Often at a Let Me Be Frank Productions (LMBF) show, I’m not in the category of audience members who personally experienced the theme or setting of the show. For example, I never went to St. Mary’s Roller Rink, I haven’t stepped foot in the Carlton West, and I’ve never even been to the Frosty Tip in Dyckesville! However, I DO have distinct memories of attending the BayFest festival on the UWGB grounds as a little girl. I was especially excited to see this LMBF summer show at the Meyer Theatre. For those who have fond memories of the festival, you’re in for a treat this summer.
What’s this show all about? For 29 years, BayFest was the premier music festival in Northeast Wisconsin. We go back to the 1985 event where two competing food stands are ready to duke it out to serve attendees. On one side, we’ve got the Italian father and son duo (Frank and Harrison) of A Taste of Grease food stand, and on the other side, we’ve got the Australian father and daughter duo (Pat and Amy) of Outback Jack Roadkill food stand. Why serve brats at a Wisconsin music festival when you’ve got gyros and pita pockets?! Meanwhile, musical act Vince Vance (Tom) and The Valiant’s (Lisa and Sarah) are back for another year entertaining crowds at Bayfest, much to the frustration of Pat from Outback Jack Roadkill. Vince and his gals are looking for the next big thing to add to their set and skyrocket their fame. Will one of the food stand workers possess a secret talent or two that could be a game-changer for the musical act? And will we discover why there’s such animosity between Pat and Vince Vance?
One thing I noticed immediately about the show from the moment the curtain opened was the set pieces and props. Linda Groskopf has designed and created for LMBF for many years, and her work was big, bold, and on display for this show. From the food stand fonts to the prop food pieces, I was impressed with her work (as per usual). Amy Riemer also contributes to the creation of props, adding to the many hats she wears behind the scenes to keep LMBF running performance after performance.
Another aspect that stood out to me was the way the show highlighted the newest band member, John Singer (guitar), who joined LMBF at the start of this year. I take notes during the show, and I feel like half of my notes consist of just a song title, with “John solo” written next to it, and several exclamation points. His ability to bring a song to the next level with guitar riffs and solos is incredible. He elevates the vocalists and other band members with a new energy that does not go unnoticed. PLUS, he sings in this show! We don’t often see a microphone set up for the band members to belt it out, and he shared a fantastic rendition of Do You Believe in Love to open the second act. I’m curious to see if a John Singer vocal performance becomes standard practice!
Speaking of renditions, I thoroughly enjoyed all the 80s tunes in this show. The selection of 80s songs was spectacular and had me saying, “Oh I forgot about this song!” repeatedly as I hummed along. If you’re an 80s music fan, you will love the (almost) 20 hits featured in this show.
Aside from the music and set pieces, something to note about “BayFest” is that throughout the show’s run, there will be two fundraiser performances. On opening night (June 16th), there was a benefit show for Destination De Pere, Let’s Jam of De Pere High School. And on July 14th, $10 of every ticket sold will benefit the Festival Foods Turkey Trot, Boys & Girls Club, and Greater Green Bay YMCA. While Let Me Be Frank Productions gives back to our community throughout the entire year, it was nice to be reminded, specifically, how this show will contribute to two local organizations.
A few other thoughts and highlights:
+ At only 12 years old, Harrison Hermans displays impressive vocal range and tone in this show. Specifically, Sussudio stood out during the front portion of the show.
+ Amy Riemer’s performance of These Dreams by Heart. Amy has done several Heart songs over the years, and each one is my new favorite. What a display of her powerhouse vocals! If we’re taking votes on adding Heart to the Frank’s Tribute set with Amy as Ann Wilson, I’m a confident yes! 🙂
+ Sarah Galati has such a sultry warmth to her voice, as highlighted in All Around the World. And oh my goodness that ending! Geez!
+ Lisa Borley shares So Emotional by Whitney Houston like it’s no big deal, even though to everyone else, it’s a very big deal. Wow.
+ Frank Hermans opening the show with Hall & Oates was something I didn’t know I needed – what a great choice to open the show.
+ Tom Verbrick’s Need You Tonight is a number I’ll definitely remember from this show. I enjoyed the lead vocals, harmonies, and Lisa and Sarah’s dancing was superb.
+ Wild Wild West performed by Pat Hibbard gave a jolt of energy to the midpoint of the first act and had me shimmying in my seat. It also gave me an extra moment to appreciate the workings of the entire band — Andrew Klaus (drums), Tony Pilz (keys), John Singer (guitar), and Pat on bass
+ The sound mixing by Kelly Klaus showcased the harmonies of all the vocalists. It was impossible to ignore how well everyone’s voices blended. Backed by the lighting effects via Ross Loining, it was an audio/visual hit in my book
Don’t miss your chance to hear the stunning vocals and hit 80s tunes this summer!
“Bayfest” has remaining performances at the Meyer Theatre:
Friday, June 30th at 7:30pm
Saturday, July 1st at 7:30pm
Thursday, July 13th at 7:30pm
Friday, July 14th at 7:30pm
Saturday, July 15th at 7:30pm
Thursday, July 20th at 7:30pm
Friday, July 21st at 7:30pm
Saturday, July 22nd at 7:30pm
Thursday, July 27th at 7:30pm
Friday, July 28th at 7:30pm
Saturday, July 29th at 7:30pm
Thursday, August 3rd at 1:00pm & 7:30pm
Friday, August 4th at 7:30pm
Saturday, August 5th at 1:00pm & 7:30pm
Doors open one hour prior to each performance. 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, July 26th at 7:00 pm. Head to cccshows.org or call 920-683-2184 for tickets and more information.
Cast: Frank Hermans and Harrison Hermans as father and son proprietors of A Taste of Grease food stand, Pat Hibbard and Amy Riemer as father and daughter proprietors of Outback Jack Roadkill food stand, Tom Verbrick as Vince Vance, and Sarah Galati and Lisa Borley as Vince’s backup singers, The Valiant’s.
Band: John Singer (guitars), Pat Hibbard (bass), Tony Pilz (keyboards), Andrew Klaus (drums).
Lights: Ross Loining
Sound: Kelly Klaus
Did It In a Minute – Hall & Oates (Frank Hermans)
Sussudio – Phil Collins (Harrison Hermans)
These Dreams – Heart (Amy Riemer)
Wild Wild West – The Escape Club (Pat Hibbard)
Everywhere – Fleetwood Mac (Sarah Galati)
When I Think of You – Janet Jackson (Lisa Borley)
Karma Chameleon – Culture Club (Tom Verbrick)
So Emotional – Whitney Houston (Lisa Borley)
Why Me – Irene Cara (Amy Riemer)
Breakout – Swing Out Sister (Sarah Galati)
Do You Believe in Love – Huey Lewis & The News (John Singer)
Straight Up – Paula Abdul (Amy Riemer)
Need You Tonight – INXS (Tom Verbrick)
Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel (Frank Hermans)
I’m Still Standing – Elton John (Harrison Hermans)
Freeze-Frame – The J. Geils Band (Pat Hibbard)
All Around the World – Lisa Stansfield (Sarah Galati)
Joyride – Roxette (Frank Hermans and Amy Riemer)
New Attitude – Patti LaBelle (Lisa Borley)