Let Me Be Frank Productions’ all-new musical comedy, “Sputnik Manitowoc” opens Friday, September 18th with a benefit for the Capitol Civic Centre Act Two project. On Friday, September 18th, $10 of every paid ticket goes to this wonderful organization in our community. The CCC has established an Act Two vision to thrive in its second century of operation. The Act Two project includes an expanded first-floor lobby, permanent bars, second-floor suite of restrooms, enhanced theatre ambiance, infrastructure improvements, and safety upgrades. Come celebrate our new show and the Capitol Civic Centre with Let Me Be Frank Productions.
Let Me Be Frank Productions’ all-new musical comedy, “The Frankstones” opens Friday, July 31st with a benefit for the Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau, and specifically their new Visitor Center. On Friday, July 31st, $10 of every paid ticket goes to this wonderful organization in our community. The new Experience Greater Green Bay Visitor Center will be a destination that will inspire travelers – and residents – to explore our attractions, dine at our restaurants, shop our stores, stay at our hotels, or make Green Bay their home! Come celebrate our new show, the reopening of the Meyer Theatre, and the Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau with Let Me Be Frank Productions.
To our Let Me Be Frank Productions family and friends:
The safety and health of our patrons, cast, and crew are of the highest priority during these unprecedented and challenging times. Given new developments and updated CDC recommendations surrounding COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all performances of Menoma Mia at the Meyer Theatre (April 3-25). Our performance at the Manitowoc Capitol Civic Centre on April 15 has also been canceled.
We will continue to monitor this continually developing, fast-moving situation and follow all necessary protocols and procedures. We will be sure to share any updates or information about performances as decisions are made.
Of course, we were so looking forward to sharing this new show with all of you. We’re deeply sorry to those who had already made plans and purchased tickets. For those of you with tickets (including season ticket customers), refund information will be forthcoming as we work out details.
Thank you for your patience and understanding. We hope to return to the stage and “get our laugh on” with LMBF soon!
Originally posted here.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV)
rhythm and rhyme
both rich and rank
come from Frank
who has a yen
for his own Hamilten…
Err, “Hamilton” – you know, the super-popular musical.
No, the latest Let Me Be Frank Productions show is not a straight-on rip-off of “Hamilton.” The Green Bay show troupe is just having fun with it.
The performers wear clothes of the American Revolutionary War period, as in “Hamilton,” but they sing songs not from the hit musical but from the 1960s charts.
Sometimes rap is let loose, like in the real “Hamilton.”
The title character speaks in rhyme somewhat like my tease above.
Let Me Be Frank Productions’ title is not “Hamilton: An American Musical” (the official one) but “Hamilton Ltd. The Musical.”
Alexander Hamilton is not to be found.
Hamilton, a remarkably inventive business in Two Rivers, is. The new CEO there is George Hamilton (the name of a popular actor in the 1960s), portrayed by the troupe’s namesake, Frank Hermans.
Frank Hermans and writing/directing partner Pat Hibbard dreamed up a lot of the new stuff, including their usual dose of fractured history that fits into a story that mashes together all sorts of what-ifs.
What if the company based in Two Rivers known for leading the way in so many ways repurposed to selling a pot product on the sly? That’s the Hermans-Hibbard way of bringing into the story references to the current legalization of marijuana as something visionary because the show is set in 1968.
If this is all too complex, just listen to the singing.
Heard is Lisa Borley going toe toe to with Barbra Streisand’s version of “People” – slow, careful, colorful, ringing, brilliant.
Heard is Amy Riemer in a soul version of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” embracing the style, flowing with its infectious flow and letting loose at the end an amazing long and pure note.
Heard is Sarah Hibbard in the lead of “Love Child,” not imitating Diana Ross but in her own style a layer lower in sound and fullness. Lisa Borley and Amy Riemer become The Supremes, not in slinky outfits of the ’60s but in hoop skirts from around 1776.
Heard is Blake Hermans, singing songs that were popular well before he was born and making them is own with a singing style of a unique texture. The Rascals might be jealous of the supple groove he puts to their hit “It’s a Beautiful Morning.”
