Originally shared here.

Warren Gerds, Critic at Large. GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A Green Bay TV anchorman got into radio ownership and along the way purchased a station from a disc jockey/owner who then turned to the ministry.

Thirty-seven years later, that has become the story for a comedy musical by a troupe that creates such shows and whose namesake attends the church of the former disc jockey/owner.

The title of the show draws on how the station identified itself on air, “WOMA Algoma, You’ve Struck Gold,” when it featured hit songs from the 1960s and ’70s.

The characters in the show are the people who worked at the station on air and behind the scenes – all of whom sing in the comedy musical of Let Me Be Frank Productions show troupe.

In keeping with all Frank’s shows about people and places around these parts, the facts and history are fractured – to add bits of humor and fun to lead into the next song, sung in often-golden ways with a band adding to the musical polish.

This time, co-writers/directors Frank Hermans and Pat Hibbard concoct stuff about fish falling from the sky during Algoma’s Shanty Days festivities and a news director who believes in imaginary walls and doors and three women workers who sing the station’s theme song in perfect harmony at the drop of the hat.

This is all because the Rev. Dale Eggert ministers at Faith United Methodist Church in Brillion and parishioners include show folks Frank Hermans and his wife, Amy Riemer.

“He’s my pastor,” Frank Hermans says to introduce the show in which he portrays Dale Eggert at the time WOMA was sold to onetime WLUK-TV anchorman Ray Wheeler.

That’s quite the backstory for a show filled with hits from a golden era of popular song-making.

Especially hitting the spot is a duet, “The Closer I Get to You,” sung radiantly and with layers of meaning by Amy Riemer and Frank Hermans.

That follows a brilliant sequence that only Frank’s can do because it can: Six songs from brother groups sung one after another by singers matched to a song’s style. Taking turns are Sarah Galati for the Everly Brothers, Frank Hermans for the Allman Brothers, Lisa Borley for the Doobie Brothers, Tom Verbrick for The Righteous Brothers, Amy Riemer for The Isley Brothers and Pat Hibbard for The Chambers Brothers. And the band set the plate colorfully for all.

Frank’s singers have a way of interpreting songs to blend their vocal style to their character’s situation – not duplicating but fitting.

Tom Verbrick has two voices in this show. One is squeaky/nerdy as the news guy, and the other is from the deep end, as in “King of the Road.”

Frank Hermans is versatile as always, with “Take Good Care of My Baby” as the story climax song as Dale Eggert says goodbye to his station.

Amy Riemer is master of embracing a R&B/soul sound as in “On Broadway.”

Pat Hibbard is the rock guy with a kind of joy in the muscle of songs like “It’s My Life,” while adding layers with his bass guitar playing.

Lisa Borley is the skyrocket person, sparking such high-fliers as “Shame” and “Band of Gold.”

Sarah Galati is an actor-singer who deals in persona as in Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better.”

And there are the moments when the singers stand back to admire what Dennis Panneck explores on guitar, Tony Pilz lets fly on keyboards and Andrew Klaus gets into on drums.

And this time, all this is because a guy who bought an early FM radio station felt a different calling. Well, that’s showbiz, I guess.

***

Running time: Two hours, seven minutes

Remaining performances: Meyer Theatre, Green Bay: 7:30 p.m. April 7-9, 14-16; 1 and 7:30 p.m. April 21; 7:30 p.m. April 22; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. April 23, with info: meyertheatre.org. Capitol Civic Centre, Manitowoc: 7:30 p.m. April 13, with info: cccshows.org.

Cast:

Dale Eggert – Frank Herman

Tim Wentworth – Tom Verbrick

Sarah Martini – Sarah Galati

Sandy – Amy Riemer

Sally – Lisa Borley

Tom Wagner – Pat Hibbard

Band and support: Dennis Panneck (guitars), Pat Hibbard (bass), Tony Pilz (keyboards), Andrew Klaus (drums), Ross Loining (lights), Kelly Klaus (sound)

Originally posted here. 
February 5, 2022

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A whole lot is going on in any Let Me Be Frank Productions show. Together, they’re a Green Bay cultural phenomenon – homegrown originality that has lasted for 22 years and counting.

Frank’s latest comedy with music of a popular music era is “The Franky Bunch,” which is running much of the month at Green Bay’s Meyer Theatre with a side date at Manitowoc’s Capitol Civic Centre.

