No need to hunt for a good time at 'Deer Camp'
The most obvious difference between Tony Papenfuss and John Voldstad's performances in the former “Newhart” TV show and their current touring show? This time around, they talk.
Fans of the hit sitcom starring Bob Newhart that aired from 1982 to 1990 will remember their characters for what they didn't say. Fellow actor William Sanderson always brought a laugh when he introduced them with his standard line, “Hi, I'm Larry; this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.” The two Darryls never uttered a word.
Fast forward two decades, and Papenfuss and Voldstad have a lot to say in “Deer Camp: The Musical,” stopping at the Palace Theatre for one performance Friday presented by Westmoreland Cultural Trust.
They also sing a lot, but Minneapolis actor Papenfuss admits singing isn't one of his strong points. He says his high-school music teacher used to tell him his vocal performances were “in the fine tradition of English music halls — if you can't sing good, sing loud. I'm not musically gifted, but I stay on key. I sell it — but I'm no Julio Iglesias.”
In “Deer Camp,” Papenfuss — whose television appearances also include “Murphy Brown,” “Coach” and “Seinfeld” — plays one of four hunters who have been coming to the same deer shack every year during hunting season for 20 years. The only trouble is, the guys spend more time drinking beer, playing cards and goofing around than bagging a buck.
When their wives issue an ultimatum to bring home a deer or risk not returning to their hunting hideaway, the boys panic and devise a plan to go in for the kill.
Papenfuss says when he first heard about the musical, “it looked like a ball. Pure silliness. I figured it would give me a chance to do a lot of my old shtick and pull out a lot of my old tricks.”
Although “Deer Camp” is scripted, it doesn't mean the actors don't take every opportunity to adlib.
“If it lends itself to a little free-wheeling, we're not opposed to that at all,” he says. “We make it a priority to enjoy ourselves. The most important element of the show is that we have fun doing it.”
They hope the audience will share in the fun, as well. One way is by coming to the performance dressed in hunting gear — minus weapons, of course. The best-dressed hunter will win a meet-and-greet opportunity with Papenfuss and Voldstad.
Composer Doug Spartz provides the score, with musical numbers such as “She's Playing Bingo,” “If I Were a Male Dancer,” “Coupon Clippin' Ladies” and “Mighty Hunters.”
Papanfuss says playwright Gene Jurek has gone out of his way to make “Deer Camp: The Musical” family-friendly. “It's very earthy, with no foul language or compromising situations,” the actor says. “My grandchildren have seen it. It's basically cornball humor.”
Jurek is reportedly working on a sequel to “Deer Camp” with a holiday production titled “Holy Bells! A Deer Camp Christmas” set to make its debut during the holiday season.
Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers defense takes aim at Ravens QB Flacco
- Coastal Division lead within reach for Panthers
- NFL notebook: Cowboys’ Witten intervenes in practice flare-up
- Penn State renews ‘rivalry’ with Big Ten foe Maryland
- NHL notebook: Leafs’ Lupul out with broken hand
- Seneca Valley girls defend WPIAL Class AAA soccer title
- Iraqi peshmerga troops join Kobani fight
- Combat veterans to speak at Robert Morris fundraiser
- U.S. Department of Agriculture mismanaged rural program, federal audit shows
- Medicare paid for drug coverage of patients who had died, investigators say
- Quarantine lifted, Maine nurse given right to roam