Frank Hermans adds pop heat, Pat Hibbard rock zest, Paul Evansen pop drive and Tom Verbrick novelty spirit in song.
They all toy with their distinctive characters and enjoy the spotlight singing songs that usually have been heard by millions.
Fueling everything are Dennis Panneck on guitars, Tony Pilz on keyboards and Adam Cain on drums – musicians who can play anything under the sun in the pop realm across many years.
All along, the singers play with their characters, most of whom are Hamilton employees gathered for a costumed Fourth of July celebration. The punch gets spiked, so the level of bizarre goes up by leaps and bounds.
“Hamilton, Ltd. The Music” is especially ambitious in two ways.
One. As the regal-sounding George Hamilton, Frank Hermans speaks in rhyme. Twice that leads into bursts of rap with individual players picking up the drum-backed voice-beat. That’s hard stuff to create.
Two. Adding to the there-has-been-no-Frank’s-show-like-this aura is the costuming for the women. Look at the photo above. The dresses are made by Amy Riemer (Frank Hermans said so on stage), and they are complex and of character of their own.
Thursday’s performance included moments that seemed to pop out of nowhere, though that is par for the course for the company. Paul Evansen seemed to flub a word, and an improv bit arose that played with the fact that Pat Hibbard’s wig kept creeping back on his bald head. Suddenly, folks were doing a riff on eggs. Egg head, get it?
In all, this is another Let Me Be Frank Productions show among 100+ unlike other shows, but they all are unlike the others.
Side note: As a journalist, I get a kick out of this about Hamilton from the 1800s: The company virtually monopolized the wood-type industry, and shock newspaper headlines that fed “yellow journalism” – like at the time of the Spanish-American War – in a way had roots in what was made in li’l ol’ Two Rivers, Wisconsin.
Frank Hermans (George Hamilton)
Pat Hibbard (Mayor)
Band: Dennis Panneck, guitars; Pat Hibbard, bass; Tony Pilz, keyboards; Adam Cain, drums
Running time: One hour, 55 minutes
Remaining performances: Meyer Theatre in Green Bay (with a new starting time for evening performances) at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7, 8, 13, 14; 1 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22. Info: meyertheatre.org. Capitol Civic Centre in Manitowoc at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12. Info: cccshows.org
Let Me Be Frank Productions’ all-new musical comedy, “Hamilton Ltd. The Musical” opens Friday, January 31st with a fundraiser for NEW Zoo and NEW Zoological Society. On Friday, January 31st, $10 of every paid ticket goes to this wonderful organization in our community. Come celebrate our new show and NEW Zoo with Let Me Be Frank Productions.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV)
Originally posted here.
And a partridge in a pear tree.
That, too, is in the latest Let Me Be Frank Productions show, which is sort of what the old Fleet Farm line is to Christmas shows: If “A Frank’s Christmas” doesn’t have it, you don’t need it.
Even in the mix is sweet soulful reverence.
The Green Bay-based show troupe’s 20th Christmas show is running to Dec. 28 in the Meyer Theatre.
As usual, the story around a musical showcase contains a tad of truth. “In 1982, I was fired from Fleet Farm,” namesake Frank Hermans says at the start. Hermans goes on to say why and note that the man who fired him now works as part of his operation.
Hermans and creative partner Pat Hibbard dream up a story that one of the box retailer’s stores battles Amazon with a shopping-experience-enhancement plan: Have employees dress as their favorite Christmastime characters in a toyland theme. The rah-rah store manager is into team building and employee rewards.
Much, much goes into setting up the next song. Many of the songs are from Christmas albums that big acts have come up with, including additions to the genre by Taylor Swift, Def Leppard, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty and U2.
Let Me Be Frank Productions doesn’t make same old, same old Christmas shows.
As always, all the singers act as individual characters they are dressed as. This time, they go from a Sugar Plum Fairy with a sweet tooth for candy and nut packages she happens to find open, to a sassy Mrs. Santa Claus, to an Elvis in a fire-engine red and snowflake-enhanced jumpsuit, to the pointy-hatted elf from the movie “Elf,” who spouts scientific explanations on any topic under the sun. And more.
