost Fire Theatre, an amphitheater 7 miles west of Walhalla on County Road 55
Admission: Adults, $30 for show only or $43 for show and buffet; children under 10, $12 for show only or $21 for show and buffet. Discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Buffet-style meal is served before each performance. If attending the buffet, arrive at 4 p.m. Saturday or 11:30 a.m. Sunday and Wednesday.
More info: Call (701) 549-3602 or go online to www.frostfirepark.org