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Cowboys, pirates clash in Clitherall comedy

Members of the "Rawhide & Crossbones" theatre troupe include Dan Touchette (left), Bronwynn Touchette, Doug Curtis, Kendra Burger and Samantha Bottko. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

Can cowboys and pirates really work together to foil a villain, to talk about feelings and to start a new international business venture?

You'll find the answers by attending the last show of the 2018 Melodrama Dinner Theatre season at the Old Town Bar & Grill Event Center in Clitherall.

The production takes you on a journey to small town Clitherall Crossing, where there's just been a bank robbery. Join local Sheriff Cliff (Dan Touchette), and Deputy Sage, (Samantha Bottko), as they track down the villain Black Jack (Bronwynn Touchette). They're joined by Pirate Captain Pete (Doug Curtis) and First Mate Bruce (Kendra Burger) from their mostly scurvy-free ship, which has just reached land. The performance is accompanied by the fine tunes of pianist Patty Albertson.

All cast members are from Wadena, except for Bottko, a Fergus Falls resident.

The production is another family affair, written by Michelle and Doug Curtis of Wadena. It's also directed by Michelle. It's co-produced by Laura Johnson, Rick Schara and the Curtis couple.

The Fergus Falls Funtastics Theatre Troupe featured the world premiere of "Rawhide & Crossbones" on Friday and Saturday nights starting July 27. It continues through August 18. The Funtastics just wrapped up the inaugural show at their new location just minutes east of Battle Lake along Highway 210. In fact, one Clitherall resident said the show - "Ghost of a Chance" - was probably the first acting performance on the theatre stage in 50 years. The theatre will be 100 years old in 2019.

Funtastics marketing director Rick Schara said the new location is working out well following the loss of their old venue a year ago, Elmer's Texas BBQ near Otter Tail Lake. The new location served as the community center, a movie theater and a vaudeville theatre before the new home the melodrama series.

More than 350 people have attended the show so far, said Laura Johnson of the Funtastics. "In the past four years, we've entertained over 5,500 people from more than 25 states. It remains one of the most unique experiences in the Otter Tail lakes area," Johnson said.

Patrons are served a finger lickin' good BBQ rib dinner with baked potato, Texas beans, cole slaw, cheddar biscuits, apple crisp dessert with ice cream, ice tea and lemonade.

Tickets for dinner and show are available for purchase at www.fergusfuntastics.com, at the Old Town, or by calling 218-731-4837.