The show kind of/sort of borrows from “The Brady Bunch” that ran in prime-time TV from 1969 to 1974. There are takeoffs on characters and the main story line, with music picked from the charts during that time. Obvious in recent Frank’s shows, the music is cranked up loudly.

The story gives the singers characters they can build singing emotions into. That’s a high-tone way of saying the singing is really good.

My goodness, in this show there’s a presence (not copying but embracing an aura) of Aretha Franklin – Amy Riemer in “You’re All I Need to Get By”…

Of Stevie Wonder – Blake Hermans in “My Cherie Amour”…

Of Roberta Flack – Sarah Galati in “Feel Like Makin’ Love”…

Of a kind of solar flare – Lisa Borley in “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All”…

Of rockin’ flair – Frank Hermans with the band that can play practically anything in the popular realm, Dennis Panneck laying in the guitar finesse, in “Alright Now.”

Without the story, these would just be a list of songs from a karaoke night. With the story, there are laughs along with a bit of cheese and cultural shocks. The cheese: References to hanky panky. Cultural shocks: Dad Brady’s favoritism for his three sons over his three stepdaughters, spiced with layers of male superiority that brought consistent audience reaction on opening night Friday.

Some of the laughs in the story have to do with the parental unit insisting that the children are grown enough so they should get a life and move out of the house. An interior joke is the people playing the children are not teenagers, and two are of grandparent age. Frank’s artistic license is that of special decree that begins, “Be it resolved that – only in Green Bay, Wisconsin – there shall be two fellows who write anything they want for a laff so singers can sing stuff that sort of fits in… dah, dah, dah.”

Each singer-actor creates a personality who teases his/her TV original mercilessly. There is a lot of inside stuff about the original series, though it’s not necessary to be into that show because the satire is super-thick – with the performers enjoying layers and layers of quirkiness. Two samples: Greg (Pat Hibbard) is “affectionate” toward step-sister Marcia (Amy Riemer), who has developed an “affectionate” TikTok audience. Peter (Tom Verbrick) squeakily whines about being overlooked, though nobody pays attention to him and his father can’t ever get his name right.

All this is done in ’60s-style flashy-colored clothing along with wigs galore.

It’s bizarre fun, Frank’s style. And loud.

Side thought: Entertainers love audiences. It goes with the territory. Sometimes, they signal that on stage. Sarah Galati has a gesture in “Feel Like Makin’ Love” that goes with the phrase “to you.” She opens her arms, and it seems her “you” is the audience in that moment. Subtle.

***

Running time: Two hours, five minutes

Remaining performances: Meyer Theatre, Green Bay: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5; 10-12, 17-19; 1 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25; 1 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26; info: meyertheatre.org. Capitol Civic Centre, Manitowoc: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16; info: cccshows.org.

Cast:

Dad Brady – Frank Hermans

Greg – Pat Hibbard

Marcia – Amy Riemer

Peter – Tom Verbrick

Cindy – Lisa Borley

Jan – Sarah Galati

Bobby – Blake Hermans

Band and support: Dennis Panneck (guitars), Pat Hibbard (bass), Tony Pilz (keyboards), Andrew Klaus (drums), Ross Loining (lights) and Kelly Klaus (sound)

***

Songs

Act I

“Brady Bunch Theme” song – All, with video

“Smile a Little Smile for Me” (Flying Machine) – Frank Hermans

“Oh My My” (Ringo Starr) – Tom Verbrick

“My Baby Loves Lovin’” (White Plains) – Blake Hermans

“Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast” (Wayne Newton) – Frank Hermans

“Everybody Plays the Fool” (The Main Ingredient) – Sarah Galati

“Peaceful” (Helen Reddy) – Amy Riemer

“I’ll Be There” (The Jackson 5) – Lisa Borley

“Give Me Love” (George Harrison) – Pat Hibbard

“Love or Let Me Be Lonely” (Friends of Distinction) – Sarah Galati, all

Act II

“(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All” (The 5th Dimension) – Lisa Borley

“Girl” (Davy Jones) – Blake Hermans

“Brand New Key” (Melanie) – Amy Riemer

“Feel Like Makin’ Love” (Roberta Flack) – Sarah Galati

“Mr. Big Stuff” (Jean Knight) – Lisa Borley

“My Cherie Amour” (Stevie Wonder) – Blake Hermans

“Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” (Steam) – Pat Hibbard

“Alright Now” (Free) – Frank Hermans

“You’re All I Need to Get By” (Aretha Franklin) – Amy Riemer

“It’s a Sunshine Day” (The Brady Bunch) – All

***

NEXT (at Meyer): “WOMA Algoma: You’ve Struck Gold,” April 1-23.

