February 3, 2023
Each time I see a Let Me Be Frank Productions show, I’m reminded how different it is to be in a show versus watching a show. I always leave with a sense of wonder and pride that I have been privileged to share the stage with this troupe. Seeing the opening night performance of “Seroogy’s, Green Bay’s Willy Wonka” was no exception.
Frank Hermans asked me to take a stab at sharing a bit more about our shows from my perspective, perhaps for folks who are looking for more of the nitty-gritty details and who might be debating if this is the show for them. While we all have favorite genres, styles of humor, and types of characters, I can promise you’ll find something to love about this show.
If you haven’t heard the show’s premise yet, I’ll catch you up to speed. The story centers around Seroogy’s chocolate factory. Willy Seroogy (Frank Hermans) places three golden tickets in chocolate bars around Northeastern Wisconsin. Each child who finds the golden ticket is invited to a tour of the chocolate factory with their parents. Veruca Salt (Amy Riemer), who is quite the spitfire with attitude to boot, is the first winner. She and her father, Henry (Pat Hibbard), hail from Escanaba and are a little demanding, to say the least. The next winner is Violet Beauregarde (Lisa Borley), champion gum chewer and fiercely determined young lady, from Kaukauna. Her mother, Scarlet (Sarah Galati), is all too excited for the opportunity to get some facetime with the chocolate man himself, Willy Seroogy. And finally, we have Charlie (Blake Hermans), and his father Chucky (Paul Evansen), from Chicago. As the guests begin their tour, they discover a chocolate factory like none other filled with secret inventions, strange workers, and bizarre candy creations. Hilarity ensues.
What I enjoyed most about this show was its sensory overload, and I mean that in the best way possible. Visually speaking, the props, costumes, backdrop, and set pieces are wildly vibrant. Ross Loining, Let Me Be Frank Productions’ lighting pro, has a unique ability to elevate the performances visually. There’s one scene in the second act where a blackout takes place. While the audience knows something is happening on stage in the dark, the reveal with the use of lights made me audibly gasp in delight. You’ll know exactly what part I’m talking about if and when you see the show.
Next, I was impressed how sound mixer, Kelly Klaus, can make a cast of eight individuals sound like a robust choir during certain songs. I’ll admit, I wasn’t as familiar with this show’s song selections as I usually am attending a performance. However, that’s probably more of a reflection of my music knowledge (or lack thereof, I guess!). Regardless if I could sing along or not, it was impossible to ignore the blend of voices and harmonies. Kudos to vocal director, Amy Riemer for that!
A few thoughts and highlights:
+ What’s Goin’ On (Marvin Gaye), performed by Blake Hermans. Alone on stage with just the backdrop behind him, he’s captivating. Blake has the type of voice that makes me spend way too much time making an imaginary playlist of all the songs I’d love to hear him perform someday.
+ Pat Hibbard performing a song by The Rolling Stones is a definite standout for the entire band — Andrew Klaus on drums, Tony Pilz on keys, and John Singer on guitar.
+ From her accent and foot stomping to her costume and facial expressions,
Amy Riemer as Veruca Salt is *chef’s kiss* — and then how she belts out Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me (Gladys Knight & the Pips) like it is no big deal!
+ Lay a Little Lovin’ on Me (Robin McNamara), performed by Sarah Galati. Maybe it’s because she had a baby in October, but she legit glows while singing. Couple that with her “let me talk to the manager” wig/costume and sultry stage mom character and you’ve got yourself a winning combo.
+ All of Frank Hermans’ songs! His songs veer from his “normal” and showcase a musical theater quality to his voice.
+ Tom Verbrick as the Oompa Loompa of the factory. His lyrical narration had me cracking up and I can only imagine where they’ll go as the show continues. The deadpan, annoyed factory worker character works for him. But then again, most characters work for him, am I right???
+ Lisa Borley’s performance of Stick-Up (Honey Cone) soars. She has an effortless swagger and energy when she sings, and this song highlights it in addition to her obvious vocal talent.
+ Tony Pilz on the BONGOS!
+ The juxtaposition of Paul Evansen as a smarmy, obnoxious used car salesman while sharing his songs with such a warmth to his voice.
+ The character pairings. Sarah Galati and Lisa Borley make a cute and quirky mother/daughter duo, and I think Blake Hermans and Paul Evansen should be put together more often (although I was hoping for some heavy Chicago accents in this show!).
Opening night was the first performance of the first show of Let Me Be Frank Productions’ 24th season of entertainment, and I’d say it kicked off the year on a very sweet note.
“Seroogy’s: Green Bay’s Willy Wonka” remaining performances at the Meyer Theatre include:
Saturday, February 4th at 7:30pm
Thursday, February 9th at 7:30pm
Friday, February 10th at 7:30pm
Saturday, February 11th at 7:30pm
Thursday, February 16th at 7:30pm
Friday, February 17th at 7:30pm
Saturday, February 18th at 7:30pm
Thursday, February 23rd at 1:00pm & 7:30pm
Friday, February 24th at 7:30pm
Saturday, February 25th at 1:00pm & 7:30pm
Tickets are available at meyertheatre.org, ticketstaronline.com, or by calling Ticketstar at 920-494-3401.
