Book and Lyrics by
& Lee Becker
Music by Paul Libman
The Deer Hunting Musical
that promises more bang
for your buck…
A whimsical excursion into the world of Wisconsin deer-hunting, with a little male bonding and a surprising encounter!
Hop in de truck and head up nort’ with Fritz, the Wizard of Whitetails, and his would-be son-in-law, Duane, who would much rather knit than hunt. A hilariously awkward deer camp soon takes a magical turn when a talking white buck appears, seeking refuge from a trophy-hunting Texan. Full of tunes you’ll leave whistling and jokes you’ll want to retell, if you’re on the hunt for big laughs, you’ll bag your limit at Guys & Does!
This smash-hit had a sold-out, seven-week run when it premiered in 2009. Almost 10,000 people saw the world premiere musical in Ephraim, but close to 3,000 others were turned away for lack of seats.
2023 Cast features Doug Mancheski, Steve Koehler, and Dan Klarer.
Show Length = 1 hour and 45 minutes, includes one 15 minute intermission
Showing: July 15 – September 2, 2023
Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays at 8:00pm
At the Indoor Gould Theater
Join mill-worker Fritz Dingleheimer as he once again heads Up Nort’ for that much-needed break in his routine. Puzzling over what to get his wife of 30 years for Christmas, and numbed by the mindless repetition of his job at the Nekoosa paper mill, this “Wizard of Whitetails” can’t wait to drink in the peace and quiet and beer found in the northern pines.
It would all be perfect, except this time around his only companion is local oddball, Duane Puddles. A non-hunter whose primary skills seem to be talking and knitting, Duane is dating Fritz’s daughter, Susie, who’s arranged for him to go with her father so the two men can “bond.” Duane plans to marry Susie, and hopes to impress Fritz and gain his blessing on this trip. Fritz isn’t so sure.
With rousing songs like “Up Nort’”, “Hunting Day,” “Needing the Doe,” and “Another Notch in My Gun,” to the sweet and whimsical “If I Was A Tree” and “Guys and Does,” AFT has once again bagged its limit of tuneful trophies.
Produced in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2016, 2023
“Guys & Does is outrageously funny. And earthy.”
“Laugh? You think you’ll never stop.”
“It’s a love story in many layers. There aren’t any women present, but they sure count.”
– WFRV, WeAreGreenBay.com, Warren Gerds, Critic at Large
“Guys & Does is one of AFT’s most constantly funny and entertaining shows.”
– Door County Advocate
“Guys & Does dares to be far-out different and succeeds.”
“An original show that’s knee-slap funny one moment, thoughtful the next, earthy the next and cosmic the next.”
– Green Bay Press Gazette
At first glance, Guys & Does contains all the necessary elements of a trademark Northern Sky comedy – hilarity as well as healthy dose of heart – but Becker and Heide are quick to say there is a larger universal theme at play.
“It’s about a connection to nature. Non-hunters often seem to stereotype hunters in a negative way, but really, the true hunters are often conservationists,” Heide says.
Becker adds, “Hunting is actually more ecological than most people realize, and part of our research for the show was interviewing serious hunters who respect and study nature.”
Along with the connection to nature, the show also touches on the theme of ethical hunting. “There’s a point in the show in which the deer (named Staghart of the Golden Horns) actually weighs in on the type of hunting he prefers,” Becker says. This part of the show traces back to a story in Navajo culture, in which the animals agreed to give themselves up if hunters remained ethical.
Guys & Does 2023 Creative Team
Director & Choreographer: Jeff Herbst
Music Director: Ryan Cappleman
Music Arranger: Colin Welford
Stage Manager: Heather Sopel*
Lighting & Sound: Designer David Alley
Scenic Designer: James Maronek**
Original Costume & Props Designer: Neen Rock*
Costume Redesign: Dan Klarer
Prop Redesign: Lisa Schlenker**
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
**Member of United Scenic Artists Local 829
WARREN GERDS - September 6, 2016
“Guys and Does” tickles fancies again in Door County
Deer are dancing in Door County again deez days. Excuse me, these days. I picked up the vernacular from the musical “Guys and Does,” which uses “deez” and “does” and “youse” and “tree” (for three) and other wreckage of the language from up nort’ Wisconsin way, hey.