THE VENUE: Stop and look around the place. Meyer Theatre’s auditorium is an eye full. Located at 117 S. Washington St. in downtown Green Bay, the Meyer is one of the state’s colorful historic theaters. In its current form, the Robert T. Meyer Theatre opened Feb. 27, 2002. It seats approximately 1,000. The building dates back much farther. It opened Feb. 14, 1930, as one of the palatial Fox movie houses. The place is picturesque. The theater’s interior aura was its saving grace toward the end of the 20th century, when the building was faced an uncertain fate. The architectural/decorative style is defined as Spanish Atmospheric. The auditorium is designed in the manner of a Moorish courtyard of old. The eclectic mix of architectural styles and colors carries throughout the lobbies.

THE PEOPLE: Robert Meyer was president and chief executive officer of Tape Inc. of Green Bay. The theater took his name at the behest of his wife, Betty (Janet Elizabeth) Rose Meyer, whose financial contribution at a crucial time helped revitalize the building. The Rose family has a history of deep commitment to and involvement in the well-being of Green Bay. Robert Meyer died in 1984, Betty Rose Meyer in 2008.

“The Franky Bunch” opens Friday, February 4th, with a benefit show for Curative Connections. For more than 70 years, Curative Connections has helped families, seniors, and people with disabilities find support and care due to aging, dementia, brain injury, or other disability. For the opening night performance of “The Franky Bunch,” $10 of every sold ticket goes to this valuable organization in N. E. WI.

Here’s the story of a lovely lady (off in Hawaii taking a rest of her own) who was bringing up three very lovely girls. All of them had hair of gold like their mother – one brushes it thousands of times a day, one has lost her glasses, and one is caring for her Kitty Karry-All. Here’s a story of a man named Frank Brady, who was busy with three boys of his own. They were four men, living all together — and they were struggling to pay the mortgage. One day, Dad Brady decides to enlist the help of Greg, Peter, Bobby, Marcia, Jan, and Cindy to raise some family funds. Will they be able to come up with an idea to save the day and their house? You’ll have to see in “The Franky Bunch”!

Tickets are available at meyertheatre.org, ticketstaronline.com, or by calling Ticketstar at 920-494-3401.

Cast: Frank Hermans (Dad Brady), Pat Hibbard (Greg), Amy Riemer (Marcia), Tom Verbrick (Peter), Lisa Borley (Cindy), Sarah Galati (Jan), Blake Hermans (Bobby)

Band: Dennis Panneck (guitars), Pat Hibbard (bass), Tony Pilz (keyboards), Andrew Klaus (drums).

Lights: Ross Loining

Sound: Kelly Klaus

Song selections:

My Cherie Amour – Stevie Wonder

Girl – Davy Jones

My Baby Loves Lovin’ – White Plains

Smile a Little Smile for Me – Flying Machine

Alright Now – Free

Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast – Wayne Newton

Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye – Steam

Give Me Love – George Harrison

You’re All I Need to Get By – Aretha Franklin

Peaceful – Helen Reddy

Brand New Key – Melanie

Everybody Plays the Fool – The Main Ingredient

Love or Let Me Be Lonely – Friends of Distinction

Feel Like Makin’ Love – Roberta Flack

(Last Night) I Didn’t Get To Sleep At All – The 5th Dimension

I’ll Be There – The Jackson 5

Mr. Big Stuff – Jean Knight

Oh My My – Ringo Starr

Brady Bunch Theme song

It’s A Sunshine Day – The Brady Bunch

Originally posted here. June 14, 2021. GREEN BAYWis. (WFRV) – Comically evil and hormonal forces are at work to force a merger of St. Vincent Hospital and Bellin Hospital. If that sounds like a soap opera, it is.

It’s the story of “Bays of Our Lives,” the latest creation of Let Me Be Frank Productions show troupe that is running for seven more performances in Meyer Theatre in downtown Green Bay.

The out-there story-making is an excuse for singers to be characters so their songs make sense – silly as that sense may be at times.

Writers/directors Frank Hermans and Pat Hibbard and their entourage are quite good at brewing up this hybrid entertainment. The female singers especially light up the stage with sensational and/or sensitive singing.