An out-of-town performance will be held at the Capitol Civic Centre in Manitowoc on Wednesday, February 15th, at 7:00 pm. Head to cccshows.org or call 920-683-2184 for tickets and more information.
Cast and band: Frank Hermans, Pat Hibbard, Amy Riemer, Tom Verbrick, Lisa Borley, Sarah Galati, Blake Hermans, Paul Evansen, John Singer (guitar), Pat Hibbard (bass), Tony Pilz (keyboards), Andrew Klaus (drums), Ross Loining (lights), Kelly Klaus (sound).
I Like Dreamin’ (Kenny Nolan) – Frank Hermans
Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me (Gladys Knight & The Pips) – Amy Riemer
Stick-Up (Honey Cone) – Lisa Borley
Beautiful Sunday (Daniel Boone) – Paul Evansen
Lay a Little Lovin’ on Me (Robin McNamara) – Sarah Galati
What’s Goin’ On (Marvin Gaye) – Blake Hermans
Pure Imagination (Lou Rawls) – Frank Hermans
The Candyman (Sammy Davis Jr.) – Tom Verbrick
Brown Sugar (The Rolling Stones) – Pat Hibbard
I Want Candy (Bow Wow Wow) – Amy Riemer
I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (The New Seekers) – Lisa Borley
The Right Thing to Do (Carly Simon) – Sarah Galati
Up the Ladder to the Roof (The Supremes) – Lisa Borley
Come And Get It (Badfinger) – Pat Hibbard
Nice to be With You (Gallery) – Paul Evansen
One Less Bell to Answer (The 5th Dimension) – Amy Riemer
(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me (Sandie Shaw) – Sarah Galati
I Just Can’t Help Believin’ (B.J. Thomas) – Frank Hermans
Doesn’t Somebody Want to be Wanted (The Partridge Family) – Blake Hermans
Next up: Punta Kaukauna at the Meyer Theatre, April 7-29, 2023
Warren Gerds, Critic at Large
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – After twenty-something years, Let Me Be Frank Productions still has tricks up its sleeve. It could be called extraordinary, but that’s a dirty word in the show troupe’s double-entendre-filled latest venture that opened Friday night at Meyer Theatre.
The trick: Around the theme of songs related to “Lady,” each of the eight singers in the troupe sings a different song in rotation one after another. It’s eight songs, eight styles, backed by a live band that seems to be able to play anything in the popular music realm. You’re not going to see that musical trapeze act in anything but “Baxters Where Everybody Knows Your Name.”
The troupe did something similar in the previous “WOMA Algoma, You’ve Struck Gold” with six songs in rotation by brother acts. This ups the ante with the clever idea.
Also special in this production is “Walk Like an Egyptian.” Singing the fun song while moving in synchronized fun movement – “Egyptian style” – are Sarah Galati, Kasey Schumacher, Amy Riemer and Lisa Borley. The piece is a tricky trick times four.
Overall, the show is another elaborate tale that sets the plate for singing, this time featuring songs of the 1980s pop charts, mostly. It tells of corporate espionage through behind-the-scenes shenanigans at a chain restaurant that existed in Green Bay from 1981 to 1987.
In his show introduction, troupe namesake Frank Hermans says he waited tables there for seven months in 1983 before getting fired. One night, he brought in $100 in tips, he says. He also played on the restaurant’s baseball team. Thirty-eight years after the fact, he wears his team uniform in the show.
Most of the people in this Frank Hermans/Pat Hibbard story have personality disorders.
The setup is two people from the TGI Fridays chain have come to Baxters to check out all the menu and theme ideas that are being stolen by Baxters. The man (Paul Evansen) is chauvinism on the hoof, and the woman (Kasey Schumacher) is a walking encyclopedia who corrects pronunciations and everything else of the lame-brained manager (Frank Hermans).
The wait staff runs from sweet (Lisa Borley) to sour (Sarah Galati) to spicy (Amy Riemer).
In the kitchen are the insistent cook (Pat Hibbard) who insists he is not just a cook but a finesse-filled chef and his assistant (Tom Verbrick) with a Spanish accent with a self-appointed mantel of lady killer.
The menu is laced with hormonal jokes along with delicious byplay between the characters.
The sound is set too LOUD, again, for my taste, but my complaint falls on deaf ears. I guess the volume adds excitement to the revved-up style of music.
Weaving through the story are COVID-19 references. This show was originally scheduled in 2020 but postponed because of the pandemic. Frank Hermans says he had to change some lines from back when – which he notes seems so long ago. Lisa Borley has a line that touches on that, telling someone, “It’s so 2020 of you.”
The singing catches the styles, one song after the other. The music aura of the time is somewhat eh in depth. But the color is certainly there for the singers to impress and add group action as for Paul Evansen’s lead in “Stray Cat Strut,” Amy Riemer’s lead in “Single Ladies” and Kasey Schumacher’s lead in the finale, “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.”
After being “hospitalized” for the pandemic, this show comes out healthy.
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.
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.
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)
“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
“(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
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 BAY, Wis. (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
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
“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
“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
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.
“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
“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 BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Going to the latest Frank’s show could make you a better person.
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.