Northern Sky Theater has revived one of its popular shows for another fall go-to at Door Community Auditorium. Performances continue to Oct. 15.
So there’s no mistake: Northern Sky Theater has a summer season outdoors in Peninsula State Park. That’s done. “Guys and Does” is performed indoors (though in part it’s about the great outdoors).
A show with dancing deer sounds silly, and “Guys and Does” is… and isn’t.
It’s a love story in many layers.
There aren’t any women present, but they sure count.
Action starts as two paper mill workers in central Wisconsin head up nort’ to go deer huntin’. One guy is a namby-pamby who has taken to knitting and has no desire to kill a deer, much less a fly. Duane Puddles is goin’ huntin’ so as to bond with Fritz Dingleheimer and thus ease his path to being Fritz’ son-in-law – if he can get up the nerve to ask Fritz for his daughter’s hand, much less propose to his girlfriend in the first place. Duane dithers. He is not mucho on the macho.
Fritz, meantime, feels his 33-year marriage has slipped into a bog. His wife’s idea of sizzle – a trip to Helsinki – leaves Fritz cold.
The title, “Guys and Does,” is a play on the Broadway and movie musical, “Guys and Dolls.” The two are miles apart in story and most matters. Songs for “Guys and Does” are all original to “Guys and Does.” The title is important as the show embraces themes around matters of the heart – finding that certain someone and then doing the right thing by that person. Or something like that.
The show’s love includes respect and appreciation that extends to nature in the form of hunting. We see good hunter/bad hunter characters. Fritz is the good hunter. An interloper from Texas, trophy-happy Joe Jimmy Ray Bob Johnson III, is the bad hunter.
Not many musicals include key components of hunter safety. Not many express the creed of conscientious hunters. Not many weave those into what masculinity means surrounding scenarios of dropping deer by arrow or bullet. The show is deep in ways.
But then… but then… “Guys and Does” is outrageously funny. And earthy.
A myth-like white stag appears. He speaks. Stagehart of the Golden Horns figures his time is about up, and he yearns to keep his legacy going by siring the next generation. He finds his White Doe, all right. Not many musicals include the dot-to-dots about mating deer, told through ballet. “Pas De Doe” is a tease and a takeoff of serious ballet’s pas de deux with male and female dancers often developing a romantic story. Same thing here, with two guys in balletic moves dressed as a buck (a golden rack to boot) and a doe (you can tell by the skirt and girlie face make-up). Laugh? You think you’ll never stop.
The earthiness extends to the show dropping a line with a fictional name for one of Wisconsin’s counties to a joke about things that make a buck a buck.
The actor who dances as a doe also dresses as a tree and philosophizes about being a tree. He grows rambunctious about the fate of many pine trees, too, so much so that you may opt for an artificial tree next Christmas. And yet it’s funny.
It took no arm twisting for Lee Becker and Doc Heide to mess around in their roles because they dreamed up the show, with Paul Libman. Doug Mancheski joined in because he’s been around Becker and Heide forever in Northern Sky Theater (and American Folklore Theatre before it), plus his roles are pure Mancheski – comically vile (Joe Jimmy) and over-the-top absurd (Staghart).
A fourth collaborator is director Jeffrey Herbst, a troupe mainstay. His choreographic touches with dancing deer and a tree elevate the already high level of humor.
Imagination abounds. Jim Maronek’s palette of scene designs this time includes an animated cartoon-esque feel in Fritz’ hunting cabin. The look signals this show is not meant to be of reality and is meant to have a playfulness to it. The audience needs to supply imagination when it comes to the moveable trees, made of plain trunks and a few limbs covered in camo material. The actors move the trees between scenes.
“Guys and Does” premiered in 2009, also with Becker, Heide, Herbst and Mancheski on board. The four, and music director Ryan Cappleman on keyboard, have things down pat. And so do backstage folks when it comes to costume/character changes for Mancheski. In somewhere around a minute sometimes, Mancheski goes from a duded-up Texan to an all-white stag complete with hooves (for his hands and feet) or vice versa. Also, the audience hears none of the offstage scrambling and changing, and when Mancheski re-appears, his wireless headset microphone is spot on. Now, I see a lot of performances, and Northern Sky Theater’s are remarkably in a league of their own when it comes to clarity of the sound system and amplification working correctly in many, many tricky situations. What is standard for Northern Sky Theater is on the wish list for many companies in the area that use wireless sound systems.
