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Knutson is opening with “Life Could Be a Dream,” a jukebox musical of 1950s and 60s doo-wop by Roger Bean (“The Marvelous Wonderettes”). It will run into January, running in repertory during the holidays with “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” Risks ahead include “Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels” and “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” bigger musicals with bigger budgets.
“The hardest thing for me — I know how to program — but they had this built-in audience and we had to tiptoe around that,” Knutson said about last season.
Frankenfield deflects the pressure of the new Old Log adventure with one-liners.
“I say ‘No’ a lot,” he says, when asked how he’s keeping a lid on spending. His smile, though, indicates that he’s a pushover. “It makes me feel like I’m adding value.”
He learned many painful lessons in his first year — none more so than the panic of Sept. 6, 2013. Opening night had caught them by surprise, and Frankenfield faced an audience that had waited for more than a half-hour for the curtain of “Cowgirls.” The restaurant had been overwhelmed, and Frankenfield spoke emotionally about this new challenge.
“I never want to do that again,” he said the other day, with the tone of someone fresh from a root canal.
But Frankenfield has shown patience and deep pockets in his quest to run the Old Log. He waited out the Stolzes while they flirted with developers and the Three River Parks District before the deal was struck last year.
Then the hard part started.
“I have more respect for Don than I ever had,” Frankenfield said.
“It was a hard thing to live up to what they did,” Marissa Frankenfield said. “They were icons for just keeping the place going.”
Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299