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Prepare to laugh as dinner theatre comes to Ridge Top

Lori Arndt, Daniel Tuchtenhagen and Krista Christiansen are all cast members for "Lie Cheat & Genuflect" put on by the Great River Road Theatre of Prescott. Sara Tischauser / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
The cast of "Lie Cheat & Genuflect" includes (front row, from left) Judy Johnson, Daniel Tuchtenhagen, Scott Halverson, James Nespbor, and Chris Lamb; (back row) Elizabeth Gerke, Courtney Lamb, Lori Arndt, and Krista Christiansen. Sara Tischauser / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

Prepare to laugh and have a good time as the Great River Road Theatre of Prescott performs "Lie Cheat and Genuflect."

Play director Judy Johnson said the audience will be laughing throughout the entire play, which was written by Billy Van Zandt and Jane. She and cast members added some of their own ideas to keep the audience laughing.

"It just has some real funny things about it," Johnson said.

The play is about two young gentlemen who are in debt from gambling and "sure bets." They have to find a way to pay back the loan sharks; the play shows their comedic antics to get the money.

Johnson said this is actually the second time GRRT has done this play; the first time was in 2003 at the Steamboat Inn in Prescott. But she feels it is okay to do the play again since they added some new parts and not everyone saw it when they first performed it.

Lori Arndt, was who plays Virginia, said she was in the 2003 performance as Jane. This year's roll is a bit different for her, but she is ready for the challenge.

"This [is] probably kind of a stretch for me," Arndt said. "It's fun."

Arndt said her family will support her at the show and they all enjoy the play.

"I really get to embarrass my family this year," Arndt said. "They [my family] come, they watch, they laugh, it's great."

Over the years, the community has come together to support the theater.

"Each year since we started here, crowds get bigger," Arndt said. "People come back."

Putting on the play takes a lot of dedication from performers, Johnson said. But once someone starts acting it is hard to stop.

"Once the theater bug bites you it's hard to get away," Johnson said. "When it ceases to be fun it's time to quit."

Practice for this play started in December, but with the holidays they didn't practice much that month; now they are practicing a lot. Some people haven't returned to GRRT because it was just too much time away from their families, Johnson said. The cast she has is very dedicated.

Actor Daniel Tuchtenhagen said sometimes in the weeks leading up to the pla,y he begins to wonder why he chose to be in another play because of the work and commitment. But fellow actress Krista Christiansen said this all changes when performance time comes.

"Once you see the audience, it's worth it," Christiansen said.

The GRRT of Prescott started in 1992; they started their dinner theatre shows in 2001. In 2013, performances moved to Ridge Top for their winter dinner theatre. The summer show will be at the Prescott High School Auditorium.

Johnson said at this time of year people are looking for something to do and the dinner theatre has provided a great escape during cold months.

"People just like to sit back and have a good meal and relax," Johnson said.

In order to continue with the plays, Johnson said she continues to recruit new talent.

"The best I can do is ask them to be in play," Johnson said. "If they say yes, I hope they will be in again."

The dinner theatre usually sells out, so people should make their reservations early. The show dates are at 6 p.m. Feb. 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10; matinee performances are at noon on Feb. 4 and 11. To make a reservation, call the Valley at 715-425-1018 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday or after 8 p.m. More information can be found at

If anyone is interested in joining the GRRT, contact Johnson at 715-425-7969.

This year's dinner theatre cast includes Chris Lamb (Prescott), Scott Halverson (Prescott), Lori Arndt (Ellsworth), Krista Christiansen (Ellsworth), Daniel Tuchtenhagen (River Falls), James Nespbor (Prescott), Elizabeth Gerke (Prescott), and Courtney Lamb (Prescott).