Amy Riemer tugs the soul with “The Heart Will Go On” from the movie “Titanic.” Lustrous.

Lisa Borley lets rip with “I Drove All Night.” Powerhouse.

Sarah Galati explores “Rolling in the Deep.” Multi-colored.

All the while, the three are playing salacious women mired in mayhem and loving it.

Frank’s shows usually turn around songs from an era. This time, the songs turn around daytime soap operas as the source. The characters in the story are from various soaps, and there is a lot of name-dropping along the way. Being in the know about the soap stuff makes little difference because the mishmash simply is for fun, which is easy to understand.

Wigs. Dressing up. Some dance moves. Light shows. Band action. Byplay among the players. Entertaining atmosphere. “Bays of Our Lives” has all that.

The show teases the soaps with overly dramatic moments, bursts of momentous notes from the keyboard and much internal dialogue when a character speaks out loud what she or he is thinking, and then somebody says something like, “Do you know we can hear you?”

This show has a husband-wife duet in “Friends and Lovers.” Frank Hermans broadens his voice to fit needs for Amy Riemer’s colorful power in the song.

Pat Hibbard has many clever turns playing with words as a sinister soap character who keeps being reincarnated… and clever turns on bass guitar and singing in the infectious “Bad Case of Loving You.”

Tom Verbrick is novelty on the hoof, from his curly-curly blond wig to his catchy songs, notably the flashy “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu.”

Seating at the Meyer Theatre is spread out for COVID-19 consideration. Of note, Frank’s has been one of the few entertainment entities in the region that has kept on keeping on through a big chunk of the pandemic. The productions at the Meyer Theatre have been full, live, in-person shows.

Stepping back and taking a look at “Bays of Our Lives”: The thing works soap opera stuff into Green Bay stuff lots of people know – its historic hospitals. The thing is original. It’s new. From the bones of the story and characters, songs had to be found to kind of fit what’s happening. The band has to adapt to whatever the music style is. Think about movement, the look of the stage, the look of performers. So much fits together for the – dramatic organ music behind a deep voice here – “Bays of Our Lives.”

Running time: Two hours, 3 minutes

Remaining performances: 1 and 7:30 p.m. June 17; 7:30 p.m. June 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26

Info: meyertheatre.org

Cast:

Frank Hermans – Dr. Noah Drake

Pat Hibbard – Stefano DiMera

Tom Verbrick – Luke Spencer

Amy Riemer – Erica Kane

Lisa Borley – Laura Spencer

Sarah Galati – Kristen DiMera)

Band: Dennis Panneck (guitars), Pat Hibbard (bass), Tony Pilz (keyboards), Andrew Klaus (drums).

Support: Ross Loining, lights; Kelly Klaus, sound

Songs

Act I

“Love Somebody” (Rick Springfield) – Frank Hermans, all

“This is the Time” (Billy Joel) – Pat Hibbard

“Hello” (Adele) – Sarah Galati

“I Drove All Night” (Celine Dion) – Lisa Borley

“Coconut” (Harry Nilsson) – Tom Verbrick

“(Simply) The Best” (Tina Turner) – Lisa Borley

“Friends and Lovers” (Carl Anderson, Gloria Loring) – Frank Hermans, Amy Riemer

“Speak to the Sky” (Rick Springfield) – Frank Hermans

“Through the Eyes of Love” (Melissa Manchester) – Amy Riemer

Act II

“Can’t Get You Out of My Head” (Kylie Minogue) – Sarah Galati

“Bad Case of Loving You” (Robert Palmer) – Pat Hibbard

“My Heart Will Go On” (Celine Dion) – Amy Riemer

“Another Sad Love Song” (Kelly Clarkson) – Amy Riemer

“Torn” (Natalie Imbruglia) – Amy Riemer

“All I Need” (Jack Wagner) – Frank Hermans

“Rolling in the Deep” (Adele) – Sarah Galati

“Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” (Johnny Rivers) – Tom Verbrick

Original post can be found here.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A young woman discovers she has three possible fathers. A certain popular movie and stage musical tells the story in glossy ways, built around infectiously exciting songs.

In “Menoma Mia,” a young woman discovers she has three possible fathers. But Let Me Be Frank Productions show troupe of Green Bay takes the gloss off and puts the hormones on to tell the story, built around the same infectiously exciting songs along with other hits.