“Guys and Does” is one of the best by the professional Northern Sky Theater – though there are a lot of “bests.” Let’s say it’s one of the most out-there of Northern Sky Theater shows with a title that immediately resonates.
THE VENUE: The 725-seat Door Community Auditorium features wood elements (for acoustics) surrounding its focal 60 by 24-foot proscenium (straight-front) stage. The auditorium opened in 1991. It serves the Gibraltar School District and hosts professional performances such as the respected Peninsula Music Festival, many of the nation’s top-shelf artists and Northern Sky Theater fall musicals. In the auditorium design, the architects chose to emphasize open space, exposed steel beams and simplicity of shapes. For orchestra concerts, the stage is lined with wood; panels are squares within larger squares. The roof interior is exposed wood, an acoustical touch. Balcony and box-seat areas are faced with plaster surfaces of a red hue, and the aura is like that of decks on a passenger ship, only inside. The hall’s seats are padded with wood backs. The lobby features two murals that represent the spirit of the peninsula, “Door County/The Water” and “Door County/The Land.”
Watch for on-air Critic at Large editions on WFRV at 6:20 a.m. Sundays.
Green Bay Press Gazette
WARREN GERDS - December 3, 2009
“Guys and Does” delights in Green Bay, too
4 Stars out of 4
Here's a rare one. American Folklore Theatre's "Guys & Does" was so popular in its premiere run in Door County in fall — 54 straight sell-out performances — that the musical comedy was immediately shipped to Green Bay with its original cast and set.
Local audiences will find out what makes the professional troupe tick — an original show that's knee-slap funny one moment, thoughtful the next, earthy the next and cosmic the next.
It's a show with a deer ballet, a talking buck, a pencil pusher who knits and gets in tune with the feelings of trees when he dresses as one, plenty of appreciation for "up nort'" and one worthy and one vile hunter.
Two of the authors perform. Frederick "Doc" Heide is Fritz Dingleheimer, a weary mill worker. Lee Becker is Duane Puddles, a knitting nerd and Fritz's wannabe son-in-law.
Playing the clever music of third author, Paul Libman, is Kyle Nelson at the piano.
Doug Mancheski doubles. In some scenes, he's Joe Jimmy Ray Bob Johnson III, a careless hunter from Texas who is out to bag a rare white deer even though shooting one is illegal in Wisconsin. Mancheski also is Staghart of the Golden Horns — a centuries-old white buck — one of the most amazing character creations around these parts.
Director Jeffrey Herbst, troupe artistic director, has a terrific team to work with.
Heide and Mancheski probably are having extra fun because they grew up in Green Bay.
The language is blue-collar colloquial — "youse," "dem," "deez," "tree" for "three" and so on — so the show has a backwoods Wisconsin feel.
While opening night wasn't sold out, tickets are getting tight for the rest of the run.
Green Bay Press Gazette
WARREN GERDS - September 7, 2009
American Folklore Theatre on target with “Guys & Does”
4 Stars out of 4
EPHRAIM – With a ballet by deer, knitting jokes and a talking buck, American Folklore Theatre’s “Guys & Does” dares to be far-out different and succeeds.
The musical comedy is about deer hunting and more. It is stoked with thoughts on types of hunters, the philosophy of hunting, male-female relationships, being in love and earthiness in the natural world.
Mostly, the show entertains.
Fritz Dingleheimer (Doc Heide) is a frustrated mill worker who loves hunting, and this season is obligated to take along his daughter’s boyfriend, Duane Puddles (Lee Becker), who’d rather knit then shoot.
Fritz and Duane talk in “deez,” “does” and “youse” accents, which creates an especially large laugh when they meet up with Joe Jimmy Ray Bob Johnson III. Imagine what comes from Duane when he gets to III – “the third.”
Doug Mancheski plays Joe Jimmy, a vile, glory-seeking hunter from Texas who wants to shoot one of everything on Earth. Joe Jimmy especially wants to bag a white buck, no matter that it’s illegal in Wisconsin.