All sorts of kidding goes into the character-making. Frank Hermans’ Elvis outfit, for instance, includes an ankle bracelet compliments of the Brown County Sheriff’s Office… in keeping with his character’s life of misfit messin’ up.
All the characters are loose wheels, with the loosest being Blake Hermans and Zach Hibbard as Heatmiser and Snowmiser, respectively, from “The Year Without a Santa Claus.” Along with individual features, the two team for an outstanding rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The song has scores of versions. Theirs is especially over-the-top physical comedy with tongue-in-cheek add-in lines. The two go through the whole songs – the leaping lords and ladies dancing and maids a-milking and the whole shebang – always ending up with Zach Hibbard being the tree and Blake Hermans on his back squawking like a partridge in a pear tree. The thing is funny and amazing and ends with the two reeling from the workout.
The general tone of the show is fun and games with Tom Verbrick, dressed as Scrooge, as the eager store manager weaving the storyline. The music is primarily pop (star-driven) with the prime luster coming from the three female singers as soloists and/or teammates. An example is Sarah Hibbard taking the lead on “Santa Baby,” with Amy Riemer and Lisa Borley adding colors in support.
A major section is “The First Noel.” Lisa Borley takes the sensitive lead; she is silhouetted at the start in special lighting effects. Behind her providing harmonic support are Amy Riemer, Frank Hermans, Sarah Hibbard, Tom Verbrick, Blake Hermans and Zach Hibbard. The song is part of the reverence I referred to.
It also comes in “In the Bleak Midwinter” with Blake Hermans soloing and in “O Come All Ye Faithful” with Amy Riemer, who soars in an especially long and pure note.
The costuming, the dance add-ins, the band setting a multitude of musical landscapes (Dennis Panneck playing five guitars), goofy comedy, serious moments (some referencing charity), personal anecdotes – there’s a whole lot in this Christmas package. Very entertaining.
After 20 years, it’s pretty clear that Let Me Be Frank Productions is something else.
The Green Bay show troupe’s 20th anniversary show “Frank Fontaine’s Bandstand USA” is something else again.
The show is stacked with ‘50s/’60s hit songs, flashy singing, lively dancing, sassy humor, send-up comedy, special guests and a whole lotta life.
It’s entertaining, in the way that Let Me Be Frank Productions entertains: Tell a story that is kinda/sorta based in fact and unleash songs.
This show has a double-edged story. It imagines a star showman who is flush with glitz and vanity. First, he puts on a pop-hit show in his home turf TV studio. Then, in the second half, he hits the road for remote show (truly so) in a Escanaba, Michigan.
Five of the cast members play two sets of characters. They go from teasing types in the first half to super lampooners in the second. Escanaba is poked fun at up and down, backward and forward… and then some.
Stuffed in are made-up commercials, two of which are loaded with double entendre meanings.
Singing is at the fore, as usual, but this show almost always is in motion with dancing. Some of that dancing is lampoon, too.
Here is a glimpse of how this went down on opening night Friday: At the end, namesake Frank Hermans has introduced his cast and guests and creative partner Pat Hibbard has introduced Frank Hermans. They shake hands, which they seldom do on stage in their hundred-something productions spanning thousands of performances. It’s moment of appreciation of one another. Soon, after some bows, the curtains start to close but the audience is still in the midst of a blossoming standing ovation. Frank Hermans calls for the curtains to fully open again. That happens, and all on stage savor the moment.
This production is packed with stories. Some:
+ The first time “Frank Fontaine’s Bandstand USA” was done was 2004. The troupe was Frank’s Dinner Theatre Players then. The location was the SC Grand Banquet and Convention Center in Lawrence.
+ Performances along the way in this production will have various performers step in for guest appearances. Friday, two were met with big responses – Suzan Teofilo Sherman for a lustrous “Where the Boys Are” and Dan Rafferty for a rip-roaring “Great Balls of Fire.”
