This year’s Mug-Up on July 22, 2017, featured the Valdez Gold Rush Can-Can Girls and a skit entitled Mug-Up Laugh-Up.
The Laugh-Up was a 1900s version of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and set aboard the S.S. Nugget where members of the audience were “first-class passengers in the Dining Saloon, awaiting the evening’s entertainment.” The tables in the “Dining Saloon” were covered with colors and decor to match the overall theme of the evening.
Although the play was written and directed by Susan Gibson, the entire cast consisting of seven Pioneers and the Can-Can girls made contributions to the final production. The set was designed by Susan Gibson with input from Fairbanks Drama Association’s Kevin Harper and Pioneer Chuck Mailander. It was constructed by Michael Gibson. Joan Skilbred was the “understudy” for several cast members throughout the rehearsal period. She also designed the venue decor, provided support and some of the props. The cast included:
Host: PJ Gesin
Co-host: Michael Gibson
Old Man: Rodger Hopp
Wallflower: Nick Nugent
Madam: Marilyn Nigro
Judge/Miner: Chuck Mailander
Spinster: Gail Stack
The Valdez Gold Rush Can-Can Girls:
Lucky Swede Lizzy
The show was well received and included a surprise award to recognize a Pioneer who tirelessly works to preserve Alaska’s history and provides constant support to the organization. The Gaudy Golden Goblet of Greatness (aka Cheap Cheesy Chalice for Curmudgeons) went to George Lounsbury.