Through theatrics and quick changes, Mancheski becomes the buck, Staghart, who’s white from hoof to head, topped by golden antlers.
Staghart tells of this time as a youth with Merlin, and how he wants to carry on his line before re-joining Merlin in Avalon. Whew. Cosmic.
In a way, the show is “Doc Heide’s Lessons on Life and Imagination.” Heide, who in real life teaches graduate-level psychology, co-wrote the book and lyrics with Lee Becker.
The music by Paul Libman, played by pianist Kyle Nelson, fits whatever setup, be it an operatic lament (“I Can’t Kill Bambi’s Brudder”), sweet (“Knitting Love Song”) or fun-loving (“Ain’t Dat a Kick in Da Pants?”)
Jeff Herbst directs and choreographs. The latter especially comes to play when Duane dresses as a camouflage tree and is transported into being all sorts of trees in the romp, “If I Was a Tree.” Also mind-bending is the ballet for mating deer (Mancheski and Becker), “Pas De Doe,” a play on legit ballet’s “Pas de Deux” in more ways than one.
Door County Advocate
September 9-15, 2009
Laughs keep coming in AFT’s “Guys and Does”
Ready for a singing, dancing, wisecracking albino buck? American Folklore Theatre is serving up this and more in its latest show, “Guys and Does.”
This new musical came from the minds of Paul Libman, Lee Becker and Fred “Doc” Heide, who love to find variations on Northwoods themes. “Guys and Does” is one of AFT’s most constantly funny and entertaining shows. My wife even said that it seemed like late AFT co-founder Fred Alley was back. It’s that good.
Here we are given two guys who decide to go “up Nort’” and do some deer hunting. Fritz Dingleheimer is played by Heide, and Becker is Duane Puddles (Where do they come up with these names?)
One of the humorous problems is that Friz is a fairly straightforward guy and an experienced, serious hunter. Duane, on the other hand, is anything but a hunter. He is sensitive and likes to read self-help books. He likes to “share” and hug. He has trouble dealing with the idea that he has to kill “Bambi’s brudda.”
Duane goes on the trip because he wants to marry Fritz’ daughter and hopes to get his approval. It’s also an opportunity for him to do a little male bonding.
This improbable mix becomes even funnier when Joe Jimmy Ray Bob Johnson III shows up. Here we have the ever-popular Doug Mancheski trying to wheel and deal with these guys. Joe Jimmy is from Texas and is seeking rare game (the albino deer), but his methods and actions are not that noble.
There are moments in the show when the situations have the audience in stitches. This happens when Fritz and Duane go hunting and Duane dresses up like a tree in order to camouflage himself. He is riotous as he moves around the stage in his ridiculous disguise. In these passages, even the actors are cracking up each other.
Even funnier is when Mancheski and Becker double as a buck and doe, both in albino deer costumes. They are called “Staghart of the Golden Horns” (Mancheski) and “The White Doe” (Becker). They perform a very funny “Pas De Doe” ballet-like dance.
This new show is set at Ephraim village Hall, which proves to be a good setting. Even though the hall’s capacity is small, the musical benefits from the halls’ intimacy. It just would not work as well on AFT’s main stage. The musical has very imaginative stage work that was done by Jim Maronek and Neen Rock, and musical director Kyle Nelson capably carries the three actors through their paces.
2011 - 2012 "Singing Sportsmen Tour"
GUYS & DOES - Dates & Locations
MILWAUKEE - In Tandem Theatre
October 25 - November 6, 2011
WEST SALEM - Heider Center
November 9, 2011
WHITEWATER - Young Auditorium
November 11, 2011
WISCONSIN RAPIDS - Performing Arts Center
November 12 & 13, 2011
CHILTON - Engler Center
November 18 & 19, 2011
WAUSAU - The Grand Theatre
January 4, 2012
EAGLE RIVER - Headwaters Council Theatre
January 7, 2012
SHEBOYGAN - Weill Center
January 14, 2012
ST. CROIX FALLS - Festival Theatre
January 16 & 17, 2012
CHIPPEWA FALLS - Heyde Center
January 19, 2012
SPENCER - Lucille Tack Center
January 21, 2012
PRAIRIE DU SAC - River Arts Center
January 26 & 27, 2012