Double entendre meanings are ladled out by all the characters. What’s said and done often is slightly dangerous in propriety. The result is a spoof of the certain popular movie and stage musical – with an earthy, laugh-out-loud vengeance. “Menoma Mia” doesn’t hold back the tangy cheese.

“Menoma Mia” also toys with the stories of the three possible fathers from the show “Mamma Mia!” Instead of a Greek isle resort, the guys are coming to a Karaoke festival at a bowling alley in Menominee, Michigan. One guy is from Chicago, another from Green Bay and the third from Upper Michigan.

The show is loaded with Yooper talk. In addition, the guy from the U.P. has comical qualities that make the character particularly colorful. He’s an ex-con.

In “Mamma Mia!” and “Menoma Mia,” the name “Sheridan” factors in. It happens that the bowling place in Menominee is of that name – in reality, too – and both “Mia’s” have mother-daughter characters with the last name Sheridan. On opening night Friday, people who came to the Meyer Theatre from Menominee got all excited about the name connections. In a first for Let Me Be Frank Productions, this show will end its performances in Marinette because of the story’s connections to its neighboring city.

A reminder about this production, which was originally scheduled for April 2020: With the COVID-19 pandemic still holding on, it is a rarity as a live, in-person, full-scale adult show with a socially distanced audience. It is put on like normal in an abnormal situation. Friday night’s audience generally sat in twos and fours, with rows alternately empty. The show was “well attended,” such as what that means now.

Ten songs from ABBA are in “Menoma Mia.” The band and the singers deliver the goods in each. The lead singers vary, but the result is always splashy.

Among other songs, I especially like the performances of two. “I Know, I’ll Never Love This Way Again” finds Amy Riemer enveloping the emotion with her specially rounded voice. “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” puts Pat Hibbard a bit out of his rock-powered realm but zipping into the rhythm smack of Paul Simon’s lyrics.

Color sparks the show in quirky costuming and light shows and the steady role of shenanigans.

In the story, Amy Riemer plays the mother and Sarah Galati the daughter. The possible fathers are played by Frank Hermans, Pat Hibbard and Tom Verbrick. The long-lost friend of the mother is played by Lisa Borley. Playing beer-drinking buddies are Zach Hibbard and Blake Matthews, who get the danger thingie going with rascally irreverence.

Parts of the plot and storyline are held together with baling wire, which is typical of a Let Me Be Frank Productions show. But the songs get sung and the alley-cat saga gets let loose. Not much is neutered.

Creative: Writers/directors – Frank Hermans and Pat Hibbard

Cast:

Amy Sheridan – Amy Riemer

Sarah Sheridan – Sarah Galati

Lisa – Lisa Borley

Frank – Frank Hermans

Pat – Pat Hibbard

Tom – Tom Verbrick

Blake – Blake Matthews

Zach – Zach Hibbard

Band: Pat Hibbard, bass; Andrew Klaus, drums; Dennis Panneck, guitars; Tony Pilz, keyboards

Running time: Two hours, 10 minutes

Remaining performances: Meyer Theatre, Green Bay: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30, Feb. 4, 5, 6, 7; 1 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12, 13, 17, 18 and 19; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20. Info: meyertheatre.org or ticketstaronline.com. Community REC Center, Marinette: 7 p.m. Feb. 27. Info: (715) 732-5162.

Song selections

Act I

“Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” (ABBA) – Lisa Borley and all

“Feel Like Makin’ Love” (Bad Company) – Zach Hibbard

“Lay All Your Love on Me” (ABBA) – Sarah Galati

“You Make My Dreams” (Daryl Hall & John Oates) – Blake Matthews

“I Know, I’ll Never Love This Way Again” (Dionne Warwick) – Amy Riemer

“Mamma Mia” (ABBA) – Lisa Borley

“Ring My Bell” (Anita Ward) – Lisa Borley

“The Winner Takes It All” (ABBA) – Amy Riemer

“You Are the Woman” (Firefall) – Frank Hermans

“Sunday Morning Coming Down” (Johnny Cash) – Tom Verbrick

“Rock’n Me” (Steve Miller Band) – Pat Hibbard

Act II

“Take a Chance on Me” (ABBA) – Sarah Galati

“Supa Boo Pa” (Frank Hermans) – Frank Hermans

“50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” (Paul Simon) – Pat Hibbard

“Paranoid” (Black Sabbath) – Zach Hibbard

“Chiquitita” (ABBA) – Lisa Borley, Amy Riemer, Sarah Galati

“One Way or Another” (Blondie) – Sarah Galati

“The Name of the Game” (ABBA) – Amy Riemer

“Does Your Mother Know” (ABBA) – Frank Hermans

“I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” (ABBA) – Sarah Galati

“Off the Wall” (Michael Jackson) – Blake Hermans

“Dancing Queen” (ABBA) – Amy Riemer, Lisa Borley, Sarah Galati and all

Originally posted here.

