CHIPPEWA FALLS — It’s not unusual for the five Danielson brothers to spend time together ice fishing during the winter months.
They’ll swap stories, chat about the Green Bay Packers and occasionally drink some Leinenkugel’s.
“As brothers, this is what we do,” said Tim Danielson. “We’ve spent a lot of days out on the ice sitting in the shack fishing together.”
Now the brothers — Tim, Phil, Pete, Paul and Steve — are bringing that real-life chemistry and camaraderie to the Heyde Center for the Arts stage in “Guys on Ice.”
The show, which opens Thursday, Jan. 12, follows fishing buddies Marvin and Lloyd (played by Paul and Tim, respectively) from northern Wisconsin as they wait for a TV fishing show host to come and interview them about ice fishing.
And much like the brothers themselves do in real life, Marvin and Lloyd get to chatting about “everything” — from fishing to sports to women — as they wait in their ice shanty.
“We don’t even have to act,” Tim quipped.
Two of the other brothers also act in the show — Peter plays Ernie “the moocher,” and Phil plays a radio announcer. The youngest brother, Steve, is directing.
Tim said it’s a lot of fun working closely with his brothers on the show.
“Even if we’re not doing a play we say, ‘Hey, let’s get together and have practice,’ “ he joked.
The show also has a lot of local ties, which makes it fitting for the area.
“It talks about Leinenkugel’s, and it talks about the Green Bay Packers and even Chippewa Falls is mentioned in the script,” Tim said. “We’ve had people say, ‘Oh I like the way you changed it to fit our area.’ We didn’t change a thing, that’s how it was written.”
While “Guys on Ice” is a comedy, there’s more to it than that, Tim added.
“It’s a comedy, and there’s a lot of jokes and funny lines, but it has also got a seriousness about it,” he said.
Audience members don’t have to “be somebody who fishes or watches the Packers” to appreciate the comedic show, Steve said.
“It makes references to those things, and they talk about them, but it’s certainly not a show about the (football) game,” he said. “I think it touches everybody in a different way.”
The show, written by Fred Alley, also features music by James Kaplan and lyrics by Alley. But it’s not your typical musical, Phil said.
“It’s a musical, but every time I tell somebody it’s a musical, I catch myself explaining that it’s not like any other musical,” he said. “It’s not ‘The Sound of Music’ or something.”
Songs in the show include “The Wishing Hole,” “Fish is the Miracle Food,” “Ode to a Snowmobile Suit,” “Twelve Beers in a Twelve Pack” and “The One That Got Away.”
The brothers did the show at the Heyde Center a few years ago to much success, and Tim said they’re excited to bring it back.
“This show fits us so well,” Tim said. “It’s perfect for us.”
In addition to the show, an optional dinner with food from Karl’s BBQ Express is available before the evening performances.
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