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'Don't Hug Me' dinner theater in Renville

RENVILLE -- Tickets for the Renville County West Area's Friends of the Arts dinner theater presentation of "Don't Hug Me" are on sale through 4 p.m. March 12.

The dinner theater will be presented March 20 and 21 at the Renville County West High School in Renville. Dinner is at 5:30 p.m., followed by the musical production at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adult, $20 for seniors and students. A Sunday matinee performance, show only, is also scheduled for 2 p.m. March 22.

Tickets are available at Minnwest Bank in Danube, Thrifty White Drug in Renville and F&M State Bank in Sacred Heart, or by calling Kris at 320-765-8856.

"Don't Hug Me" is a national award-winning musical comedy that takes place in a colorful, rustic north woods bar in tiny Bunyan Bay, Minn. With book, lyrics and music by Minnesota natives Phil Olson and Paul Olson, it is billed as "a Minnesota love story with singin' and stuff."

On the coldest days of the year, you will meet Gunner and Clara Johnson, owners of The Bunyan bar, played by Joel Bakker and Maureen Weidemann, respectively. Gunner hates winter and wants to sell the bar and move to sunny Florida while Clara, a former Winter Carnival Bunyan Queen prefers to stay right where she is.

Bernice Lundstrom, the pretty waitress, played by Gina Hagen, has visions of singing in the Grainbelt Lounge in St. Paul and going on a seven-day shopping spree at the Mall of America. However, her fiancé, businessman Knute Gunderson, played by Paul Knapper, has other plans for her; such as marriage and makin' babies.

Enter Aarvid Gisselson, the fast-talking karaoke salesman, played by Phil Sinner, who promises to bring romance back into their lives with the purchase of the LSS 562. But he seems to create more problems than he solves.

The five members of the cast will bring to life such memorable songs as "I'm a Walleye Woman in a Crappie Town," "My Smorgasbord of Love," "You Are My Woman," "Upside Down in my Pickup Truck" and more. Everyone will want to sing along with "The Bunyan Yodel" and will fall in love with "Little Ernie Eelpout, " according to show director Bev Raske.