+ Two past regulars have returned for the full run. Each has points of fascination. Jennifer Kanzelberger Polara is commuting from Arizona (what?) to be in this production. She was in the original. This is what I wrote in the Green Bay Press-Gazette: “Jenny Kanzelberger continually shines. Her voice suits such tunes as “Stupid Cupid,” “I Like Bread and Butter” and “He’s So Fine.” Her choreography keeps the show bouncing along. Kanzelberger’s joy in performance is infectious. She’s 17.” Ditto today (plus 15 years, a law degree and a husband). Paul Evansen is doubling as anchor/reporter on WFRV-TV and stage performer (singing, dancing, comical guy). The humor is sometimes things he could never get away with on the air, notably as commercial pitchman as part owner of Delta County Taxidermy, a Yooper-driven bit that has enough double meanings to stuff a bear with.
+ Speaking of double meanings, Frank Hermans is a pitchman for Niagara, a starch that has the same properties as a product with a similar name. That routine was in the 2004 production, as was Hermans. From the 2004 review: “Hermans has the look and manner of a star – beleaguered as he is in this case – and it’s no secret Hermans can sing just about any song he wishes and deliver the goods with flair.” Ditto in this production.
+ Also still at it from the 2004 production are Pat Hibbard and Tom Verbrick. Pat Hibbard, character/bass player, again is featured in “Runaround Sue” and “Devil with the Blue Dress.” Tom Verbrick again “is strong in support in song and dance. His second-act look – a hunched up nerd in horn-rimmed glasses – is priceless.” That’s because in “You’re Sixteen” he goes from singing in lisping, spitting ways to crooning handsomely.
+ Everybody plays characters. Let Me Be Frank Productions shows don’t just crank out songs. The singers are somebody. Lisa Borley and Amy Riemer are oh so good at singing in colorful ways, plus they have extra zip in portraits of comical women. This time, Lisa Borley is both a Hollywood la-de-dahhh teen and a Yooper girl, boots and dee’s and do’s and all. Amy Riemer plays a ditzy TV assistant, stacked beehive hair, glam dress and malaprop humor and all. Michael O’Malley sends up the persona of a TV show gofer, more than a bit fey.
+ Song after song is infectious, with the band feeding that. What happens out front is sparked by the skills of Dennis Panneck, Tony Pilz, Adam Cain and Pat Hibbard.
+ The run of this production promises to have many colorful moments as more talent joins for guest appearances. Notably, co-founder Joe Kiedinger will be aboard Oct. 3 and 4.
Frank Fontaine – Frank Hermans
Pat Pierce and Pat La Pierre – Pat Hibbard
“Rate it Girl” Amy Angel – Amy Riemer
Jennifer Jansen and Jenny Jeez Em Crums – Jennifer Kanzelberger Polera
Paul Pencil Neck and Paul Leo Vaccine – Paul Evansen
Tommy Tonsils and Tom Spitz – Tom Verbrick
Lisa Lovely and Lisa LeRoy – Lisa Borley
Make-up artist Michael Magic – Michael O’Malley
Cameo appearance: Suzan Teofilo Sherman – Sept. 20 and 21
Cameo appearance: Dan Rafferty – Sept. 20
Cameo appearance: Maggie (McGinn) Dame – Sept. 21
Cameo appearance: Jack Janowicz – Sept. 26, 27 and 28
Cameo appearance: Kasey (Corrado) Schumacher – Sept. 26 and 27
Cameo appearance: Co-founder Joe Kiedinger – Oct. 3 and 4
Cameo appearance: Kelly (Haddad) Gusloff – Oct. 3 and 4
Cameo appearance: David Gusloff – Oct. 3 and 4
Cameo appearance: Emily Terrell Paulsen – Oct. 10, 11 and 12
Band: Guitars – Dennis Panneck, keyboard – Tony Pilz; drums – Adam Cain; bass – Pat Hibbard
Running time: 2½ hours
Remaining performances: Meyer Theatre, Green Bay, to Oct. 12: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 1 p.m. Oct. 10 and 12; info: meyertheatre.org. Also, Capitol Civic Centre, Manitowoc, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23; info: cccshows.org.
