“Guys on Ice” comedy returns to the Pendragon Theatre stage
SARANAC LAKE — Brenden Gotham and Lucky Cerruti zipped up their one-piece snowsuits — snug and warm.
Gotham’s was red and black with a purple chest, kind of making him look like the winterized version of a NASCAR pit crew member. Underneath he wore a shirt that said “Education is important, but ice fishing is importanter.” (Gotham teaches at a public school for a living.) Cerruti’s suit was shiny cobalt blue with reflective safety stripes running down the front and back.
However, the two weren’t gearing up for a day of snowmobiling. They were getting ready to stand and sing under a bunch of stage lights.
“We’ve also got gloves and hats and boots, so it gets pretty toasty up there,” Cerruti said.
Pendragon Theatre will perform Fred Alley’s “Guys on Ice: The Ice Fishing Musical” Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The show will run from Jan. 25 to Feb. 24.
The musical follows the endearing friendship of Marvin and Lloyd, two North Country average Joes who may have some personal struggles but can always enjoy a day of ice fishing, watching a hockey game on the boob tube and drinking beer — lots of beer.
“It’s a wonderful little snapshot of two friends at an important juncture in their lives,” director Kim Bouchard said. “These guys reveal a lot about who they are, their love lives, their relationships. There’s also a lot of fun stuff about ice fishing, too.”
Pendragon originally performed the show during Saranac Lake’s 2017 Winter Carnival with essentially the same production. One character, Ernie the Moocher, has changed, but Bouchard, Gotham and Cerruti all return. Cerruti is a former student of Gotham’s at Lake Placid High School, and he now lives in Manhattan.
“It’s not often that I come up here to do a show,” Cerruti said, “but given the opportunity to work with the same people, I couldn’t say no.”
The show was written about two guys from Wisconsin, but because both the Badger State and the North Country are cold places where people like to drink beer, plenty of local color and upstate references were added to the script. The musical takes place on Lake Colby in Saranac Lake. Marvin and Lloyd bond over the Montreal Canadiens instead of the Green Bay Packers. A couple of random names like Onchiota, Tops and Stewart’s are thrown in there as well.
“There is one interesting change that I think locals will get,” Bouchard said. “In Wisconsin, where the play was written, they talk about flathead minnows, but when you talk to people up here, they call them fathead minnows. So it’s like we’ve got the real scoop on ice fishing.”
“Guys on Ice” is like a merger of a traditional straight play and a musical in that it has songs, but it takes place in one setting — an ice shanty.
“It’s a pretty spacious ice shanty,” Bouchard said. “When people see it, they’ll be jealous because most ice shanties are a little tighter. It’s all contained in one space, but within that space, they do a lot.”
A change of lighting, the movement of a milk crate and the unfurling of a Canadiens flag makes it feel as if the setting has changed as the actors go from scene to scene and song to song.
One of the ongoing jokes of the show is that Marvin and Lloyd tend to drink a lot of beer. It’s not like Drunk Shakespeare, where the actors actually get intoxicated. Gotham and Cerruti said that’s a good thing.
“It probably wouldn’t be awesome,” Cerruti said. “With the amount of beer these guys drink, it would go off the rails real quick.”
“We would have to drink four beers in about eight minutes for one part,” Gotham added.
If you go…
What: “Guys on Ice: The Ice Fishing Musical”
Where: Pendragon Theatre, 15 Brandy Brook Ave., Saranac Lake
When: Jan. 25, 26 and Feb. 2, 7, 9, 14, 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m., and Jan. 27 and Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24 at 2 p.m.
How much: $20 adults, $18 matinees and children under 18