© 2023 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Simple Pleasures And Deeper Meanings... On Ice

Google Images / Creative Commons

  Looking for an antidote to the typical holiday entertainment fare? Consider a musical comedy that celebrates the simple pleasures of beer and sports while contemplating life’s deeper meanings. Guys on Ice takes place in an ice-fishing shack in Wisconsin. The book and lyrics are by Fred Alley, with music by James Kaplan.

Fred Alley was a co-founder of American Folklore Theatre in northern Wisconsin, and also its artist-in-residence. Formed in 1991, the AFT creates and produces works based on regional populist culture and heritage of the United States. It was here that Fred Alley collaborated with Kaplan on more than 20 shows, and it was here that he first collaborated with composer James Valcq on a musical called The Passage. But it was Alley’s work with Valcq on the musical The Spitfire Grill that made his reputation.

In 2001, Alley and Valcq were awarded the Richard Rodgers Production Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, but before the ceremony took place, Alley died of an undiagnosed heart condition while jogging near his home in Wisconsin. He was 38 years old.

Guys on Ice is considered one of his funniest works and it broke box office records in its original run. The show returns by popular demand to Prairie Pines Dinner Theatreon November 21st through December 23rd.

Sanda Moore Coleman received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1991. Since then, she has been the arts and community editor for The Martha's Vineyard Times, a teaching fellow at Harvard University, and an assistant editor at Image. In 2011, she received the Maureen Egan Writers Exchange prize for fiction from Poets & Writers magazine. She has spent more than 30 years performing, reviewing, and writing for theatre.