Song selections (Sept. 20)
“Do You Wanna Dance” (Bobby Freeman) – Frank Hermans
“Locomotion” (Dee Dee Sharp) – Lisa Borley
“Peppermint Twist” (Joey Dee and the Starliters) – Lisa Borley
“The Twist” (Chubby Checker) – Frank Hermans
“Let’s Twist Again” (Chubby Checker) – Frank Hermans
“Twistin’ the Night Away” (Sam Cooke) – Paul Evansen
“Poetry in Motion” sung as jingle “Poultry in Motion” (Johnny Tillotson) – Pat Hibbard
“Blame It on the Bossa Nova” (Eydie Gorme) – Amy Riemer
“The Night Has a Thousand Eyes” (Bobby Vee) – Pat Hibbard
“Da Doo Ron Ron” (The Crystals) – Lisa Borley
“He’s So Fine” (The Chiffons) – Jennifer Kanzelberger Polara
“I Will Follow Him” (Little Peggy March) – Amy Riemer
“Goin’ Out of My Head” (Little Anthony and The Imperials) – Jennifer Kanzelberger Polara
“Where the Boys Are” (Connie Francis) – Suzan Teofilo Sherman
“Name Game” (Shirley Ellis) – Amy Riemer
“Land of a Thousand Dances” (Wilson Pickett) – Pat Hibbard
Medley of Duane Eddy – Band
“Simple Simon” (Fruitgum) – Amy Riemer
“Good Lovin’” (The Young Rascals) – Frank Hermans
“You’re Sixteen” (Johnny Burnette) – Tom Verbrick
“Stupid Cupid” (Connie Francis) – Jennifer Kanzelberger Polara
“Run Around Sue” (Dion) – Pat Hibbard
“Dancin’ in the Streets” (Martha and the Vandellas) – Lisa Borley
“Strollin’” (The Diamonds) – Frank Hibbard
“Bread and Butter” (The Newbeats) – Jennifer Kanzelberger Polara
“Be My Baby” (The Ronettes) – Amy Riemer
“Jimmy Mack” (Martha Reeves & The Vandellas) – Lisa Borley
“Great Balls of Fire” (Jerry Lee Lewis) Dan Rafferty
“Devil with the Blue Dress” (Shorty Long) – Pat Hibbard
“Good Golly Miss Molly” (Little Richard) – Pat Hibbard
“Go Away Little Girl” (Bobby Vee) – Frank Hermans
“Who’s Sorry Now” (Connie Francis) – Amy Riemer
“Wild One” (Bobby Rydell) – Michael O’Malley
“Higher and Higher” (Jackie Wilson) – All
NEXT: “Frank’s Christmas,” Dec. 4 (Manitowoc), Dec. 6-28 (Green Bay).
“Frank Fontaine’s Bandstand USA” opens at the Meyer Theatre on Friday, September 20 with a benefit show for the Capitol Civic Centre in Manitowoc. The Capitol Civic Centre is currently undergoing extensive renovations to continue their vision and mission for future generations of performances, and we’re happy to help support their efforts. Our performance on Thursday, October 3 will benefit the Redbird Vocal Music Booster Club at De Pere High School. The De Pere High School choir program includes various choral opportunities for students as well as a competitive show choir and is supported by this booster club. Jam Session is the DPHS competitive show choir, and they are hosting the only 2020 show choir competition in Northeastern Wisconsin on February 1, 2020. We’re proud to support local educational opportunities for students that inspire young artists and performers.
On each respective performance, $10 of every ticket will go toward these deserving arts organizations.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV)
Take Rhinelander. Add the Hodag, the weird creature of only-in-Wisconsin myth. Add Hodag Country Festival, where country music stars have played for 42 years. Add “Scooby-Do Mystery,” a TV habit for cartoonty folks. Add “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” the road flick with a couple of screw-loose buddies. Add Let Me Be Frank Productions, the inventive show outfit of Green Bay.
The result is “The Hodag & Scooby Dude,” the hundred and somethingth comedy with music concocted by writing partners Frank Hermans and Pat Hibbard.
The show opened Friday at the Meyer Theatre. Fifteen more performances continue to Aug. 17.
The story is goofy as get out, naturally. The music is a heaping lunch buffet of country from pour my heart out to chew tobacco, spit.
The deal with this show is all the songs have been performed at the Hodag Country Festival or by stars who have played at the popular north country festival. A story is made up from everything in the first paragraph.
