'Yoopin' it up in Escanaba

Life, love and the pursuit of the elusive big buck are the themes of the comedy "Escanaba in da Moonlight," a comedy that will be presented by the Elk County Footlighters at the Diamond View Restaurant on Nov. 4, 5 and 6. The production is adapted from the play and movie of the same name written by comedian Jeff Daniels, and tells the story of the Soady family and their life at deer camp at the beginning of hunting season in 1989. These "Yoopers" - a nickname for residents of the Upper Peninsula in Michigan where the story is based - have made hunting camp a family tradition, but for Soady brother, Reuben, the tradition is somewhat painful - at 43, he is the oldest member of the Soady family who has yet to bag a buck. As the story unfolds, Reuben's reputation as the "Buckless Yooper" has him deciding to change some of the family's usual hunting camp activities, thinking that by doing so, he'll also change his luck. The local production of "Escanaba" is being directed by Footlighters member Marty Kim, who will be making his directorial debut. He said the Footlighters chose "Escanaba in da Moonlight for its humor and because area audiences could relate to the topic. "I just felt it would fit the hunting culture we have around here," Kim said. The cast members of the comedy are Steve Frank, who plays family patriarch Albert Soady; Rob Garner and Mike Nappe as brothers Reuben and Remnar Soady; Tara Witter as Reuben's wife, Wolf Moon Dance Soady; Dr. David Sanderson as "The Jimmer;" and Mike Carr as Great-Grandpa Alfonse. The comedy will be presented on Nov. 4, 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the upstairs room of the Diamond View Restaurant and Lounge, formerly the St. Marys Country Club. Cocktails are at 5 p.m. A buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m. will be part of the admission price. Area residents who would like to see the show can purchase tickets at the door, at the Village Peddler in St. Marys, and at the Elk County Council on the Arts and Cliffe's and the Prescription Center in Ridgway. For more on this story, see the Nov. 2 edition of The Daily Press.