Fundraising dinner theater for Camp Winnebago May 4, 5 & 6

Bunco De Sneer (Aaron Goetting) had little trouble putting Toby Mugg (Harvey Goetting) in his place, while rehearsing for the upcoming dinner theater melodrama The Ballad of Gopher Gap. Photo by Zach Thomas

By Charlie Warner
Argus News Editor

Will Bunco De Sneer, Slats and Crazy Nannette swindle the fine folks of Gopher Gap of their land and turn the beautiful landscape into a wasteland?

That question will be answered at the conclusion of the melodrama “The Ballad of Gopher Gap,” which will be presented May 4, 5 and 6.

For the first time in more than a dozen years, a community theater production will take place in Caledonia. This melodrama will rekindle many fond memories of the long-running Founder’s Day productions that Caledonia area residents enjoyed for many years in the Caledonia Municipal Auditorium.

The three presentations of “The Ballad of Gopher Gap” will be a dinner theater, with all the proceeds going to Camp Winnebago.

The dinner theater is the brainchild of Elsie Vesterse, who is on the Camp Winnebago Board of Directors.

“We needed to come up with some type of way to raise money for Camp Winnebago. We tossed around some ideas and then started thinking about a dinner theater,” Vesterse said. “The community theater productions that were done for Founder’s Day were very popular. They drew some very large crowds. So we thought why not try that again and add a little twist…a dinner theater.”

Vesterse first brought the idea to the Caledonia City Council this past winter. The council agreed to let Camp Winnebago rent the municipal building gym and stage for practices and the three day production at a reduced price. A director volunteered, a script was found, a cast was developed and the theater troupe has been practicing for several months.

Laura Eglinton, who is directing the melodrama, said there will be a wonderful mix of the old (actors who participated in the Founder’s Day productions) and the new (younger actors who are enjoying community theater for the first time).

“I directed a couple of the Founder’s Day productions,” Eglinton said. “We had a good time with those. And Elsie really wanted the acting talents of my husband so she asked me to be the director as long as Bruce would agree to be part of this.”

The melodrama will combine the talents of eight area actors with the culinary talents of Barb Kappauf, who is the head chef at Camp Winnebago.

The cast of characters includes Bunco De Sneer- Aaron Goetting, Slats- Bruce Eglinton, Crazy Nannette- Brooke Eglinton, Flora Fourflusher- Greta Goetting, Minerva Hotchkiss- Kelly Peterson, Judge Ambrocrombie- Mike Lee, Toby Mugg- Harvey Goetting, Ottillie- Serenity Meyer, Becky- Selena Privet, Rocky Romantic- David Storie and Verlinda Spring Blossom- Shea Goetting. Ben Goetting will serve as the musical accompanist.

The dinner will include barbecue ribs, deluxe mashed potatoes, corn, coleslaw, biscuit, a coffee bar and dessert table.

Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday evenings and at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Each presentation will begin one hour after dinner is served.

Ticket prices are $20 for the dinner and theater and $10 for the melodrama only. Tickets are available at Merchants Bank, Elsie’s Bar & Grill and Camp Winnebago.  Dinner theater tickets must be purchased by May 1.

For more information, persons can call (507) 724-2351.

 You can contact Charlie Warner at charlie.warner@ecm-inc.com

David Storlie and Shea Goetting worked on their lines during a dress rehearsal of the melodrama The Ballad of Gopher Gap, which will be presented Mary 4, 5 & 6. Photo by Zach Thomas

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