Frank Hermans, Amy Riemer, Lisa Borley, Tom Verbrick and Michael O’Malley portray “Scooby-Doo” characters. Blake Matthews and Zach Hibbard are Bill and Ted, respectively. Sarah Hibbard and Pat Hibbard portray characters for this “episode,” she running a franchise of things Rhinelandarian and he being the security presence for the festival. The band plays the band – do-all country this time.
Very much in general, the women sing the from-my-aching-heart songs and the men let loose the rocky numbers.
Highlights include “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” (Amy Riemer as a colorful storyteller), “How Do I Live” (Lisa Borley soulful rather than soaring this time), “Mama He’s Crazy” (Sarah Hibbard setting off the flashy female singing), “Nothin’ but the Taillights” (Frank Hermans kickin’, with everybody dancing), “Hicktown” (Pat Hibbard rocky rockin’, as usual), “Red Solo Cup” (Tom Verbrick as a renegade), “Boys ’Round Here” (Michael O’Malley gnarly – yeah!) and “Chicken Fried” (Zach Hibbard latching on to the home/flag/country anthem feel).
Blake Matthews tends to make songs his own, and this time he has the most interesting interpretation. The lines of Hunter Hayes’ “Wanted” include “wanna wrap you up… kiss your lips… make you feel wanted… call you mine.” In this interpretation, the romance is for a bottle of beer that he holds. The song is sung straight, not as a joke. Subtle.
Stepping back a bit, family figures in the lineup for “The Hodag & Scooby Dude.” Frank Hermans and Amy Riemer are married. Blake Matthews is a son of Frank Hermans. Pat Hibbard and Zach Hibbard are father and son, with Sarah Hibbard not being related. It makes for one-of-a-kind adventures.
Fred – Frank Hermans
Daphne – Amy Riemer
Velma – Lisa Borley
Shaggy – Michael O’Malley
Scooby Dude – Tom Verbrick
Sheriff Smith – Pat Hibbard
Rynder Rhinelander – Sarah Hibbard
Ted – Blake Matthews
Bill – Zach Hibbard
Band: Dennis Panneck, guitars; Pat Hibbard, bass; Jeff Arnold, keyboards; Adam Cain, drums
Running time: One hour, 55 minutes
Remaining performances: To Aug. 17: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 1 p.m. Aug. 15, 17
“Hicktown” (Jason Aldean) – Pat Hibbard, all
“Mama He’s Crazy” (The Judds) – Sarah Hibbard
“Creepin’” (Eric Church) – Zach Hibbard
“If I Die Young” (The Band Perry) – Lisa Borley
“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” (Reba McEntire) – Amy Riemer
“Gentle on My Mind” (Glen Campbell) – Frank Hermans
“Red Solo Cup” (Toby Keith) – Tom Verbrick
“Honey (Open That Door)” (Ricky Skaggs) – Blake Matthews
“Road Less Traveled” (Lauren Alaina) – Lisa Borley
“Nothin’ but the Taillights” (Clint Black) – Frank Hermans, all
“Scooby-Doo Theme Song” – Band
“The Way You Love Me” (Faith Hill) – Sarah Hibbard
“Giddy on Up” (Laura Bell Bundy) – Amy Riemer
“Boys ’Round Here” (Blake Shelton) – Michael O’Malley
“Wanted” (Hunter Hayes) – Blake Matthews
“God Bless Texas” (Little Texas) – Pat Hibbard
“Ride” (Martina McBride) – Amy Riemer
“How Do I Live” (LeAnn Rimes) – Lisa Borley
“Chicken Fried” (Zac Brown Band) – Zach Hibbard
Blonde jokes and gym jokes and songs of the ’80s. Welcome to Let Me Be Frank Productions’ “Vic Tanny – Where Do You Work Out?”
The latest show by the Green Bay showbiz troupe is running to April 27 at the Meyer Theatre in Green Bay, with a visit April 17 to Capitol Civic Centre in Manitowoc.
This show’s story focuses on the arrival of work-out franchises in Green Bay. Naturally, Olivia Newton-John’s 1981 super hit “(Let’s Get) Physical” gets big play. Other songs tend to fit what the singers are doing in their character – generally, setting up the next song.
