GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) –
There’s Barbra Streisand, and then there’s… Lisa Borley.
Borley sends up a phenomenal take on the Streisand fireworks in “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” All the clarity and power are there, complete with a super-huge and long climactic note that dusts the rafters. Behind Borley, the band is driving the luster forward.
That performance is an extraordinary part of Let Me Be Frank Productions’ new “Something Stinks in Kaukauna,” playing in Green Bay’s Meyer Theatre to April 21 with a run-out to Manitowoc’s Capitol Civic Centre on April 18. There’s plenty of other interesting stuff, too.
Stripped down to its skeleton, this is a show featuring the popular music of an era – the late ’60s into the ’70s.
Simply singing hits one after another is too boring for show creators Frank Hermans and Pat Hibbard. So they set the songs in a place and build a story around it, including some real history and a lot of imagination. To boot, many of their characters in this show are from the animated TV series “Scooby-Doo.” This show becomes an episode in that series, with the episode – about a haunted mansion – having characters specific to the episode’s story.
About the title: In his pre-show setup on opening night Friday, Frank Hermans said he went to Kaukauna businesses to check if the title would fly with them. “Yeah,” he was told. Hermans also noted the all-too-obvious off-putting odors in and around Kaukauna are “the smell of money” (industry). At any rate, this show is pretty much end-to-end jokes about the possible source of the city’s noxiousisity (new word, just for Kaukauna!). This is a matter of taste, of course.
In the mix is a lot of character acting. That somewhat helps the performers shape meaning into their solos, the icing on the cake in the Frank’s showcases that feature Amy Riemer’s honey voice and a Hermans bow to Elvis. There’s a goofiness to the characters and the story, with colorful stops for songs.
Some special notes:
+ Kasey Schumacher is super into creating her character, Mrs. Grignon, who owns the real-life historic Grignon Mansion. Schumacher is dressed all in black, with Goth make-up in the manner of Morticia Addams. Everything she does is deadpan, from her dialogue to her dancing. She sings the perky “Top of the World” as if lobotomized. Schumacher does not sway from this characterization at all. Outstanding.
+ Michael O’Malley, who likes character acting, plays the spacey Shaggy in loopy dialogue and wiry body action. It’s kind of cosmic seeing him do a limber interpretation of a rail-thin, rubberized Mick Jagger dancing in “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
+ Jack Janowicz of past casts is taking a break from performing at Disneyland to appear in this show, which has references to his adventures with “American Idol” and Hollywood. Janowicz also is into his character as the snarly Farmer Langlade, and he unleashes a vivid singing/dancing showcase at the end in Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” with the band help stoke the fire.
+ Tom Verbrick on Friday got into the dog house. While playing the comical “R”-spouting pooch Scooby Dooby Dude, Verbrick’s imitation of a doggy thing on the mansion’s picket fence led to the accidental collapse of the fence. Props fell. Deceased: A table lamp. Typical in Frank’s shows, Amy Riemer ad-libbed off of the mishap.
+ Pat Hibbard has a way with sensible/nonsensical monologues. This time, he’s Sheriff Smith, who speaks with a lisp and unwinds mazes of comic “explanations” of situations.
Let Me Be Frank Productions has hybrid entertainment down to a T. You’re not going to find shows like this anyplace else.
Cast: Kasey Schumacher as Mrs. Grignon, Amy Riemer as Daphne, Lisa Borley as Velma, Tom Verbrick as Scooby Dooby Dude, Michael O’Malley as Shaggy, Frank Hermans as Fred, Jack Janowicz as Farmer Langlade, Pat Hibbard as Sheriff Smith.
Band: Adam Cain, percussion; Pat Hibbard, bass; Dennis Panneck, guitars; Tony Pilz, keyboards
Running time: Two hours, five minutes
Remaining performances: Green Bay: Meyer Theatre: To April 28, Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. with an additional matinee at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 21. Info: ticketstaronline.com. Manitowoc: Capitol Civic Centre: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18. Info: cccshows.org.
“Classical Gas” (Mason Williams) – Band
“That Smell” (Lynyrd Skynyrd) – Pat Hibbard
“This Is My Song” (Petula Clark) – Kasey Schumacher
“The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” (The Walker Brothers) – Jack Janowicz
“Pleasant Valley Sunday” (The Monkees) – Amy Riemer
“Stop and Smell the Roses” (Mac Davis) – Frank Hermans
“Like a Rolling Stone” (Bob Dylan) – Tom Verbrick
“Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (Aretha Franklin) – Lisa Borley
“Come Back When You Grow Up” (Bobby Vee) – Michael O’Malley
“I Feel the Earth Move” (Carole King) – Kasey Schumacher
“If I Can Dream” (Elvis Presley) – Frank Hermans
“It’s Getting Better” (Mama Cass) – Lisa Borley
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (Rolling Stones) – Michael O’Malley
“Someday Soon” (Judy Collins) – Amy Riemer
“Don’t Rain on My Parade” (Barbra Streisand) – Lisa Borley
“Top of the World” (The Carpenters) – Kasey Schumacher
“Run to Me” (Bee Gees) – Frank Hermans
“I Was Made to Love (Her) Him” (Stevie Wonder) – Amy Riemer
“Little Bit O’ Soul” (Music Explosion) – Pat Hibbard
“Superstition” (Stevie Wonder) – Jack Janowicz