Posted: Nov 29, 2020. GREEN BAYWis. (WFRV) – Going to the latest Frank’s show could make you a better person.

Seriously.

It’s a very different Frank’s show in this very different time – entertaining and filled with color and zest and vocal/visual showcases and comedy as usual – but different.

A main difference is Let Me Be Frank Productions’ “A Frank’s Christmas” is one of the few large, full-scale, live, in-person shows around due to the coronavirus COVID19 pandemic. Eighteen more performances continue to Dec. 23 at the Meyer Theatre in downtown Green Bay.

The “better person” mention has to do with the key character in the story and what his job is.

Frank Frost is a diversity trainer. Mrs. Claus has hired him to help get Santa with being “the best version of ourselves” – what to say, how say it, how to treat others, ways to explore “core values” and ways to “include others.”

Troupe namesake Frank Hermans portrays Frank Frost. Like his relative Jack Frost, “a nephew on a cousin’s side,” Frank Frost freezes things on touch. Frank Frost is unlike any characters Frank Hermans has played in 110-plus productions. Frank Hermans’ jet-black dyed head hair is replaced by his natural gray/white, shaped into a spike, and he has a natural speckled white-and-black beard. His ears are made to look like an elf’s. His suit is a poke-in-the-eye thing awash with red and white and green, as though he’s a walking Christmas tree. He speaks like a know-it-all with a blurry patter. Frank Frost is a fast-talking, double-talking, shifty, smarmy guy who has a hard time following the things he is trying to pass on to others as a diversity coach. For instance, Frank Frost constantly fights his natural instincts with the presence of sweet Amy Angel, one of Santa’s helpers.

Let Me Be Frank Productions goes a long way to create characters for singers to climb into songs, but becoming this character seems to have been a trek.

Skipping to the end, the last song is Frank Frost singing “All I Want for Christmas is You.” On the surface, it’s a person-to-person love song. Deeper in, it reminds me of what ’70s star Bobby Vinton meant in his hit “My Melody of Love” – his love for his audience. Perhaps Frank Hermans is in that ballpark with the song, though the “you” may include those around him, too. That includes an add-on – his son, Harrison Hermans, age 9, opening the show playing guitar and singing a song he, Frank Hermans, wrote.

And, yes, the show is entertaining, convoluted story aside.

Amy Riemer envelops songs, in “Ribbons and Bows” unleashing her big voice climbing the scale.

Lisa Borley is featured in sacred songs, exploring heights in “O Holy Night” and “Angels We Have Heard on High” with full backing by the other singers.

Sarah Galati climbs into the heart and head of Joni Mitchell in “River,” which flows from its start, “It’s coming on Christmas.” The song is from 1971, well before Sarah Galati was born, and she refuels its meanings.

Pat Hibbard leaps into the vocal powerhouse of the rockin’ blues of “Santa Claus is Back in Town.” And he dives into “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” just singing, not holding a bass like usual – though Saturday he held the detached arm of a ventriloquist’s doll. And he teamed with Frank Hermans to write the heady/humorous stuff in the show, including himself as a kind of earthy, street-smart, slimmed-down Santa.

Tom Verbrick, along with being a dim-witted Santa’s helper visits vintage popular songs from crooners, Gene Autry’s “Up on the House Top” and Perry Como’s “No Place Like Home for the Holidays.”

The band supports like crazy, as usual, and also gets to leap into a Trans-Siberian Orchestra piece in a finesse and power display complete with a light show.

Following Saturday’s performance, Frank Hermans thanked the audience and mentioned “we are down 80 percent” and how the entertainment industry is hurting. He also said he had COVID-19 a month ago and his wife, Amy Riemer, “Saved my life.” All I want for Christmas is you, indeed.

And, yes, the show is entertaining.

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)

This time

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.

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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. 

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Cast:

Frank Hermans (George Hamilton)

Pat Hibbard (Mayor)

   Sisters

Lisa Borley

Sarah Hibbard

Amy Riemer

   Brothers

Paul Evansen

Blake Hermans 

Tom Verbrick

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