One amusing sidelight (and gym joke) is Michael O’Malley, playing a gym rat in the background (mostly) doing one little exercise, then another and another and another and another. He never quits. By the time the show ends, the limber O’Malley has had a workout indeed. That’s capped by his featured song, “Melt with You,” in which he springs around the stage.
An amusing main feature (and gym joke/blonde joke) is Sarah Hibbard, playing an air-head aerobics instructor. Sarah, the character, is the straight-on stereotype of a perky, bubble-brained workout “gal” who cheerfully instructs folks on better bodies through endless stretches and pumps of every muscle. Sarah is continuously teased with blonde jokes, which she doesn’t get. When Sarah answers with her own blonde jokes, it’s clear Sarah doesn’t know what a blonde joke is. Not a joke: Sarah Hibbard can sing brilliantly. She is featured in “Physical” and the pop-lush “Take My Breath Away.”
Other color comes from Amy Riemer (“Open Your Heart”), Lisa Borley (“I Feel for You”), Frank Hermans (“Working for the Weekend”), Pat Hibbard (“Just What I Need”), Zach Hibbard (“Sister Christian”) and Tom Verbrick (“Break My Stride”).
Note on the three Hibbards: Pat and Zach are father and son. Sarah is unrelated.
In the story, Tom Verbrick is Mickey, who runs an old-line gym where punching bags and dead weights are the thing for lugs like Michael and Zach. Mickey is behind to the bank (Pat Hibbard’s character) and is being pushed by Lisa and Sarah to get on board a Vic Tanny Health Club franchise to save his hide. Frank and Amy are a high-end deadbeat couple at the gym whose main song, “Almost Paradise,” glorifies their love.
It’s a very different story, but, then again, so is Let Me Be Frank Productions’ string of fictional stories hung together on a thread of fact. In this case, Frank Hermans says in his pre-show introductions that he was a Vic Tanny member for three years, working out there only five times and getting stuck paying for the last two years even though he lived in another city. In a sense, this show is a payback, with songs and comedy.
Cast: Lisa Borley, Frank Hermans, Amy Riemer, Pat Hibbard, Sarah Hibbard, Zach Hibbard, Michael O’Malley, Tom Verbrick
Band: Dennis Panneck (guitars), Pat Hibbard (bass), Tony Pilz (keyboards), Adam Cain (drums).
Running time: Two hours, 15 minutes
Remaining performances: Meyer Theatre in Green Bay: 8 p.m. April 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20; 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. April 25; 8 p.m. April 26; 1 and 8 p.m. April 27 (meyertheatre.org). Capitol Civic Centre in Manitowoc: 7:30 p.m. April 17 (cccshows.org).
“Eye of the Tiger/Push It” mash up, Survivor and Salt-N-Pepa – All
“Almost Paradise,” Mike Reno and Ann Wilson – Frank Hermans and Amy Riemer
“What I Like About You,” The Romantics – Pat Hibbard
“Hey Mickey,” Toni Basil – Lisa Borley
“Rebel Yell,” Billy Idol – Zach Hibbard
“Escapade,” Janet Jackson – Amy Riemer
“Human,” The Human League – Frank Hermans
“Take My Breath Away,” Berlin – Sarah Hibbard
“Head to Toe,” Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam – Lisa Borley
“Break My Stride,” Matthew Wilder – Tom Verbrick, All
“Physical,” Olivia Newton-John – Sarah Hibbard, Lisa Borley, Amy Riemer
“Open Your Heart,” Madonna – Amy Riemer
“Just What I Needed,” The Cars – Pat Hibbard
“Sweet Love,” Anita Baker – Sarah Hibbard
“Melt with You,” Modern English – Michael O’Malley
“Sister Christian,” Night Ranger – Zach Hibbard
“I Feel for You,” Chaka Khan – Pat Hibbard, Lisa Borley; Chaka Khan rap with Zach Hibbard
“Shadows of the Night,” Pat Benatar – Amy Riemer
“Working for the Weekend,” Loverboy – Frank Hermans, All